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5 Christmas sermon blunders that get Judaism (and Jesus) mistaken – Faith Information Carrier

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(RNS) — At Christmas, Christians usher in a pacesetter who will rule with fact and charm; this is excellent news, as the arena has valuable little of both. Trust that Jesus is that this chief offers hope to all those that see in him the affection of God, the forgiveness of sin and the promise of everlasting lifestyles.
As Jews, we honor such ideals, despite the fact that they don’t seem to be ours. Additionally, we acknowledge that Jesus, a first-century Jew, is a part of Jewish historical past.  
As Bible students, we additionally know that Christmas sermons ceaselessly convey out poisonous mistakes regarding Jesus’ Judaism, making anti-Jewish misinterpretations of Scripture as not unusual as Santa and his elves.
Many monks and pastors, even the ones dedicated to raised Jewish-Christian family members, can be appalled to listen to that their sermons make stronger anti-Jewish stereotypes. But after they proclaim that Jesus invented fear for the deficient, love of neighbor and messages of peace, they now not best yank Jesus out of Jewish historical past, they distort Jewish instructing and open the door to antisemitism.
RELATED: How the church’s center of attention on Mary’s virginity become a curse for ladies
The mischief begins even earlier than Jesus is born: At the side of the outdated canard of evil Jewish innkeepers turning away Joseph and Mary as a result of they can not pay a hefty room rate, we’ve learn sermons that insist Mary is shuttled off to the solid as a result of, by way of giving start, she would make the inn impure below Jewish legislation. Nonsense. Because the Gospel of Luke makes transparent, there’s merely no room within the inn for her to have a child.   
Different ill-informed sermons suggest that the shepherds who welcome Mary’s child constitute the “outcast” or the “unclean.” Nonsense once more. Rachel, Moses and David are shepherds, and the well-known Psalm 23 starts: “The LORD is my shepherd.” Shepherds have been no kind of ritually impure than maximum Jews of the day.
Listed here are any other stereotypes that accompany the excellent news of Christmas:
The traditional rabbis taught, “Simply as God is compassionate, so that you should be compassionate.” The divine attributes Jews have been referred to as to practice integrated clothes the bare, visiting the unwell, comforting mourners and burying the lifeless.
Nor have been Jews stoning girls for adultery; certainly, rabbinic literature makes it almost inconceivable to execute folks. The well-known “lady taken in adultery” who seems within the Gospel of John isn’t about to be stoned. The Pharisees had already concluded that stoning used to be now not the correct reaction to adultery, in an effort to take a look at Jesus’ interpretation of Torah, they ask him “What do you assert?” in regards to the historic commandment.
Jesus somewhere else makes the Torah extra rigorous: Whilst the Torah forbids homicide, the Sermon at the Mount forbids anger; the commandments ban adultery, however the Sermon at the Mount forbids even serious about it. Jesus didn’t abolish Torah. On the contrary, he teaches his disciples how one can practice it. 
Jews celebrated a lot of sensible, pious and brave girls, from the matriarchs to Rahab to Deborah to Hannah, from Ruth to Esther, and from the Greek texts, Judith and Susannah and the mummy of the Maccabean martyrs. The Gospels themselves, a just right supply for reconstructing first-century Judaism, document that Jewish girls had their very own finances, owned their very own properties, served as consumers and worshipped in synagogues and the Jerusalem Temple.
Ladies adopted Jesus now not as a result of they have been oppressed by way of Judaism; they adopted Jesus as a result of they noticed in him the perfect rabbi, healer and exorcist. 
The Prophet Isaiah publicizes that Jerusalem’s Temple “will likely be referred to as a area of prayer for all peoples,” and on the time of Jesus, it used to be. Its Court docket of the Gentiles welcomed all folks. Native synagogues welcomed gentiles, referred to as “God-fearers.” Luke’s Gospel even studies that Jewish elders requested Jesus to accomplish a therapeutic on behalf of a Roman centurion, “for he loves our folks, and it’s he who constructed our synagogue for us.”
Jesus does now not invent fear for gentiles; he’s a member of a folks commissioned to be a gentle to the countries.  
Peace is a elementary worth of the Hebrew Bible and Judaism. The Isaiah wall on the U.N. highlights the prophecy of Isaiah and Micah, who imagined a time when all peoples “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: Country shall now not carry up sword in opposition to country, neither shall they be informed battle anymore.”
Jews on the time of Jesus did their highest to steer clear of army encounters with Rome. When the Roman Emperor Caligula demanded that they position his statue within the Jerusalem Temple, the Jews answered now not with swords, however with one of the most first recorded sit-down moves. Jesus’ fear for peace is a part of his Jewish custom, now not an innovation. 
The Hebrew Bible’s Guide of Deuteronomy teaches: “Since there’ll by no means stop to be some in want in the world, I subsequently command you, ‘Open your hand to the deficient and needy neighbor to your land.’” Ecclesiastes properly states: “The sweetheart of cash is probably not happy with cash; nor the sweetheart of wealth, with acquire.”
The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, which states “Proclaim Liberty All the way through The entire Land Unto The entire Population thereof,” quotes the Guide of Leviticus in connection with Israel’s custom of the Jubilee yr, when money owed have been canceled. Jesus didn’t invent fear for the deficient; it used to be embedded in his custom.  
Jesus used to be a Jew, and exactly as a result of he used to be a Jew, he spoke of peace, of compassion, of handle the deficient, of the centrality of Torah and of the worth of all folks.
To convey the arena a bit of extra grace and fact, it could be just right if Jesus’ fans would acknowledge and confirm the Jewish custom that Jesus embraced quite than search to make Jesus glance just right by way of making Judaism glance dangerous.
(Marc Zvi Brettler is Bernice and Morton Lerner Prominent Professor in Judaic Research at Duke College. Amy-Jill Levine is Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler Prominent Professor of New Testomony and Jewish Research at Hartford Global College for Faith and Peace. They’re the co-authors of “The Bible With and With out Jesus” and the editors of The Jewish Annotated New Testomony.)

