As time goes on, Christ continues ministering. It doesn’t matter where He is, or what He is doing, He keeps ministering. However, as you will see, the people’s response to Him contrasts greatly. A paralytic is brought to Him. He tells him that his sins are forgiven, and not long after that, to get up and walk. The scribes (educated folk) criticize him for the first thing, and the people were awestruck and praise YHWH for both. Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees criticize Him for mingling with the rabble. Meanwhile, the tax collectors and sinners come to repentance. John (the Baptist)’s disciples critically question him about why they and even the Pharisees disciples fast, but Jesus’ don’t. Jesus replies that now is not the right time. If you expect too much from someone or something at the wrong time, you can destroy the work that needs to be done.
Day by day, people keep coming to Him, in spite of the scribes and Pharisees criticisms. We actually begin to see deep contrasts in who and how people come to Him. A synagogue official (public VIP figure) comes boldly to Him pleading with Him to heal and revive his dead daughter. Meanwhile an unclean woman with an issue of blood comes to Him secretly hoping to get a scrap from the master’s table. She wants to be healed. While she comes in secret, He heals her publicly. While the leader calls to Him publicly, Jesus heals his daughter in secret.
As He goes on and casts out demons, the religious leaders follow along with the gentile beliefs and decide that the only way for a demon to be cast out is if you send in a stronger, tougher demon to kick the first one out. But then you end up with a different, stronger, demon to deal with.
Yet none of this matters to Jesus. He feels compassion for the people for they are like sheep without a shepherd. So, what’s His response? That answer is in chapter 10.
The priestly laws continue. It must be hard to be a priest in Biblical times. The rules and regulations you had to keep track of. Some of them are obvious of course… like if you touch something unclean you will remain unclean until evening. No leaper of the sons of Aaron may eat of the holy sacrifices, and while the family may eat, the married daughters may not eat unless she is divorced or widowed with no children and returns home to her father’s house. It just seems like the laws and rules never end, but they are there for a reason. An important reason. Because someone needed to represent the people to YHWH, and YHWH to the people.
So the priests were responsible for the sins of the people and their relationship with YHWH. They are the ones who placed their lives on the line day after day to make sure that the people’s sins were covered. They are the ones who had to do everything perfectly every day and every time. They had to teach the people the precepts of YHWH. It is their responsibility and their honor. YHWH is a holy and a jealous God. To serve Him day by day is an honor and a responsibility of a lifetime.
Do we take YHWH seriously, or do we just use Him as a rescue raft. Do we worship the Holy God, or do we demand assistance from a galactic servant. Do we pursue a relationship with Him in awe and wonder, or do we attempt to flippantly use Him for our advantage and advancement? We are the servants of the Most High. Maybe we need to start acting that way… if that’s alright with you.
Everyone is unclean at some point in their lives. Some of us just more so than others. So what do you do when you have an unclean people and a holy God who can not stand uncleanness in His presence? You don’t want their uncleanness to cause their destruction. So how do you separate their uncleanness from YHWH’s tabernacle?
Well, the simplest and easiest way would be to set down some ground rules. Set up some basic rules and expectations of ways to keep the uncleanness away from the presence of the one whose holiness would consume the one with the uncleanness. Once that uncleanness is dealt with and accounted for, that should allow life to go on as needed.
Do we recognize our need to separate our sin from His holiness? Do we attempt to pursue Him while still being consumed by our sins, or do we come to Him with a repentant heart? Do we acknowledge our uncleanness emitted through our actions as sins, and do we come to Him for forgiveness; or do we just excuse them as “flaws” that give us character and personality? What is our attitude about our uncleanness and the “emissions” in our lives?
What makes something clean or unclean? What gives one thing value over another? Is it its color, its shape, its size? How about its purpose, the way it’s used, or how strong it is? What gives you and i value?
We live our lives day after day giving value to one thing over another. We set priorities in our lives. Yes, i will take that call. No, i don’t have time for that meeting. Will i rise early and do my devotions, or will i shut off the alarm and get some much needed extra sleep. In everything we do we are giving things, people, and situations value and purpose in our lives.
In this chapter, YHWH is doing the same thing. God is saying, these kinds of animals have value when it comes to what you eat. These others are not worth keeping around. If you eat these animals it’s alright, if you even touch the carcasses of these you will be unclean. You should definitely not touch them to eat them. They are forbidden.
It’s interesting to me seeing what makes the clean different from the unclean. The clean animals are all herbivores. None of them purposefully eat another living creature. Thus the carrion birds are forbidden. Those who eat unclean things are forbidden. Thus pigs are rejected. Insects that have jointed legs with which to jump are clean. So grasshoppers and locusts are clean, but spiders and ants are not.
One of the things that really interests me is understanding the very nature of these kinds of animals for food. For instance, sheep, the most common animal used for meat for the Israelites, are the healthiest meat there is other than buffalo. Meanwhile, fish with scales and fins are very healthy for you with oils that are very good for you. What YHWH has called the “clean” animals have time and again proven to be the best meats nutritionally and health wise.
It’s almost like God’s rules about food and meats actually work to help keep you healthy! Imagine that! I wonder how many other of His rules and regulations benefit man in the same kinds of ways?