Impact on Jesus Week #6
Reading through the Scriptures with this probing question: "How did this impact Jesus?" has really pushed me this year. I am amazed at how careful detail was given by God himself to write a story in order to train up His child in the way He should go. The law in the writings of Moses have really taken on a whole new meaning to me as I see them as a training manual for Jesus to learn, memorize, meditate on, and then implement in His life. What Impact it had and how amazing that God went to great lengths to prepare it for His child who would one day be born the Savior of His people. I hope you are enjoying as I attempt to listen and learn through the impact it had on Jesus.
In Leviticus 12, a very short chapter for this book, there is the law of what a new mother was to offer on the 8th day of her child's birth. The child was to be presented to the priest and then a lamb offered as a burnt offering and then a pigeon and dove for a sin offering. However, there is an exception for a woman who cannot afford a lamb, she had to bring two pigeons and two doves.
In Luke 2:24, we see this law obeyed by Joseph and Mary. They bring Jesus to the priest to be circumcised and they make their offering, a pair of pigeons and doves. In other words, Mary and Joseph could not afford the lamb. They were poor, struggling to get by, and all they had to offer to concentrate the Lamb of God was 4 birds.
I imagine the day Jesus heard this story as a boy. He would have listened to the reading of this and then possibly run to his parents and ask them about the lamb they took in for him. Then Mary and Joseph, still wrestling through life, would tell him of that day and how they could only afford the birds. As time goes by, I am certain Jesus would have dealt with teasing because of their lack of worldly wealth. I am sure he struggled with being made fun of, but how else could he learn the value of seeking Gods kingdom first if his life in this one was one of comfort and ease. After all "it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven!"
As Jesus grew in his wisdom of God and begin to ask his Father about "why" his life here on earth took such a troubled path, he began to see "Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed are the hungry. Blessed are those who weep and those who are hated! Rejoice, for great is your reward in heaven!"
As Jesus grew in wisdom and favor, he realized he was allowed to suffer all types of suffering here on earth as the Son of God because he too had to learn that this is not the kingdom we are to live for, but rather the kingdom of God. His Father allowed his parents to be poor, hungry, despised, and rejected, and therefore allowing him to "endure all things like us" so that Jesus himself would be taught to seek first Gods Kingdom. And all this he learned first from two pigeons and two doves used to consecrate him on the eighth day of his life.
Admittedly, today's reading proved challenging on the surface when looking into impact on Jesus as he grew in his wisdom and knowledge. I know everything written was for a purpose in preparing him for his work, but what about Leviticus 13-14 and the instructions regarding skin rashes and mildew. On the surface it seems heavy handed with the priest determining the depth of the skin issue or extent of the mildew problem. There is isolation for the person , clothes, or house involved and if determined to be infectious or spreading, there was the time of complete separation for the person and destruction for clothes and houses. What is it that could possibly have soaked into Jesus as he listened, read, and learned from these writings of Moses?
Then I looked at it from the priest aspect. The priest was given the difficult task of making the determination of the depth of the issue and then deciding how to deal with it. Was it just a surface problem that a bath could cure, or, was there need for separation, destruction, or a complete rebuild (as in the case of the house.)
As Jesus grew in his understanding of who he was and what he came to do, he could see that the issue with sin, law, and religious activity was not merely surface issues. They had grown deep and like a skin disease of spreading mildew, they were destroying his people from the inside out. He had 30 plus years to inspect the situation and determine that a mere isolation or tearing out pieces was not going to do. The disease, the mildew had gone too deep and it had to be cast out and called unclean. He would have to "tear down the temple" and rebuild it again.
God the Father, Son, and Spirit had created in love and loved their creation. Their heart longed to enjoy fellowship with the ones created in their own image. They desired for us to experience the rich depths of their love, yet that fellowship was broken. The surface sin had led to our isolation from one another and the spread of the infectious disease of unbelief and selfishness had brought us to the point of complete destruction.
Yet, as a man who was no longer infected by the disease was to shave his entire body and present himself along with an offering of a lamb and a house that was torn down was to be rebuilt. Jesus learned he would humble himself (the shaving of the entire body was humiliating like him setting aside his glory for human flesh) and would present himself as the offering, and through his sacrifice, the "temple" of God dwelling with his people could be rebuilt and as our priest, he could again present us to the Lord as pure and holy, worthy of His love and to love Him in return.
Leviticus 15 "These are the regulations for a man with a discharge, for anyone made unclean by an emission, for a woman in her monthly period, for a man or woman with a discharge. . ."
To be honest I would prefer to skip over this part and not think about how this impacted Jesus. For some it is just too uncomfortable. What possible meaning could this passage have for Jesus, the man who knew no sin? (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus himself declared that he was not here to destroy the law ( which this is a part of) but to fulfill it completely (Matthew 5:17-18.) He himself abided by the law as God intended it to be abided by! So how could this impact Jesus? How did this affect him?
As I looked through this, the words "whoever touches the man with a discharge," or "whoever touches them will be unclean" and they were required to "take a bath and wash their clothes" stood out to me. Jesus was surrounded by the "unclean." The lepers, the sick, men who went months away from their wives, and specifically the lady in Luke 8. It was no mistake that as I read Leviticus 15 that I was thinking of this particular lady and then I turned to my regularly scheduled reading in Luke today and there she was. 12 years with a flow of blood (Leviticus 15:25-27) this lady was "unclean" and she reaches up and touches Jesus' clothes. No wonder she wanted to hide, her actions would have made Jesus' clothes unclean. In essence, she was transferring her own uncleanness on Jesus in hopes of being healed. She knew the rules, she knew she was unclean. Jesus also knew the rules and he was determined to keep his way pure. Though Jesus knew no sin, did not sin, he was constantly surrounded by and even touching those the law of Moses said were unclean. That meant Jesus had to bathe and wash his clothes and remain alone continuously. Yet, these were the ones he came for! The sick, the dying, those with discharges, emissions, and flows of blood. He came to make what was unclean CLEAN. To do so, he had to take the uncleanness upon himself.
Again, as I think this through, knowing Jesus both touched the unclean and was touched by them, how could He possibly keep himself pure and holy, without defect, in a world where he would be surrounded by such uncleanness? He prayed the prayer in Psalm 119:9-16
9. How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!