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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

Embracing True Friendship: The Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother

Friendship is a valuable asset that enriches our lives by providing companionship, support, and a shoulder to cry on. But have you ever had a buddy who goes above and beyond—someone who remains closer than a brother? In a world where relationships can be fickle, a friend who sticks by us through thick and thin is a rare and priceless gift.

More Than Just Blood Ties

Consider the tie between siblings, which is based on blood and shared history. Consider a buddy who is more than just a family member. “One who has untrustworthy friends soon comes to ruin,” says Proverbs 18:24 (NIV), “but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

This verse describes a friendship that goes beyond basic conditions. It’s a bond founded on trust, loyalty, and real concern for one another.

Continuous Support

Consider a buddy who is present not only during happy times but also during difficult times. This type of friend is unconcerned about changing circumstances or personal gain. They provide their presence, encouragement, and steadfast support.

Jesus expresses the core of such friendship in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. This selfless affection serves as the foundation for a lasting connection.

Journeys Together

Consider a friend you’ve shared many stages of life with—the highs, the lows, and everything in between. This shared experience forges a link that extends beyond surface-level exchanges. The value of companionship is brilliantly captured in Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 (NIV): “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

A friend who sticks closer than a brother is someone who goes beside us through life’s ups and downs, lending a solid hand and an ear to listen.

A Mirror of God’s Love

As a symbol of God’s love for us, consider the buddy who sticks closer than a brother. God Himself offers an unbroken, unchanging, and everlasting companionship. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” says the Bible in Romans 8:38–39.

God’s love is the ultimate paradigm of true friendship—a love that is not conditional but remains faithful regardless of what happens.

Conclusion: Value true friendship.

A friend who sticks closer to you than a sibling is a treasure to be treasured. This type of friendship is founded on love, trust, and mutual care rather than convenience or shared interests. May we seek to be that sort of friend to others in our lives, just as God offers us His unfailing love.

In a world where relationships can be fleeting, let us create friendships that will endure. Let us be the sort of friends who are present in both joy and sadness, who offer unconditional support, and who mirror God’s unfailing love. We are reminded of the beauty of true friendship, which clings closer than a brother, as we welcome and cherish these unique and valuable ties.

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The Just God

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The Just God

The Just God: The Divine Balance of Justice and Mercy

The concept of justice is intertwined with the fabric of human society. We seek justice, responsibility, and reparation for wrongs done. But have you ever pondered a God who is not only just but also perfectly just? The Just God is a lighthouse of truth and righteousness, providing a profound awareness of justice and kindness that transcends human comprehension.

Justice in Pursuit

Consider a world where wrongdoers go unpunished and the disadvantaged have no recourse. The pursuit of justice is a natural human goal that reflects a feeling of rightness and order. And if we as humans value justice, how much more should the Creator of the universe, who is completely just?

According to Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV), “He is the rock; his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. He is a loyal God who does no wrong, who is straight and just. This verse reveals God’s character, which is characterized by unwavering justice.

Justice and Mercy in Balance

Consider yourself in front of a judge who holds you accountable for every action and decision you make. Imagine that same judge showing mercy and giving you a second opportunity despite the evidence against you. The just God is kind as well as just.

