Monday, April 24, 2017

Day 83: There be giants and Messiah is born

Deuteronomy 1, 2 and Luke 2:1-24

These passages give us a look once more at the Law of Moses. The people are facing giants, literally and figuratively in these chapters of Deuteronomy. In Luke we are given the birth story of Jesus, the Messiah.

Deuteronomy 1

Deuteronomy is the translation of the first few words of the book, these are the words. It also is often called the second law. It is the last book of the Pentateuch and it serves as not only a way to remember the past of God’s people, but to anticipate their future.
It begins with Moses telling that God has given instructions for the people, which the people chose to disobey. This disobedience led to a military defeat, but also to the generation of Israelites not being allowed to receive the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 2

The people are told to pass through the land of Esau, but not to antagonize anyone there, for God gave this land to Esau. They also pass through the lands given to Lot. Here we are told about the strange people, giants of the region. These so called giants held mythic stature in the area. Thought to be the descendants of angels and women, they were fierce warriors.
God tells the people to pas through the land of Sihon, as they did the lands of Esau and Lot, but king Sihon will not let them pass. Thus begins the bloody conquest of the Promised Land.

Luke 2:1-24

The theology of Luke is based in the idea that Jesus’ mission was divinely necessary. There is often harsh language about the Jews and Jewish authorities. It is important to note that almost all of the followers of Jesus in Luke are Jews. These issues were more of a family struggle than pitting a whole religion against another.
In Chapter 2 we get the birth story of Jesus. His parents have traveled to Bethlehem to be registered. The most likely scenario is that they are with Joseph’s family, and therefore not lone travelers, two people against the world, as we often see them characterized.
Shepherds are the first to learn of Jesus’ birth. Shepherds were not the cream of the crop. They were not the kind of witnesses one would expect for any birth, let alone the birth of the Messiah, yet here they are. Mary ponders these things, the sayings and stories of the shepherds when they visit, in her heart. Mixed with the angelic proclamation to Mary and the greeting from Elizabeth, they must have made for very interesting food for thought.
Mary and Joseph are observant Jews. At 8 days of age they take Jesus to be circumcised and bring along the appropriate sacrifice. They bring two doves, not sheep, not bulls, for their first born son. This indicates that they were anything but wealthy. However, they did not let their lack of funds keep them from following the traditions.

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