Rudy Ross explains the value of religious festivals in today’s YouTube video on the Bob Spradling channel.
Jewish festivals and special days provide a foundation that helps us understand what God has done through Jesus and the gift of the Spirit.
Rudy provides a good corrective to the way Paul’s words in Colossians are often interpreted.
Given the value of religious festivals, let’s look at Paul’s message to the church.
Colossians 2.16-19 – Therefore, do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food or drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or Sabbaths.
These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the body belongs to Christ.
Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, initiatory visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking,
And not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, grows with a growth that is from God.
Valuable, but . . .
I have a small flashlight that comes in very handy when the electricity stops working at our house. The limited amount from the flashlight is extremely helpful when I try to navigate around the house in the dark.
The flashlight is not needed in the full light of the sun. It points the way in the dark, but cannot compare to the sun.
Rudy is quite right to emphasize the value of Old Testament festivals and special days.
God did not begin his activity only when Jesus arrived on planet earth. We can trace God’s activity to the very beginning of time.
Along the way, God provided “flashlight” like indicators to direct the path of humanity through the darkness.
Building on the understanding of what God has done in history, we better understand God’s salvation story in history.
The flashlight is valuable, but . . .
Imagine how silly it would seem for someone to insist that people continue using a flashlight when the sun is shining in full light.
Paul doesn’t disparage festivals and the observance of special days in this passage. For that matter, he doesn’t belittle angels, humility, and visions.
He does warn the church against people who use “flashlight” experiences as a way to “puff up” their status and take people captive to their thoughts.
Here are some of Paul’s cautions to the church.
(1) Angels are important, but they are not to be worshiped.
Humans don’t need angelic help or other intermediaries to have a personal relationship with God. He is accessible to all.
(2) Humility is an excellent Christian quality.
Self-abasement may carry with it a sense of false humility. What looks on the surface like humility may be disguised pride.
(3) Visions are one way that God directs his people.
I coached a third-grade basketball team. When a player wanted the ball, he often jumped in the air and waved his hands. Contrast that to the way that professional players intuitively know when to pass the ball.
Visions are not always a sign of a special relationship with God. In fact, intuitively following God’s directions are part of a mature relationship with the Lord.
Each of the categories Paul mentions in the passage describes ways that people who are “puffed up” with their own self-importance attempt to manipulate others.
Let’s not be victims of their behavior.
Christ is the Head
The key is to “hold fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, grows with a growth that is from God” (verse 19).
Without detracting from the importance of festivals, angels, humility, and such, the most important thing we can do is to hold fast to our relationship with Jesus.
As we maintain our life with Jesus through worship, prayer, Bible reading, and obedience, he can grow us into mature people who live a life like his.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. Rudy adds a great perspective to the discussion. You can listen to the video on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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