Friday, August 27, 2010

Not So Fast, Luke

Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, has had other names in Judaism. It has been simply called HaYom (“the Day”) since it is considered the holiest day of the year by the Jewish community. It has also been called “the Fast” since it was a day for humbling our souls before God, and fasting was the customary expression of the humbled soul. It is this designation for Yom Kippur that one New Covenant writer, Luke, uses in reporting on the shipwreck of Paul:
“When considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the Fast was already over, Paul began to admonish them...” (Acts 27:9).
Luke locates the time of the season of stormy, dangerous weather by “the Fast.” Not only did he understand this name, but he naturally assumed his readers would "get it" too. Luke, a Gentile believer, identified the season by the fact Yom Kippur had taken place.

It is true that he was discipled by Paul so as to understand and express his faith in Messiah in a way that would make sense to the greater Jewish community. But this text was written for not only the Jewish community, but all believers in Yeshua, Jewish or Gentile. “The fast” would have been natural for Luke because all New Covenant believers understood and observed Yom Kippur. It never dawned on anyone that believers would be using a schedule for worship services which was designed to forget this special day. Why should something once so familiar to the Body of Messiah have become so foreign?

All sincere believers seek to exalt Yeshua in their services for His redemptive work. The festivals display God’s redemptive program for humanity fulfilled in Messiah Yeshua. The annual observance of Yom Kippur was a day not only about individuals being restored in their walk with God, but dealt with the national restoration of Israel to its divine service as a holy people. Its fulfillment is prophesied in Zechariah 12:10-13:1, when our people look unto Messiah whom we have pierced– and mourn for Him. Then the cleansing is applied and all Israel will be saved.

This time of Israel’s restoration answers our prayers for our Messiah’s return and that His “kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). So Yom Kippur was especially a reminder to all New Covenant believers of our apostolic calling to pray for Israel’s salvation (Psalm 122:6; Romans 10:1). Even as Luke’s casual phrasing shows us, it is good for all New Covenant believers to fast in prayer for our people Israel.

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