Monday, March 20, 2017

Day 45: Covenant and Death

Exodus 19, 20 and Matthew 27:27-50

These chapters in Exodus and Matthew cover the giving on the renewing of the covenant with Israel and the death of Jesus. Both speak to the work God is doing in the world, in very different ways.

Exodus 19

God offers the covenantal agreement to the people. This is not going to be a one sided relationship. God seeks the participation of the people in the covenant. The people answer in verse 8 “We will do everything the Lord has said.” They are committing themselves to the covenant with and therefore relationship to God.
God gives instructions for the people to not set foot on the Holy Mountain of the Lord. God did this to show a difference between God, the one God of Israel and the many gods of Egypt and the surrounding areas. Those gods/idols could be touched, seen, handled, or manipulated. God wanted to be certain that God’s status as other, Holy was accepted.
In the Christian faith we hold dear, we are not only allowed to approach God, but invited through Jesus to draw close. This contrast is made through God entering our world as Jesus and coming close to us as the Emmanuel.

Exodus 20

God spoke the 10 commandments to all of Israel. They all heard God speaking and were so terrified of the thunderous noise that they begged God to speak through Moses alone. I wonder how often I’ve missed the opportunity to hear God speak because I’ve been afraid to listen.
The 10 Commandments are rules for living out faith in community with God and others. We humans, left to our own devices will always look out for ourselves. These rules give a way to live in community setting the wellbeing of the whole above the desires of the individual.

Matthew 27:27-50

Jesus is turned over to a legion of soldiers and they proceed to mock and abuse him. I have never noticed the detail that he was struck repeatedly on the head with a staff. I am greatly disturbed by these images.
Jesus is offered gall and wine to dull the pain of crucifixion, but once he tastes it he refused to drink. All of the pain was felt that day. Jesus was not dulled in any way when he faced the cruelty of the cross.
As a youth I was told that part of Jewish education would have included the memorization of Psalms. The 22nd Psalm in particular was one that mother’s taught their sons. I am not sure of the accurateness of this thought, but I often think of Mary, watching Jesus die and hearing him call out the first lines of that Psalm. How it must have broken and blessed her heart.

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