Arulvakku

17.07.10 SUFFERING SERVANT

Posted under Reflections on July 16th, 2010 by

  But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him to put him to death. When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place. Many (people) followed him, and he cured them all, but he warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet: "Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope." (Mt 12:14-21)

 

The first few verses give the real picture of the situation of Jesus. That is he has a very good following. People come after him in crowds may be because they want him to heal them and cure them of their diseases. But there is also an opposition mounting against him. The opposition is from among the leaders and in particular religious leaders. Jesus could only move out of the situation and quiet about it.

Jesus wanting his followers to be quiet or keeping secret about his activities is often called as Messianic secret. One of the reasons for this secrecy is that some of his followers wanted to make use of leadership for a revolt; for a messianic revolt. Also because Jesus wanted to complete his mission through his death on the cross before   his identity was revealed to the world.


The image of him taken from Prophet Isaiah is the suffering servant image (Is 42). This is the servant who will bring God’s blessings and justice to the world. This idea of bringing blessings and peace is the work of the Messiah. The servant is not going to accomplish this through violence and fight but through a gentle work of healing, bearing the love of God to the people. God’s restoration work was not through fuss but rather through gentle healing love. 

16.07.10 SABBATH

Posted under Reflections on July 15th, 2010 by

At that time Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath." He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent? I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath." (Mt 12:1-8)

 

Sabbath law was something sacred for the Jews and they observed it with strictness. They also made sure that everyone observed it. Sabbath rule also received its sacredness in the way it was attached to creation stories. God rested from creative works on the Sabbath so every Jew should abstain from activities that were creative in nature (like: lighting a lamp is creating light, preparing food is also creative etc).

The story of David in 1 Sam 21:1-6 speaks about anointed king David on the run from Saul who was an enthroned king. Since David was anointed a king, the priests were supportive of his Royal claim and hence they were willing to give him the holy bread. Because of the priestly ministry, the priests were innocent of the breaking of the Sabbath law.


Jesus puts forward his claim to be the king and secondly he is greater than the temple. However his claim to be lord of the Sabbath is quite strong but his appeal for mercy is what counts and in fact counter acts. Mercy and humanity have greater claims than the temple and temple practices. 

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