One of the best Bible studies I have ever been a part of was a study of Christ’s roots in the Jewish holidays and the rich experiences that can come from understanding the history of past traditions. The study was called Feast if you want to check it out on Amazon or Lifeway.com. Feast was an appropriate title since Jews celebrated many, many holidays with a grand feast! Our Bible study did a bit of feasting as well with apples and honey, matzah, fruits and nuts baked in breads, all sorts of cheeses and many delicious meals (Seriously, you gotta check out that Bible study!).
Anyway, one of those holidays is being celebrated today! Today (beginning at sunset) is Yom Kippur, otherwise known as the Day of Atonement. Atonement is all about us being reconciled and made right with God again, since all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. So, today is a special day set aside to reflect and repent. Jewish tradition would have decreed this day as one of rest, fasting (none of those incredible feasts today!), and abstaining from sex. The Jew would have spent time in prayer, confessing and repenting while oftentimes wearing white to symbolize burial clothes and mortality.
In my faith journey, one spiritual practice that seems to go by the wayside in corporate worship and in my quiet time is the discipline of confession and repentance. We, or at least I, quickly gloss over the “I have sinned” or the “have mercy on me” prayers or I might quickly confess my list of wrongs to God and move on. I seldom spend much time in reflection on these things. After all, it’s painful! But I think my repentance would have more meaning if I spent a little more time on confession, don’t you think? I mean, if I wrong my husband in a deep way and quickly spit out an ‘I’m sorry’ and move on to happier things, am I really sorry? Maybe he and I should talk about it; I could tell him why I am sorry, how I feel sad about hurting him and that what I did was really wrong. Wouldn't my marriage have more sincerity?
My question for you today is: how can you incorporate the significance of the most high of all Jewish holidays into your Christian faith? When is the last time you spent time in confession and repentance? Might you do so today?
The Righteousness of God Through Faith
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."