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Tag Archives: The Jewish faith

When People Are Divided

Disagreeing over religious beliefs is nothing new.  During a trip to the region known as Galatia, comprised of four cities, Paul and Barnabas swayed half of their audience.  Unfortunately, those who opposed the gospel consisted of Gentiles, Jews and political rulers in the town of Iconium.  Instead of asking Paul and Barnabas to politely leave their town, a plot was devised to have them stoned to death.  Apparently, one of their advocates overheard this plan and helped Paul and Barnabas escape.

So Paul and Barnabas stayed for a long time, speaking boldly and confidently for the Lord, who continued to testify to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders (attesting miracles) be done by them. But the people of the city were divided; some were siding with the Jews, and some with the apostles, Acts 14:3-4.

This wasn’t Paul and Barnabas’ only brush with death.  Devout Jews often responded to the good news about Jesus Christ with anger, fear and resentment.  The thought that the Jewish faith was no longer solely God’s chosen people was too difficult to accept.  Thus, Jewish religious leaders regularly turned to violence to stop the Jesus movement from spreading.  The book of Acts is filled with attacks upon apostles who boldly proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah.

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, Jude 1:3.

The only thing that has changed in the past 2000 years when it comes to religious divisions are the responses by those who have rejected the gospel.  You see if the gospel is true, people have to change their lifestyle to conform with biblical teaching.  However, if you reject the Bible you can continue on your current path.  Instead of publicly beatings or stoning, social media have come up with creative ways to punish those who don’t share a secular worldview.  Today, Christians are banned, censored and demonetized for sharing biblical beliefs.  Despite these unpleasant experiences, believers must dust themselves off, get back up and keep sharing the good news about Jesus Christ like Paul and Barnabas.

by Jay Mankus

Graduating on to the Next Phase in Life

Commencement refers to the time when something begins.  Thus, every spring colleges and high schools hand out degrees and diplomas for completing a required set of courses.  After these ceremonies end, its time for individuals to begin their next phase in life.  Subsequently, as my oldest son graduates today its time for James to prepare himself for Liberty University and possibly a spot as a pole vaulter at the Division 1 level.

When Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom, Luke 2:42.

One of the 4 gospels suggests Jesus celebrated a bar-mitzvah after becoming a teenager.  The Jewish faith continues this tradition today, giving young men and women an opportunity to publicly share what they have learned about the Torah.  Thus, Jesus was able to teach about the Word of God at the synagogue for the first time in Luke 2.  However, Jesus waited 17 more years before beginning his three year ministry on earth.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me, 1 Corinthians 13:11.

Perhaps, the apostle Paul was reflecting upon his own bar-mitzvah in the passage above.  Regardless of the context, modern churches offer those who seek the Lord a chance to complete their confirmation.  Essentially, this year long process or longer in some denominations, encourages boys and girls to take ownership of their faith.  At the end of this process, like graduation, its time keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.  Whether someone is going off to college, participating in a mission trip or starting a new career, the time has arrived to graduate on to the next phase in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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