“It’s a new year. ” “It’s a new me.” “I’ve made a resolution.” These are all things we hear at this time of year. By the end of the year we wind up asking ourselves. What Changed? Most of the time we wind up a bit disappointed at the results. But the changes I’m writing about were done by Jesus and He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. No procastination can be found in Jesus. He changed a lot of things but have you considered the things in this blog? Territory, tribalism, Torah, Temple, tradition, and tyranny. Read on to see “What Changed?”
It is said that those who ignore history are destined to repeat it. By the time Jesus arrived on the scene the Jews had a rich history of which they were very proud. They had territory and an established tribal system. A Torah which contained their written system of laws. They had a magnificent temple. They had traditions handed down through their rich History. With all this going for them it’s hard to imagine that they were a conquered people. A people that deeply hated anyone that wasn’t a Jew. And even hated those of their own nationality by dividing themselves along religious lines and a class system. A house divided. This was their tyranny. They hated Jesus. He exposed their accomplishments as their greatest flaws.
When Nicodemus came to Jesus in John chapter 3 he struggled with many things that Jesus had to say. In John 3:16, Jesus says, “for God so loved the World…”. This would’ve been a foreign concept to any Jew. God loved the Jew and the nation of Israel. God loved Jerusalem. Everyone else was an enemy and thus could not be loved. But Jesus told Nicodemus that God loved the world. God indeed loves Israel and it’s people and territory. But God loves the world. The Jew had become territorial but God is not.
Jesus changes their tribalism. Israel was a nation of tribes, each unique and diverse in operation. But as a nation that had been boiled down to the religious elite, the common people, and everyone else or the dogs as they were often referred to. But Jesus gave them a great understanding of the second commandment with the story of the Samaritan in Luke 10. Jews hated Samaritans but they discovered that they were still their neighbors. He exposed the tribalism and their disobedience to the law.
Which brings us to the Torah, the ancient writings. The book of the law.
The 10 commandments which had become 613. This was no longer guidance from God but a source of behavior that they observed to declare themselves superior to others even others of their own nation. In Matthew 12, Jesus says it is was lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Pick corn on the Sabbath and more. Jesus changed their Torah.
We have three left to go. Temple, tradition, and tyranny. More on those later. In this New Year, I’m hoping to be brief and more to the point. A suggestion from my readers.