LEVITICUS 16:29-18:30 | MARK 7:24-8:10 | PSALM 41:1-13 | PROVERBS 10:15-16
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In addition to the very many types of atonement offerings that the people were to observe throughout their lifetime, there was also established an annual Day of Atonement so the community’s entire sin for the year may be atoned for, and the day was observed like the Sabbath. Perhaps the custom of the scapegoat coincided with this annual event.
Furthermore, there are detailed the most explicit instructions for certain dietary restrictions and for sexual relations. Let it not be said that they didn’t know or weren’t told. Here it was, written out by Moses and given to Aaron and the priests for enforcement and regulation. Bizarre though some of the instructions must read, it was evidently prescribed due to the deviant behavior that might have been present at the time.
Turning next to our New Testament reading, we find that Mark’s account of Jesus’ ministry continues unabated. We learn of the stories of Jesus’ acceding to requests for healing — of both body and mind. Time and time again, people are brought to him, or coming looking for him, and Jesus’ compassion is so great that he cannot refuse them.
However, for the few times that he does instruct that the beneficiaries of his miraculous work keep it to themselves, it is because, I think, that he does not wish for these supernatural acts to become a distraction to his greater ministry which is to preach the Kingdom of God. His purpose, after all, was to come unto his own to tell them and show them a better way — a way that was more meaningful, a way that was more purposeful.
And yet, the community leaders and Temple elders were not impressed with this man who spoke of the Kingdom of God being at hand. And even more so, they were displeased at all the attention and notoriety that he was attracting thanks to the miraculous works that he would perform in his wake. Who did he think he was– the son of God?!
Next, we turn to the Psalms, and find David’s exhortation to be among those counted as having “regard for the weak” in these verses:
1 Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;
the LORD delivers them in times of trouble.
2 The LORD protects and preserves them—
they are counted among the blessed in the land—
he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
3 The LORD sustains them on their sickbed
and restores them from their bed of illness.
Finally, a verse from the Book of Proverbs, in which Solomon, wise king of Israel, speaks of an essential truth:
16 The wages of the righteous is life,
but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.