EXODUS 30:11-31:18 | MATTHEW 26:47-68 | PSALM 32:1-11 | PROVERBS 8:27-32
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Night and Day. Black and White. That is the difference between the expectations laid out by the God of Moses for the people of Israel, and the same God incarnate who appears to rise above all the rituals of the Judaic traditions and observes and advocates a life of the mind more than the body.
Where there was once the deepest detail observed to offer up sacrifices in the form of blood and money, and strict rules in the observing of the Sabbath, we have on the other hand this man called Jesus Christ who comes along and tells us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. And what’s more, he says the Sabbath was made for man and not vice versa! A new day is dawning…
But continuing in our reading in Exodus, we find that it is in this passage that Moses receives the two tablets given to him directly by God that supposedly contained the Ten Commandments. Having received all the instructions on how to conduct themselves for worship–along with a host of rules and regulations on daily living–Moses descends from the mountain with the two tablets in hand. Let us see what might come of all this in the days to come…
Turning next to Matthew, we come to the chapter that contains the account of the arrest and trial of Jesus. This is a chilling account starting with Judas’ sign of betrayal with a kiss, Jesus’ willing surrender, the trial before the Sanhedrin (the group of high priests), the final charges of blasphemy on which Jesus is convicted, and the beginning of the gruesome ordeal that will lead up to the crucifixion.
This is the God of Heaven and Earth being reduced to a punching bag by a bunch of mere mortals! Jesus himself says, 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
In our Psalm for the day, we find David offering up an intimate prayer of supplication and affirmation in God’s care. There is also instruction and admonition for the generations to come. He says:
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD’s unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him.
Finally, the passage in Proverbs is one in which Solomon, son of David, and wise king of Israel serves as a mouthpiece of God himself in these words. This is the great majesty of the God of the universe who allowed himself to become one of his own creation.
The creator becomes the creation. And allows atrocities to be done unto him. Why? Because he loved me. And wanted to reconcile me to himself. Once and for all. But the choice is mine to accept him. Imagine Jesus uttering these words, and then imagine him being struck and slapped by the crowds:
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30 Then I was the craftsman at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.