TUESDAY, DECEMBER 24
“Now we see how God does make us acceptable to Him. The Law and the Prophets tell how we become acceptable, and it isn’t by obeying the Law of Moses. God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ.”
Romans 3:21-23 (CEV)
JESUS CAME FOR RELIGIOUS PEOPLE
It is said that during a service at an old synagogue in Eastern Europe, when the Shema prayer was said, half the congregants stood up and half remained sitting. The half that was seated started yelling at those standing to sit down, and the ones standing yelled at the ones sitting to stand up.
The rabbi, learned as he was in the Torah and Talmud, didn’t know what to do. His congregation suggested that he consult a housebound 98-year-old man, who was one of the original founders of their congregation. The rabbi hoped the elderly man would be able to tell him what the actual tradition was, so he went to the nursing home with a representative of each faction of the congregation. The one whose followers stood during Shema said to the old man, “Is it our tradition to stand during this prayer?” The old man answered, “No that is not our tradition.”
The one whose followers sat asked, “Is it our tradition to sit during Shema?” The old man answered, “No that is not our tradition.” Then the rabbi said to the old man, “The congregants fight all the time, yelling at each other about whether they should sit or stand…” The old man interrupted, exclaiming, “THAT is our tradition!”
We were reminded in the sermon on Sunday that we can be very religious and traditional but still do not know Jesus. Romans 3:23 reminds us that religion and tradition can’t save us or make us right with God. Only faith in Jesus can make us right with God.
It’s Christmas Eve and for a lot of us Christmas and Christmas Eve is a time of family traditions. Some of us gather at grandma’s house for food and family gift exchanges. Some go to a Christmas Eve candle lighting service every year. As you celebrate whatever traditions you may have today, make sure you celebrate the fact that Jesus didn’t come to make you more religious but He came to have a relationship with you.