Our Jewish Heritage

This morning at Cherry Tree Court, Pat reminded us of the Jewish heritage from which Christianity is derived. The New Testament cannot be fully understood without reference to the Old Testament, and this morning, in looking at Matthew 9:18-25, she referred back to Numbers 15:37-41 where God gave Moses instructions about the Jewish tassels that were attached to their garments, which the bleeding woman probably took hold of. These tassels were reminders of the commandments of God (the blue thread reminded the people of these whilst the white threads reminded them of the holiness of God.)

A tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) is a large rectangular shawl made of wool, cotton or synthetic fibres. In each of the four corners of the shawl are strings tied in a particular pattern, called tzitzit. The shawl contains written blessings which Jews use as prayers. Pat’s tallit contained Scriptures from 2 Cor 5, Matthew 14, Mal 4:2, Is 53:5 and would be used by Jews who have come to faith in Jesus as Messiah to aid them in prayer. The number of tzitzit is often symbolic and meant to remind Jews of specific aspects of faith.

Prayer involves drawing close to God and dwelling under the shadow of His wing (see Ps 91:1). The Jews often were given symbolic means to do this and it can be helpful for us also at times to use similar symbolic means when we draw near to God to act as reminders and to focus our attention on Him.

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