One of my old friends, Stan Wallace wrote a blog post that I wish to share more broadly. Here is my paraphrase of Stan's points:
Changing any entrenched tradition can be a BIG task. What in this world would cause a radical change in Judaism as we see in 33 AD? A HUGE change occurred, and the cause would have to be HUGE also!
Many, many of the first century Jews changed their beliefs at this point in history and note too that these changes meant they now became social outcasts, and, MORE crucially, if their NEW beliefs were wrong, they faced the eternal judgment of God!
Consider what could POSSIBLE cause many first-century Jews to radically change at these major, deeply-held beliefs?
- Animal sacrifices end. The Jews believed devoutly that sacrificing animals was the only way to pay for sins. Yet many first-century Jews immediately abandoned animal sacrifices. Go Figure?
- The Law. First-century Jews believed that keeping carefully the Law of Moses was the entry into heaven. Yet NOW many first-century Jews abandoned this idea.
- Keeping Shabbat. Jewish Sabbath was carefully observed from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. Very strict regulations were enacted to keep this day sacred. Yet many Jews changed their Sabbath to Sunday, RESURRECTION DAY!
- Monotheism. The Jewish "SHEMA" clearly declares that God is “one”. This belief is FUNDAMENTAL to Judaism. Then in next few years many Jews began to proclaim the God of three persons existing in one nature (a difficult concept on doubt, even as it is today). Why take such a strange position unless it is unavoidable?
- Jewish Messiah. Jews expected the Messiah to liberate the Jews from ROME and then rule forever. BUT, all of a sudden, many believed the Messiah to be a spiritual, king who liberated them through his death (another tough concept) and reigned as King in eternity in Heaven and, in the future, on earth.
- Resurrection. The traditional Jewish belief was that at the end of time, there would be one BIG resurrection for all; yet suddenly many Jews began to proclaimr the resurrection of The Christ, right then!
So WHAT could cause a HUGE change in long held, ironclad, beliefs? Well if someone died a tragic death, then DEFEATED Death in total Triumph, and you SAW it first hand...
Jesus saith unto him, Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (Jn 20)
Do you believe enough to CHANGE your traditions? Really?