Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Holiday (04/05/12)
TITLE: Holy Days
By Garry Stopa
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For me, Easter has a powerful meaning; Jesus came back from dead and defeated the enemy on our behalf. Jesus suffered---I believe more than any human ever has---to make a payment for the sin of this world.
Jesus suffered physically, emotionally, and spiritually so humankind does not have to. This was a true demonstration of grace. Does the world understand this? How did this day become something about a bunny rabbit?
Even in our family, we have an Easter egg hunt for the little ones. At Christmas, some of our grandchildren even get a picture with Santa at the shopping mall. I am as guilty as anyone, when it comes to going along with the rest of the world, on these special holy occasions. It is interesting to note that even the word, "holiday", has lost its true meaning.
The word holiday comes from combining two other words; holy and day. In ancient times, a holiday gave a worker time off to go to church and worship. In today’s world, a holiday gives a worker time off for vacation. I certainly agree with vacation time; in fact, I am an enthusiastic supporter of it.
In ancient times, one would only be able to connect with God through a religious service. This presented the need for holidays. One such religious service, known as the Day of Atonement, came once a year. This required animal sacrifices to be performed by the priest. Before the crucifixion of Jesus, a priest had to connect with God on the behalf of the people.
To enter into the presence of God, a priest would sacrifice unblemished animals to prepare. The innocent, unblemished animals received the judgement that rightfully belonged to the priest. The innocence of the unblemished animals then came back onto the priest. This exchange of innocence prepared the priest to enter into the presence of God (see Ex.29).
No animal was a match for the flawlessness of God. An unblemished animal was barely acceptable. This ritual had to happen on a regular basis (Heb. 10:11). Even when the priest did enter into the presence of God, the wings of the cherubim protected him from the glory of God (Ex. 25:20, 22). The protection was necessary because no man could look at God face-to-face and live (Ex. 33:20).
Jesus on the other hand, was God manifest as a man. The Holiness of God did not exist in any other sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus was perfect. This perfect sacrifice was better than any worldly form of righteousness. This gave us continuous, never-ending right standing with God (Heb. 10:12). We only need to believe in the cross (Rom. 10:9).
We no longer have to sacrifice innocent animals. The sacrifice of Jesus was more than enough to prepare our bodies for the presence of God. Even better than that, we do not have to wait for a holy day to connect with God. When we are conscious of His presence, He is unhindered to work through us. So on holidays, we do not have to go to church to connect with God, we can actually take God with us on our vacation.
Of course, church is the best place to learn how to identify Jesus. Studying the Word of God, singing praise and worship, and to fellowship with other believers are all great ways to get to know Jesus.
When you do get to know Him, you will learn to recognize Him. When you recognize His continual presence, you will take advantage of it. You will tap into His wisdom, knowledge, and faith. You will experience a powerful joy that only comes from knowing Jesus personally---the joy of the Lord.
Get to know Jesus and enjoy His continual presence!
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