This delicate balance is captured in Psalm 103:10–11 (NIV): “He does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor does He repay us according to our iniquities. For his love for people who fear him is as high as the skies are above the earth. God’s justice is balanced by his unending love and kindness.

The Redemption of Justice

Consider a debt that you will never be able to repay—a debt of mistakes and wrongs that weigh heavy on your soul. In His perfect justice, the just God provides a solution. God provides a mechanism for justice to be served and redemption to be offered through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says Romans 3:23–24 (NIV), “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. This is an example of justice being met via the redemptive act of Christ’s sacrifice.

A Call to Justice

Consider a society in which justice is not simply a notion but a way of life. In our interactions with others, the just God calls us to exemplify justice. Micah 6:8 (NIV) states unequivocally, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. What does the Lord expect of you? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

Living justly entails treating people with fairness, compassion, and respect, as the character of the just God requires.

Finishing: Adoring the Just God

The Just God asks us to comprehend the breadth of His justice—a justice that supports truth, requires accountability, and strikes a balance between mercy and justice. God’s justice and mercy merge in the person of Jesus Christ, offering us redemption and restoration.

May we turn to the just God as our ultimate standard as we traverse a world that frequently grapples with issues of fairness. May we seek His wisdom and counsel in order to live justly and treat others with love and justice. We find not only a paradigm of perfect justice but also an invitation to experience the transformative power of His kindness when we embrace the Just God.

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The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Pathway to Achievement

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The Joy of Serving Others: A Pathway to Fulfillment

The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Highway to Contentment

Have you ever ever felt the nice and cozy glow that effects from lending a serving to hand to a stranger, the enjoyment that lasts for days after the act of kindness? That emotion offers a way of the pride of serving to others. The straightforward act of serving to can give us a sense of function and pleasure in contrast to the rest in a society that incessantly pushes us to place our consideration on ourselves.

The Want to Serve

Believe a society the place everybody labored to fortify the lives of people of their instant neighborhood. The need to lend a serving to hand, proportion a load, and supply comfort is on the core of carrier. The instance used to be established through Jesus Himself when he stated, “For even the Son of Guy didn’t come to be served, however to serve, and to provide his lifestyles as a ransom for plenty of.” (NIV, Mark 10:45)

Serving others is extra than just a nice deed; it is a way to emulate the compassion and love that Christ proven for us.

Discovering Pleasure in Selfless Giving

Believe spending time with the aged or going to a neighborhood refuge to hear their stories and cause them to really feel essential. Those tiny acts of kindness won’t appear to be a lot, however they be capable to make any person’s day higher, create relationships, and toughen a sense of group.

A better feeling of pleasure emerges after we set aside our personal issues and be aware of the wishes of others. The Bible admonishes us, “Every of you can use no matter present you’ve gotten won to serve others, as trustworthy stewards of God’s grace in its more than a few paperwork.” (NIV) 1 Peter 4:10 We specific the particular talents God has given us through serving others, and it’s in those deeds of carrier that we discover authentic pleasure.

Have an effect on Unmeasurable

Take into consideration the impact if all of us realized to experience serving to others. If we take a bit spoil from our tense schedules to lend a hand a neighbor, supply a sympathetic ear, or donate cash to a reason we reinforce. Small acts of kindness have the facility to unfold, sparking a sequence response of generosity and optimistic exchange.

In step with the NIV translation of Matthew 25:40, Jesus stated, “Actually I inform you, no matter you probably did for this sort of least of those brothers and sisters of mine, you probably did for me.” No longer simplest can we fortify the lives of other folks we serve, however we additionally perform Jesus’ command to like and deal with the ones round us.

Development Relationships and Connections

Believe the sensation of camaraderie that comes from cooperating with others to reach a shared purpose. Folks come in combination via carrier, growing ties and friendships that differently won’t have took place. It serves as a reminder that we’re all part of a broader group, and that group would possibly take pleasure in the acts we do.

Serving others permits us to peer the arena from many angles and to realize the demanding situations and victories of other folks round us. Our lives are enriched and {our relationships} are deepened through this sensitivity.

Conclusion: Discovering Contentment Via Carrier

Every people has a skill that is able to be opened: the pleasure of serving to others. It serves as a reminder that our lives are meant to be about extra than just our personal pursuits; they’re an opportunity to fortify the lives of others.

Let’s thus embody the pride of serving to others, if it is by means of deeds of kindness, volunteering, or simply being conscious about their wishes. The easy act of serving would possibly supply mild and hope in a global that every so often turns out overwhelming. As we emulate Christ and prolong ourselves in love, we no longer simplest exchange the lives of others but additionally revel in a deep feeling of success and enjoyment that overflows into our personal hearts.

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