DAY FIFTY-SIX : Exodus 37 v. 1 – 38 v. 31; Mark 8 v. 14 – 9 v. 1; Proverbs 6 v. 1 – 11
The Ark – this is Bezalel’s pride and joy, the gilded acacia wood ark with its atonement cover, just as God instructed.
The Table – the other skilled workers helped make the table out of gilded acacia wood, and all the plates, bowls etc (of pure gold) just as God instructed.
The Lampstand – the skilled workers made the pure gold lampstand, with its branches and flowers, buds and blossom design, all from ‘one talent of gold’, just as God instructed.
The Incense Altar – the skilled workmen made the gold covered acacia wood altar, and followed the recipes for the anointing oil and incense, just as God instructed.
The Burnt Offering Altar – the skilled workmen made the bronze covered acacia wood altar, with its bronze grating, just as God instructed.
The Basin – the skilled workmen made the bronze basin and stand (out of the women’s mirrors – a little detail added…why?), just as God instructed.
The Courtyard – the skilled workmen made the courtyard silver covered posts, bronze bases, silver hooks and curtains (the entrance to the courtyard is on the east side, where the sun rises), and lots of bronze tent pegs, just as God instructed.
The Materials – there’s an inventory of the materials used to build the tabernacle (the inventory was created by Aaron’s son, Ithamar).
GOLD – 29 talents and 730 shekels (collected from the wave offering)
SILVER – 100 talents and 1,775 shekels (collected from the 1/2 shekel community tax per person – 603,550 men, who crossed the Red Sea)
BRONZE – 70 talents and 2,400 shekels (collected from the wave offering)
What an amazing offering, (one estimate is that if a talent is approx. 34kg, and a shekel is approx. 12g, then we’re talking 996kg of gold, 3,425kg of silver and 2,411kg of bronze) and an amazing piece of work – all just as God instructed. \
The Yeast of the Pharisees – this is so beautifully cryptic of Jesus, almost teasing the disciples for their slowness to learn. He wants them to understand, by either working out for themselves, or some divine revelation, what the ‘twelve baskets’ or ‘seven baskets’ of leftovers represent, or what the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod means. Jesus is trying to teach them here that just as good yeast permeates a batch of dough, so bad yeast (bad teaching, bad attitude, bad character) permeates a person, even a community of people, but the disciples haven’t made that link, yet.
Great human touch that they’ve forgotten to bring the bread for the journey…..Jesus is dealing with raw material here, and it’s so encouraging to us, that the disciples don’t ‘get it’ all at once, they’re on a journey of discovery (and Jesus is their bread for the journey!).
At Bethsaida – Jesus heals a blind man, taking him to one side, away from the crowd, using His spit again, and placing His hands on the man. Jesus draws the man into the healing process by asking him what he sees ? The man is beginning to make out figures, like trees walking. Another touch from Jesus restores his sight completely. Jesus sends the man home by another route (not through the village).
Peter’s greatest day – en route to Caesarea Philippi (north of Galilee), the disciples talk with Jesus about what they’ve heard people say about Him – some liken Him to John the Baptist or Elijah (come back to life) or to one of the prophets. Peter gets to speak on behalf of them all, when he responds to Jesus’ question (which echoes down the ages to us), “Who do you say I am?”
“The Christ / the Messiah” comes the reply.
Peter’s worst day – Peter might have expected a pat on the back from Jesus, and certainly would not have expected Jesus, then, to teach that this Messiah-Christ will suffer and die at the hands of the religious powers, but rise again. When Peter takes Jesus to one side to ‘rebuke’ Him for such talk. Jesus recognises, again, this temptation which plagued Him in the wilderness and will follow Him constantly (‘it doesn’t have to be this way – you could have it all without enduring the suffering’), and hears the words of Satan himself in Peter’s tone.
How hard for Peter to hear Jesus’ words, “Get behind me, Satan” – and criticizes Peter for having a human, rather than a divine, perspective on it all.
Yet, Jesus knows there’s a God-given plan for His life, and He will follow it through, just as God instructed….
Oh, the highs and lows of the spiritual journey. Peter had it all in one day! I think we all learn to pray for protection after a spiritual high – there’s an attack imminent, and a potential low!
As in Matthew’s gospel, we get the teaching about surrendering all of life (‘give up life for Jesus’) to gain real life, even eternal life, to take up the cross (symbol of execution, showing the laying down of the whole of one’s life, for the sake of following Jesus).