Recently one of the men from our fellowship and I were discussing the date for the birth of Yeshua.
We were of a mind that one can’t pinpoint the exact day but even a retired simple tin knocker like me, given the pertinent scriptures in Matthew and Luke, can count in increments of six, three and nine months on the Jewish religious calendar, compare those months with the corresponding months on our Gregorian calendar and come up with a date somewhere in late spring.
There are lots of discussions going on about this one issue but that is another thought.
The side track that I went on as a result of our discussion was that within the body of believers we are not always good “Bereans”. As a rule we would rather pick a leader who, for whatever reason, seems authoritative and knowledgeable, and get our understanding and knowledge from that one without retreating to our bibles and prayer and extra sources, to see if what they teach is correct.
So here we are with multitudes of disagreements and splits and, incorrect at worst, compromised at best, knowledge, understanding and worship.
Within the fellowship of any denomination whose God is Jehovah God, regardless of the doctrine, there are folks who dwell in the scriptures seeking the knowledge and understanding that Yahweh has for them. The Word is their point of reference and their desire is to know God’s truth.
That’s what gets me. There are people from all religious backgrounds, in spite of their doctrines, checking things out and talking about it and sometimes suffering for it. But they do it anyway. The Spirit is talking to them and they are hearing and obeying.
Pesach is ahead and for some reason it is on my mind. It is an observance that Yahweh commands we keep (do and guard). It represents a lot of things but one of those things for me is the image of our Savior making justice and life possible without we having to pay the price.
And there is a hymn that I love to listen to, think about and sing, entitled “Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted”.
When I hear it I see Yeshua, tortured and hanging on the tree, the Son of God, rejected of men.
I can hear His groaning, the groaning because of his wounds, because of His coming separation from the Father, because of the abandonment of those He came to save, because of the injustice of it all.
I can picture and hear those of us who minimize sin and its destructiveness even when we see its results.
And I hear the message that there is truth we can rely on, redemption and life, secure and eternal, for all of us who place our hope on Him.
It’s sad and sobering because it reveals man, without God, to himself.
But it’s a song of overcoming, uplifting and joyful, encouraging and empowering.
This song was penned by a man named Thomas Kelly, an Irishman born in the mid-seventeen hundreds. He was a “Berean” who believed in and fervently evangelized the message of justification by faith in conflict with the doctrines of the established church of his country. He was forbidden to teach in the “consecrated” established churches, left the fellowship of those churches and established his own teaching along scriptural lines.
I don’t know all the details of those times and doctrines but in the midst of those things laid a truth. And I believe truth is like that. I exists in spite of the misunderstandings and outright lies surrounding it. We need to be seeking and living by those truths.
Read the words of this hymn. Picture what the words are painting, recognize the truth of them concerning us and Him and pray for deeper and more meaningful understanding and appreciation about and in this coming Pass Over.
Smitten, Stricken and Afflicted Thomas Kelly
Stricken, smitten and afflicted, see Him dying on the tree!
‘Tis the Christ by man rejected; yes, my soul, ‘tis He, ‘tis He!
‘Tis the long-expected Prophet, David’s son, yet David’s Lord;
By His Son God now has spoken: ’tis the true and faithful Word.
Tell me , ye who hear Him groaning, was there ever grief like His?
Friends thro’ fear His cause disowning, foes insulting His distress;
Many hands were raised to wound Him, none would intervene to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him, was the stroke that Justice gave.
Ye who think of sin but lightly nor suppose the evil great
here may view its nature rightly, here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed, see who bears the awful load;
‘tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man and Son of God.
Here we have a firm foundation; here the refuge of the lost;
Christ, the Rock of our salvation, His the Name of which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded, sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded who on Him their hope have built.
“My people are destroyed for want of knowledge.” Hoshea 4:6 CJB
“…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 CJB
May God’s love be in us all.