December 1, 2013
READ: Acts 5:12-42
Go to the temple and give the people this message of life! (v.20).
I didn’t realise how much my family’s Christmas traditions were ingrained in me until it came time for my husband and me to form our own. While we may have strong opinions about when to begin decorating or the best way to open presents, the real issue is deeper. In the ever changing flow of life, traditions bring a sense of stability. Even though no amount of Christmas baking, tree-decorating or family get-togethers can guarantee us permanence, we still hold them dear.
Not all traditions bring joy or life however. When preaching the gospel, Peter and his fellow apostles came up against far more than a cherished custom. Acts 5 records their encounter with a religious stronghold in the hearts of men. To the Sadducees, who were filled with jealousy, tradition mattered more than truth—especially when their customs guaranteed them power (v.17). The apostles, however, decided that the “message of life” mattered more than the threats of men (v.29).
The stronghold of bad religion will continue to offer its deceptive, false stability in posing as a bearer of truth. Instead of giving life, however, bad religion looks for ways to silence and punish those who move in the authority of Jesus (Acts 5:18,33,40). Fortunately, a greater truth prevails: God’s Word stands above the customs and rules of men (Psalm 119:38-39).
Because we now live in the new covenant of Christ, we must respond to the religious mindset just as the early church did. May we have the boldness to pray, “And now, O Lord, hear their threats and give us, Your servants, great boldness in preaching Your word” (Acts 4:29).
Wrapped in the flesh of a newborn babe (John 1:14; Galatians 4:4), Jesus came to undo the makings of man, in order that we—and our traditions—might be made new (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Mark 2:22). —Regina Franklin
Read Galatians 1:11-24 to understand the ideas of people and the ideas that are found in the truth of God.
How can our traditions lead us into a deeper walk with Christ? In looking at your spiritual life, are there any areas where you have valued the patterns of men more than the truth of Scripture?