Monday, April 3, 2017

Day 62: Ritual cleansing and the Ritual of Healing

Leviticus 15, 16 and Mark 8:22-38

These passages both tell us of ritual occurrences. Leviticus talks about the rituals associated with clean and unclean, specifically related to reproduction and reproductive organs. Jesus initiates an odd ritual to heal a man.

Leviticus 15:

This chapter deals specifically with reproductive organs and the laws associated with them. It is a hard section to read for many modern readers. The idea of blood and semen and other body excretions being ritually unclean is difficult. The ancients seemed to have equated the loss of these things with the loss of life, or potential life and therefore saw them as signs of death.
The discharge spoken of is an abnormal discharge, more than likely gonorrhea.
Again, with the iniquity! Men are “unclean” until sundown after ejaculating, as are the beds they are on, cloths, and any woman who is with him. Women however are unclean for seven days after their menstrual cycle. It is interesting that they can stay at home, clean and cook for others without the others becoming unclean during this time period.

Leviticus 16

In priestly theology, it is the transgressions that are willful or brazen committed by the people who make the Holy of Holies impure enough to be cleansed once a year. The priest gives an offering for his sin and other priests sin before offering up a sin offering for the people and a scapegoat for the transgressions of the people. The scapegoat carries the sins of the people away from the camp into the wilderness where they can no longer make things impure.

Mark 8: 22-38

Jesus again takes someone aside and heals them using a ritual that includes spit, and putting his fingers in their ears. Two things that are less than comfortable for this preacher to think about. He tells this individual to not even go back to the village. Jesus knows that his time is running short and each excited new believer gets him closer to hot water.
Jesus then talks openly with his disciples about his death and resurrect. Peter rebukes him and Jesus rebukes back. I wonder how often I have told God that God could not, should not behave in one way. I wonder if I am willing to admit to being rebuked.

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