“Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.” + Titus 1v13b-14
In the context of this passage, Paul is writing to Titus who Paul has left in Crete in order to help establish the newly founded church there. One of the immediate issues surrounding these verses is the issue of false teachers. Apparently, some of these people were dabbling in “Jewish myths.” We don’t know exactly what the particulars are of these myths, but we do know that they were falsehoods perpetuated by Jewish tradition and culture. From the verses above, Paul contrasts “soundness in faith” with “Jewish myths.” It is clear that Jewish myths are directly opposed to sound doctrine. Paul even associates these Jewish myths with “turning away from the truth.” Clearly, Jewish myths are not something that Christians are to dabble in.
However, if you think that this was just a problem that was facing the 1 st century church in Crete, think again. All it takes is a stroll into your local Christian bookstore to see that 21 st century American Evangelicals are still caught up in Jewish myths. I am not exaggerating. There are authors like Jonathan Cahn and John Hagee who write Jewish “prophecy” books about blood moons and harbingers; all prophecies that are false. These guys continue to just pump out book after book on this stuff and people keep eating them up. You would think that one would become suspicious of a man who writes prophecy books for a living. I’ve even seen books that give methods for “decoding” end times charts based on Jewish rituals and traditions. These books should be filed away in the “Jewish Myth” section; or better yet the “Fiction” section. Consider even a book like Mark Batterson’s “Circle Maker.” The book is all about a particular way to pray based on a Jewish legend! Apparently modern Christians don’t believe that Titus 1v14 applies to them.
The worst part about all of this is that Jewish myths are super lame. Why is it that so many American Evangelicals are caught up in these Jewish myths? I am afraid that part of the reason is that we have become bored with the gospel. Instead of reading theological books that teach us deeper truths about our Lord, many would just rather settle for the “Mystery of the Shemitah.” Unfortunately Jesus just isn’t fascinating, thrilling, exciting, or attention-gripping enough for many of us. We’re not satisfied with Jesus. We prefer silly Jewish myths. So we get what our itching ears long for.
However, the problem is not that Jesus is actually boring. The problem is that we are sinners. If we find the gospel to be mundane, it is not because the gospel actually is. The problem is not with the gospel, the problem is with us. So many people fill their spiritual stomach to the brim with Jewish myths and falsehoods, so much so that there is no more room for the glory of Christ. May we beg God to cause our hearts to leap within us when we read of Christ and His work in the Scriptures. May God make us so full on Christ that we spoil every sinful appetite for Jewish myths.
It is a shame that so many self-identifying Christians prefer a book of Jewish mysteries over books about the gospel of Jesus Christ – which is the greatest mystery in the history of existence – and it has been revealed and clearly made known to us in God’s Word. The mystery of the gospel has been known to us! Let us explore its depths, for we could never reach the end of them. The gospel is big enough to thrill our hearts and captivate our fascinations for all eternity. And for those in Christ it will. The news that Christ died for sinners is the greatest news in the history of the world. We should long to know every detail of it. Whenever someone says that something is the greatest thing in the world, it is always hyperbole. But when we say that the gospel of Jesus Christ – His substitutionary life, death, and resurrection on behalf of guilty sinners – is the greatest news ever, it is never hyperbole. If anything, it is an understatement.
May the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ fill your fascinations.