Description: In this lesson, we address the oft overlooked conflict of religious tradition and Bible belief pertaining to our Lord’s response to unbelieving Israel seeking a sign in Matthew 12:38-40:
“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas…
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Mt 12:38-40, KJV)
Religious tradition elevates and esteems “holy week” above other weeks to include the recognition and observation of days: “Good Friday” as the day of Christ’s crucifixion and “Easter Sunday” as the day of his resurrection above others.
Paul, the apostle of Christ’s body, sent of the Lord Jesus Christ, has not been silent on the topic of the observation of days, etc…
“But now, after ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” (Gal 4:9-11, KJV)
The stronger understanding worthy of persuasion, (applicable to both food and days) which edifies and frees from the encroachment of religious chains, is that all days should be esteemed alike, not one above another.
“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak eateth herbs…
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let ever man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” (Rom 14:1-2, 5)
Notice how Christ persuaded Paul of the stronger, more edifying understanding by grace…
“I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself…” (Rom 14:14)
Nevertheless, we all need to be persuaded in our own minds about service to our Lord. After all, it is to him that we stand or fall. Thank God he is able!
“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yeah, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” (Rom 14:4)
When we discuss the topic of the “three days and three nights”, let us remember that God, the one that is able to make us stand, is true (Rom 3:4), thus the words of Christ are true. Further, the gospel of Christ, the power of God unto salvation that wherein we stand declares:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved…
…how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (1Cor 15:1-4)
Our testimony of God’s word by the Spirit in Christ Jesus ought be one that upholds the truth of the one that holds us up: God is true, and our words toward men ought be too (2Cor1:17-20).
When we regard and esteem religious tradition over and above what the Bible teaches, we corrupt the word of God (2Cor2:17), make God a liar, handle his word deceitfully (2Cor4:1-2) and bring offence to the ministry (2Cor6;1-3) of Christ crucified (1Cor2:2) in this dispensation of God’s grace.
We are instructed to and liberated to glory in the cross of Christ in all places at all times in all that we do (Gal6:14; 1Cor10:31) – dying and living daily (1Cor15:31).
Let’s not limit that nor give lip service to days, months, times or years lest our manner and pattern in Christ be corrupted (1Cor15:33).