Monday, November 18, 2013

2013 New Testament Challenge – Day 4 (Matthew 8-12)

2013 New Testament Challenge – Day 4 (Matthew 8-12)
Every year I participate in a special effort called the New Testament Challenge sponsored by a priest of the Orthodox Church in America. He encourages Christians to spend the Christmas Fast, also known as Advent) reading the entire New Testament as a preparation for Christmas. Each year I have done this, it has been blessing to me and I pray this year will be no different. As part of the New Testament Challenge, I endeavor to blog a bit about the reading for that particular day. I may miss a few, but I pray for those who follow this blog (NOW ALSO ON FACEBOOK) it will be a blessing.

While reading today’s assigned readings for the New Testament Challenge, I was struck by how easily (from my 2013 point of view) people either didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah, or how easily they misunderstood His message. On that point, many things have not changed either in regard to recognizing Jesus or understanding His teachings. That is painfully evident in the plethora of Christian “Denominations” and billions of human beings who do not believe.

Take for a moment how miracles are portrayed in the Scriptures. At first glance, every time Jesus turned His head, another paralytic or blind man was healed. One might think there were no sick people remaining after Jesus left a village. But in fact many remained sick, and EVERYONE eventually died and was buried.

Or how some refused to see the truth in the Law of Love; it seems ridiculous that some would save a lamb, while allowing a sick man to remain sick ON THE SABBATH!. I guess if a sick man was as profitable as a lamb, he would be saved on the Sabbath.

I enjoy the practice of reading long passages of Scripture because it affords me the chance to see the greater story line. This helps both in the understanding and acceptance of the truth of Christ. The Miracles taken as a whole reveal the pattern of Christ’s love and healing power, rather than His “magic” to take away sickness. His healing on the Sabbath reveals His compassion rather than His “Judgment” in a court of law.

I’m not suggesting that laws and tradition have no place in Faith. On the contrary, I believe they are crucial in assisting us put our faith into action and, as the name of this blog suggests, Live a New Life in Christ!

Until tomorrow….enjoy the 2013 New Testament Challenge 

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