Scriptures and Torah, A Meeting of Minds and Hearts

I am often asked about the apparent conflicts between Christian Scripture and the “old testament”, the Torah. We find the same concepts in the teaching of Christ, only in more down to earth terms. And the people who interpreted the teachings of Christ were well-intentioned messengers who added to the acceptance of those teachings. 

In Matthew 17:1-13, there is a passage that conforms in substance with everything that Judaism is about.  

The Matthew passage tells me that we overlook the obvious. We seek redemption and the help of spiritual sources and they come, but we do not recognize them when they are right in front of us. It is the same way as “knowing who your friends are.” People are inclined to listen to those who tell them what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. 

When the pupil is ready, the teacher appears. The teacher doesn’t materialize out of thin air. The teacher is always there. It is not until we are open to the possibility of being taught that we recognize the teacher. The word “believe’ comes from old English and its original meaning was “to be willing.” It is a statement of being open to consider that which you know nothing about, or not enough to form an opinion. The willingness is a submission to a higher authority, a possibility that your perceptions and beliefs need or at least could change in the light of new information and insights. 

John Meynard Keynes, the economist,  once said when questioned on a change of opinion “When the facts, so do my opinions. what do you do sir?”In Mark 9:1-13 we find even more support for the joining of our hearts as Jews and Christians. The Mark passage that is most significant to me is the coming down from the mountain of transfiguration means the bringing down of the power of the vision to the plane of daily life. 

They talked of John the Baptist as they came down the mountain; for it is by repentance that the power of the Lord is brought into life. It is by the revelation of the possibility of transfiguration that humans can transcend the bonds of their evolutionary heritage. It is the message of both Judaism and the scriptures of Christianity that we can, if we are willing, come to see and acquire faith in our ability and the ability of all people to transform their lives from the abstract, from the apparent randomness of life into meaning within chaos — a meaning that is far more useful to us and the rest of our species than accepting the ambiguity of random ethics.  

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