This stewardship image, containing John Wesley’s words, seemed appropriate given the OT readings relating the offerings all the Israelites brought for the making of the Tabernacle – the bringing of the first-fruits…giving the very best.
The remaining chapters of Exodus outline the building of the tabernacle….
EXODUS 35 – again, Moses reminds the Israelites about the importance of the Sabbath;
Materials for the Tabernacle – Moses repeats God’s instructions about everyone contributing to the offering for the Tabernacle (gold, silver, bronze, yarns and linens, spices, fragrances etc.); there’s a call for skilled people to offer their talents (a complete list of all the items needed to be made is given).
The Israelites left Moses, and “everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the Tent of Meeting…” – everything is brought as a wave-offering; “all the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work…”
Bezalel and Oholiab – the Israelites are told that Bezalel has been filled with the Spirit for the work (skill, ability, knowledge in all kinds of crafts); both Bezalel and Oholiab have been given the ability to teach others;
EXODUS 36 –
Moses summons Bezalel and Oholiab and all the craftsmen/women and gives them all the offerings (more offerings were brought daily – until no more is needed and the word has to go out – ‘please do not bring more – we’ve got enough!!’)
The Tabernacle – the workmen follow the instructions given for making the ten curtains and gold clasps, eleven curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle and bronze clasps, the ram-skins and sea-cow hides for coverings; the upright frames (acacia wood and silver bases), the crossbars (acacia wood overlaid with gold, and gold rings), the multicoloured curtain – everything just as they had been instructed.
Healing of a deaf and mute man – Jesus returns to the Galilee region, and is brought a deaf and mute man for healing; strange sight to be sure: Jesus sticking His fingers in the man’s ear and using His spit on the man’s tongue – but, hey, if it works !!
Even with our weakness and sickness, we may need to humble ourselves before the master, and let Him do things His way !
Jesus looks heavenward, and sighs deeply – Jesus acknowledges His close walk with the Father, and groans with compassion for the man.
Jesus says “Ephphatha” (‘Be opened’) – just as with Jairus’ daughter (5 v. 41), Jesus speaks in the needy person’s Aramaic language.
Again, as much as Jesus asks them to be quiet about it, they can’t help but tell their story and spread the news. Is this reverse psychology at work ?
Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand – in this further feeding of a multitude (with the number seven featuring prominently – seven loaves and seven basketfuls of left-overs), Jesus again involves the disciples (it appears to be as much a learning / discipling opportunity for them as anything), as they witness and participate in God’s miraculous provision for many people through the breaking of bread…..
This marks the end of Jesus’ ministry around Galilee – tomorrow’s readings have Him moving off further afield – and He leaves the Pharisees still wanting more ‘miraculous signs’ (there have been so many in the first eight chapters of Mark – Jesus is like a Superhero, ‘immediately’ going here, there and everywhere); the Pharisees will never believe, Jesus says as He goes.
Guard my life and rescue me…for I take refuge in You.
May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in You.”