Archive for July 1st, 2017

(This passage is also referenced in 2 Kings 18:1-12)

King Hezekiah and the leaders decided to delay celebrating the Passover for a month, to allow time for the people to be gathered to the temple.  He then sent messengers, throughout the tribes of both Judah and Israel, with his call to assemble for Passover.  His concern for Israel was spiritual – to persuade them to return to their God – even if they wanted a king other than himself.  His motive was altruistic and not manipulative.

This olive branch was not universally well received, although some did respond and went up to the temple for the ceremonies.  The offer of restoration was rejected by some who scorned – or mocked – the invitation.  We may meet people at work, college or shopping, who adopt the same response to the message of the gospel, but that’s no reason to neglect extending the invitation to them. Even those who were not ritually pure were allowed to take part in Passover, and we read that God heard Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.

After Passover, there was the feast of unleavened bread, which lasted seven days.  There was sacrifice and feasting, communing with each other and in their reconciliation with God.  It was a significant festival and there might well have been those who – like those who criticised the sinful woman for pouring an alabaster jar of perfume over Jesus’s feet – felt that the extravagance of the volume of sacrifices was excessive.

Thankfully we no longer have to sacrifice lots of bulls, sheep and goats to secure forgiveness:  Jesus died for us, once and for all.  That is well enough!  Nor do we have to take 14 days to celebrate over the sacrifice of so many animals.  We may just reflect on, and thank God for, the unique sacrifice that His only Son made for each one of us.

There is a time to celebrate together and, like in Hezekiah’s time, there is a time to return to our tribe and ‘walk the talk’, living out our faith in the certain knowledge of our forgiveness and salvation. In a recent sermon, we were reminded that our witness does not have to mean that we use words but that our character can speak of our character in Christ.  Whether we actually speak in words to invite people to know Jesus, or whether how we conduct ourselves in the world speaks to people, we need to ‘walk the talk’.

 

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Do you ‘walk the talk’?  How do you live out your life knowing you are forgiven and saved and a child of God?

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