Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Feast of Booths

"On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. You shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God." ~Leviticus 23:39-43 ESV

The last and most important holiday in the Jewish Calendar is Succoth, or Feast of Booths. It follows Yom Kippur, or The Day of Atonement. During the Feast of Booths native Israelites are commanded to dwell in tents, or booths, for seven days as a reminder of their exodus from Egypt.

Christians have been brought out of Egypt; the Egyptian bondage of sin and death. We now have eternal life in Jesus Christ who redeemed us from our bondage. It is Christ's finished work on the cross, His atonement, His Yom Kippur, that frees us from this curse that we bear. Like the Feast of Booths we can celebrate in the complete forgiveness of our sin by our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Treasure in a Field

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." Matthew 13:44 (ESV)

There are at least two ways to look at this parable: through the lens of the law, or through the lens of the gospel. No doubt, I have heard it explained more often through the lens of the law.

The Law: We are the man, and we have to at least be willing to sell everything to gain the great treasure, which is the kingdom of heaven hidden in a field. If you don't actually sell everything, you have to at least be willing to sell everything to gain the treasure.

The Gospel: The man is Jesus. He is the only person who has ever, throughout history, given up everything to redeem us. Jesus is the only one who buys the whole field, the world, in order to gain the treasure, which is us.

Anytime you hear "do", it is the law accusing us. In the first interpretation, the focus is on us. Do any of us give up everything to gain heaven? That interpretation accuses us of not selling everything.

Whenever you hear "Jesus did it", it is the gospel. We are passive in action; Jesus is the one doing. In the Gospel interpretation, Jesus joyfully buys the world in order to gain His treasure.

Know you are loved and hear the grace of the gospel!