Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Day 50: Ordination and New Wine

Exodus 29, 30 and Mark 2

The passages for today tell us about the Ordination of Aaron and his sons as the first priests of the Israelites. In Mark, Jesus gives hope to the people and challenges them to accept the new wine in new wineskins.

Exodus 29

This section is dedicated to the Ordination of Aaron and his sons. I will say, I am glad that such ordination rituals are not in place today! I’m not sure that I would have done well with blood placed on my ears, sprinkled on my garments, etc. I also really don’t like raw meat, so this would have been hard, to say the least.
Again we are given extreme detail of how the preparation for the ordination was to be conducted because it was to be the first ordination of the Israelites. This section continues to set them apart from the people they will come into contact with in the Promised Land.
Here we see the priests’ share of the sacrifice being introduced. We also have the number seven, the number of completion, once more. Seven bulls to be sacrificed, one a day for ordination. Fourteen lambs sacrificed, two a day, for seven days to atone for the altar.
God states that these provisions are to make things holy so that God may dwell with the Israelites in the tabernacle.

Exodus 30

More worship instructions are given regarding an altar for incense, atonement money, ritual washing, and recipes for anointing oil and incense. These are to set the people and their worship, apart. The significance of the recipes is that some things are to be used by God or for God only. While these scents were seen as pleasing, they were not to become common. They were to be associated with worship only.

Mark 2

Jesus continues on his travels and arrives in Capernaum. Great crowds gather and a group of men who seek healing for their friend, dig a hole in the roof and lower him before Jesus. Jesus tells the man that he is forgiven, based on his friends act of faith. This has always held interest for me. How much influence do we have on other peoples’ lives? Can our faith bring others to healing? How are we recognizing that in the church today?
The scoffers say that Jesus cannot forgive sins, God alone claims that privilege. Here Jesus boldly claims that same right with an act of authority, by forgiving sins and telling the paralyzed man to get up and walk.
Jesus is criticized throughout Mark for the company he chose to keep. He spent time with the “undesirables.” I wonder how much time and effort we put into reaching the undesirables of today with the love and message of Jesus. How often do we enter into relationship with such individuals or groups?
Jesus speaks about new wine and wineskins. Wine would stretch the wine skin over time and therefore a new skin, with elasticity was needed. If you poured new wine into an old wineskin, the wine skin would eventually burst. We cannot live our faith the exact way others do, those wine skins are used. We must not be afraid to be stretched and challenged by God’s word and Jesus’ love and the Holy Spirit’s call each and every day.

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