Our Jewish Roots: Worshiping the Substance, not the Shadow

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Greetings friends!  It’s been a while since we gathered around the virtual study table, so I invite you to grab your cup of coffee and pull up a chair!  We’re going to hang out at the table for the next three days, and I promise to make it very practical on day 3. 

The Lord has been active in bringing to mind an important pillar of the ministry to which He has called me.  That is, remaining steadfast and true to the Bible’s teaching about the Jewish roots of Christianity.  Thus, I want to share some thoughts about that.

But first, before we dig into the actual study, I want to be very clear concerning my position because there is springing forth a cult-like wave of belief that employs similar terms but strays from the teaching of Scripture.  For example, there are well-meaning Christians who honestly support Israel but have taken on Jewish customs and rituals as a means of expressing their religious position, and have become rather adamant about doing so.  But instead of worshiping Jesus as the One and Only sacrifice for sin and Savior of our lives, they tend to worship the traditions and rituals of Judaism.  Don’t get me wrong…celebrating Jewish feasts, observing Sabbath or engaging in most Jewish traditions is not, in and of itself, bad or wrong.  It is when the shadow (rituals, etc) rather than the substance (Jesus Himself) becomes the focus.  Jesus is the fulfillment of every Jewish feast, and it is He whom we worship!  (Colossians 2:16-17)

While it is important to understand the Jewish roots from which Christianity sprang forth, doing Jewish things or observing Jewish feasts and traditions does not make us “better Christians” or more favorable in God’s eyes.  The grace of Jesus our Lord is enough…we don’t need to do special things to earn His salvation, redemption or favor!

Secondly, there are pockets of Christians who get so wrapped up in Jewish things that they “wish they were Jewish.”  My question is: why?  As Christians, we are adopted children of the One True God (Romans 8:15 NLT), and we are chosen and presented holy and blameless because of Jesus’ sacrifice (Ephesians 1:3-5).  We are privileged to be grafted into the olive tree (Jewish roots), in which we inherit all God’s goodness without the persecution and hatred directed toward the Jewish people.  Why in the world would we want that?  (That is, however, why we should pray for the Jewish people!)

The point is this: Scripture is very clear about the Judaic foundation of Christianity, yet the focus of our commitment and worship is the Jewish Messiah, not Jewish traditions and rituals. 

Be reminded: Jesus was a Jew.  Thus, if there were no Jews, there would be no Jesus!  We owe a debt of gratitude to the Jewish people, and if you wish to enjoy Jewish traditions and rituals, feel free.  Just keep them in the proper context.

We will continue with thoughts about our Jewish roots tomorrow, so join us again at the virtual study table.  See you then!

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