Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Inquiries: #1

I am a man made both mighty and humble by inquiry. The attention of this new series of posts is to ask a question of the LORD on Sundays that perplexes me. You are welcome to join me. God knows my heart, and therefore knows that I do not inquire of him in a combative manner, but that my aim is only to know him, his imagination, and his will, deeper still. 

And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, 
whom the Lord knew face to face, 
none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord 
sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 
and for all the mighty power and all the great deed of terror 
that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. 
Deuteronomy 34:10-12

Let's start with a bang --- perhaps something of a second big bang. The bang that was Jesus' coming into the world in first century Palestine.

Beyond the questions of why God chose to come incarnate at that stage in history (Israel in 4BC had no mass communication! ~ Jesus Christ, Superstar), is the question of the environment he chose to place himself into.

The Jewish people of course had been looking for a Savior, a prophet like Moses, since the very death of Moses himself. Hundreds upon hundreds of angst filled years waiting for the Redeemer. The Torah ends with the above quoted lines from Deuteronomy, the capstone of the five book history, which was mostly compiled by Moses himself. But things from a historic standpoint get sticky when you realize Moses dies before the end of the book. Someone added the ending. It is often conceived that this ending tag that includes Moses' death as well as the line, not arisen a prophet since was added to the book much much later in history. Maybe a thousand years later.

Anyway, this all bears some level of significance because the entrance of Jesus the Christ into the world harbors so many parallels to that of Moses. Highest among these parallels is that of the government infanticide brought on by the ruling parties of the day.

King Herod was fearful of the Jewish hope of a Warrior Savior. When some wise dudes came knocking on his door telling him about the star they saw, he feigned love, only to hide his intense fear and hatred for the baby that would be king.

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, 
became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem 
and in all that region who were two years old or under, 
according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.  
Matthew 2:16-17

The text also tells us that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus (Oxford comma? What a quagmire!) escape the bloody hands of Herod by sneaking into Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son." Matthew 2:15

My smart-as-a-whip-which-went-through-medschool-passed-the-bar-and-was-utilized-on-numerous-occasions-by-indiana-jones-himself fiancée (because frankly, I don't know why whips are supposedly smart...), in speaking about such things made a valid point; which was:

Why did so many children have to die for Jesus to come into the world?

We long can speak of Jesus' sacrifice for us (and for obviously good reason), but what of the sacrifice of the families who suffered the murder of their child for the sake of Christ?

Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: 
"A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because
they are no more."
Matthew 2:18

Sure, God didn't "cause" the death of those kids, in that Herod's plan was not something that was done in adherence to God. Nevertheless, surely the Lord could have come in such a way into this earth that so many would not have to suffer the consequences of the ushering in of the Lord of hosts.

So why did it play out like this? Why did Jeremiah's words need be fulfilled in this?

In the days of Moses, Pharaoh commanded all his people, 
"Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile..." 
Exodus 1:22

Was it so important to God that Jesus come into the world just as Moses, under direct persecution of the innocent? Why?

If the star did not shine, if the Wisemen didnt't see the star, then the children would not have been butchered. So then why did God see to it that his son would come into the world this way? No one can bring comfort to Rachel.

So we know that Christ's blood was shed for you and me, but what of the blood that was shed for him?