Do you remember April 4, 2021? We continued our sermon series with a reading from Mark 16:1-8. On that day I invited you to join with me in reading through the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books are known as the Torah. I invited you to read through them using Mark 16:1-8 coupled with Psalm 1:1-2 as a lens as we journey from Easter to Pentecost.
In our journey I am seeking for us to gain a better understanding of the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus Christ for our lives here today and tomorrow. How do we go from death to life in Jesus Christ? I want us to read the Torah because it is part of our Bible and is a significant part of who we are as a people of God in Jesus Christ. To begin the Torah in Hebrew can mean teaching, direction, guidance, and law. These books and the rest of the Old Testament did not go away with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We read and study them, so that we can obtain a better understanding of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was and is the fulfillment of the prophecy in the Old Testament. Jesus was an observant Jew who taught Torah. Torah were the only Scriptures of the time for Jesus. In his teaching, prayer life, and way of life Jesus calls us to return to God.
In reading through Torah during this liturgical season of Easter through the lens of Jesus Christ’s resurrection in Mark 16:1-8 and the call in Psalm 1:1-2 to delight in the law of the LORD while meditating on it day and night; I find myself engaged in a deeper relationship with God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is not a call to be Jewish as Paul says in his letters. Rather, it is a call into a relationship through Jesus Christ with God. This is a relationship that is built on not having to justify oneself through the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. It is a relationship with God that is a way of life.
In reading the news accounts in the media today, whether it is on social media or magazines or in newspapers, we are constantly bombarded with being told how to live our lives. How are we to discern what is the best way to live a life?
Jesus encountered similar events during his time on earth. There were all sorts of pressures on how to live in accordance with Rome, the Temple or synagogue, or other various religions in the marketplace of ideas.
As followers of the resurrected Jesus Christ we are brought back to a way of life centered in God: Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. This is no different than Jesus’ preaching, teaching, healing, and casting out of demons in the lives of the people in the first century. It is no different today as we read the Scriptures in light of Jesus’ crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension.
Throughout the Torah the people of Israel are constantly being sought by God. To be in relationship with God. In reading through the Torah I believe you will discover as I have again rediscovered a gracious and merciful God who is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. We encounter God who is for us and not against us. We encounter a God who feeds us in the midst of desolate places. Feeds us with his word. Feeds us with a way of life that brings abundance not in material things, rather abundance in emotional and spiritual things. We encounter God who gives us life.
Read Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy through the lens of Mark 16:1-8 and Psalm 1:1-2 and encounter a way of life in the living God: Jesus Christ who shows you the way, the truth, and gives you life.