Monday, March 27, 2017

Day 55: The Priests Manual and the first Missionary

Psalm 90, Leviticus 1, 2 and Mark 5:1-20

These chapters give us the first priests instruction manual, a discussion of human nature verses God’s nature, and the sending out of the first missionary.

Psalm 90

This Psalm gives us a comparison between the eternal nature of God and mortals. This passages is called Moses’ prayer and it sounds much like what we might have expected Moses to say to God on the mountain when he is asking for mercy for the people of Israel. The psalmist says that people gain wisdom with age, hopefully, even though that wisdom is limited because they do not live long. He also asks God to give value to the work of the hands of God’s people.

Leviticus 1

Leviticus is called the Priests Manual. The purpose of priests was to teach the difference between common and uncommon, clean and unclean. The priests helped set the cultic culture of the Israelites.
There are believed to be two different sources for Leviticus; P, the priestly code, and h, the Holiness code. H, or the Holiness code, is thought to be the later because it appears to comment on and have redaction of P.
In this chapter we are given instructions of offerings. These are the parts that make me want to skip this book all together. The thing I find interesting is that the people are a part of the ritual by choosing the sacrifice and doing the slaughtering. Aaron’s sons, the priests, only step in as silent intercessors.

Leviticus 2

We get more details about offerings in this chapter. Offerings by fire are food offerings, they bring smoke, but are not burnt up. The priests are allowed to eat these gifts. No leaven or honey can be included in the offerings for aromas, but salt must always be included.

Mark 5: 1-20

Jesus goes into the land that is primarily Gentile land. When he crosses the lake he meets a man shackled to stones, who bruises himself with rocks, and is naked. The people have chained him because his demons that some say might have been some form of mental illness.
There are a lot of plays on words in this passage. The demon says its name is “Legion”. A legion is a unit of 6,000 Roman troops. Tombs, demons and pigs were all considered unclean by Jews. The pig herd of 2,000 would have been there to feed Gentiles or the Roman occupying forces. There is an element of humor to the Legion being cast into the swine and hurled off of a cliff.
The most interesting part of this whole account to me is the people’s reaction. They see the demoniac clothed and in his right mind and they are afraid. After the miracle of healing they are scared. They are so scared that they beg Jesus to leave. How often are we scared by changes in others? When have we reacted with fear to something being different than we knew it before?
The man begs to leave with Jesus and Jesus tells him no. The man is sent out into the ten cities to share the good news. He becomes the first missionary to the Gentiles.

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