Monday, October 14, 2013

Daily Old Testament: 2 Maccabees 2-3 and My Own Article on "Genesis and John" (Part 4)

2 Maccabees 2 – The author tells how the prophet Jeremiah ordered those who were taken into exile to “hide some of the fire from the altar” so it could be found as they have just found it to rekindle the light of the Temple. He also instructed them concerning God Law and warned them about the temptation of idol worship that they would see in the land they were being taken to.

“These same records also tell us that Jeremiah, acting under divine guidance, commanded the Tent of the Lord’s Presence and the Covenant Box to follow him to the mountain where Moses had looked down on the land which God had promised our people. When Jeremiah got to the mountain, he found a huge cave and there he hid the Tent of the Lord’s Presence, the Covenant Box, and the altar of incense. Then he sealed up the entrance” (2:4-5). No one was to know about the site until the time God would gather his people again and show them mercy. “At that time he will reveal where these things are hidden, and the dazzling light of his presence will be seen in the cloud, as it was in the time of Moses” (2:8).

Nehemiah is credited with bringing together all the “royal records” and all the “writings of David, letters of the kings concerning offerings, and books about the kings and prophets” (2:13).

A Jerusalem Bible note seems to say that all this is not very historically accurate. It is an attempt to show the continuity of orthodox worship – give it higher credentials. He also tries to impress the reader with the massive amount of research he has done, but that the account he plans to give is cursory – an overview.

2 Maccabees 3 – The narrative starts here. It begins when Onias III was high priest and Seleucus IV is ruler of Asia (186-175 BC). One Simon gets into a conflict with Onias over regulation of the markets and Simon uses the Seleucids to get even. He sends rumors of great wealth stashed in the Temple. The king sends Heliodorus, his chancellor, to seize this money – out of all proportion to any money needed for the religious purposes of the Jews. The Lord himself intervenes on Israel’s behalf appearing in a vision to Heliodorus to protect his Temple. He is converted by this experience it says, though he does not seem to be thought of as a good guy.

“Genesis and John”
Part 4
I knew that the opening of Genesis was very important to Fox and Friends. And I knew that the term “Seed” was just as linked to Genesis as “Light” and “Word,” but I wondered if the first part of Genesis was so important to the author of John, were there not perhaps other references to it in other parts of John’s gospel. The first other passage I thought of was the miracle at Cana, Jesus first miracle and the beginning of his ministry. There had always been controversy over the question of why Jesus referred to his mother as “Woman” not “mother dearest.” And the note in my Jerusalem Bible says, “Unusual address from son to mother; the term is used again in 19:26 where there may be a reference to Gn 3:15, 20: Mary is the second Eve, ‘the mother of the living’.”

The only other mention of Mary in John is in John 19:26 when Jesus is on the Cross, and he again calls her “woman” – Jesus, “[s]eeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son’. Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother’. And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home” (John 19:26-27). Putting together all of these passages blew my mind. Quakers had gotten the Second Adam insight and run with it, finding in it a theological basis for leading the charge back through the “flaming sword” that kept us out of Eden; but Catholics had seen that in accepting Mary, the woman who was the first to open herself utterly and completely to Christ’s life in her, we too - all of us who were Christ’s beloved disciples – could really join ourselves to them both.

But perhaps the strongest sense of "convincement" I felt about the connection between these Old and New Testament passages came when I read on in John and it said, "After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfill the scripture perfectly he said: 'I am thirsty'. A jar full of vinegar stood there, so putting a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said, 'It is accomplished'; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit" (John 19: 28-30). Yes, the promise made in 3:15 was accomplished.

“Openings” have power. They make us feel that God is working in us, opening our eyes to things we have been blind to; raising to life in us insights that enrich our faith-lives and make us feel the fruits of faithfulness – excitement on an intellectual and spiritual plane, love for those who have witnessed to him and made him live for others. I am thankful.

No comments:

Post a Comment