It’s about relationship, not religion

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Doug Lane, Jr., center left, as Caiaphas in the Faith Tabernacle production of Messiah in 2016.

God created mankind to have communion with him. He visited Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, and Jewish wisdom indicates that He still walks the earth at 3 a.m. We are told that when two or three gather in His name, He is there, too.

Religion spends a great deal of time tearing people apart because of differences. My God loves all of his creation, which is not to say that He is always pleased with everyone. We all fall short, which is why a sacrifice was necessary to reinstate us to a perfect relationship with God.

Twice before Easter, I watched the Messiah production at Faith Tabernacle. The delivery of Jesus’s ministry, sacrifice and resurrection made a new impact on my thoughts. My brother portrayed Caiaphas, and it was difficult to see him be harsh with our Savior.

Doug’s portrayal of Caiaphas was also tied to mourning a friend who had recently died. In previous productions, Ernie Meyers was Caiaphas — the high priest who condemned Jesus to death. Doug took on the role, as no one else was prepared, and I know he met it with respect and love for Ernie and an appreciation for what Caiaphas meant to our future at Christians.

In youth, it was hard for me to understand how the Truth could be standing among the the holy and learned without being recognized. What I know today is that Caiaphas, among others, had his heart hardened and his eyes shielded so that redemption could extend beyond the Jews.

Had all of the Jews of his time embraced Jesus as Messiah, there would have been no need to open the gates of heaven to others. This is where God’s love is so amazing; He created an opening for all of us to live in harmony with Him, to know His love and His best desire for all of His creation.

In watching the familiar story unfold, I was struck at how painful it must have been for the Disciples to see the Priesthood reject Jesus. The Priests were divinely appointed by birthright to provide intercession between God and mankind. Here fishermen were able to see God’s plan better than those in anointed authority over them.

Peter’s anguish at having denied Jesus must have been even more heart-wrenching because God’s men didn’t realize what they were doing either. The Priests could not identify God in the flesh, and Peter could not remain loyal overnight. We have all had failures, but there is redemption awaiting us all, if we only ask and believe.

We are all God’s children and He is no respecter of persons. His ideal is to carry us close to Him, holding our right hands and holding us in His right hand.

(Isaiah 41) 9I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

10So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Religion has its place, but its place is always behind direct relationship with our Creator and Messiah.

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