Passover in the desert…and with young Jesus in Jerusalem

19 03 2011

DAY SEVENTY-EIGHT : Numbers 7 v. 66 – 9 v. 14; Luke 2 v. 41 – 52; Psalm 35 v. 11 – 18

More offerings
DAY TEN – Ahiezer, the leader of the Dan clan, brought the set offerings
DAY ELEVEN – Pagiel, the leader of the Asher clan, brought the same
DAY TWELVE – Ahira, the leader of the Naphtali clan, completed the set, and brought the same
All the offerings are completed for the consecration of the altar.
God’s voice is heard by Moses coming from between the cherubim positioned over the Ark of the Testimony.

Setting up the Lamps – the seven lamps are positioned to light up the whole lampstand (seven being a very significant number for the Israelites). The light itself representing God’s presence.

Consecrating the Levites – they are separated out and made ceremonially clean : sprinkled with the ‘water of cleansing’; shaved all over; garments washed. All clean !!
A sin offering is made; the Levites gather in front of the tent, and the Israelites lay hands on them. In this way, they are presented before the Lord to do His work. The Levites are like everyone else in their need for God’s grace, through the act of atonement.
The Levites lay hands on the bulls, one for a sin offering, one for a burnt offering.
Once purified, they begin their work at the Tent.
“They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me… my own in place of the firstborn.”
Every male Levite, twenty-five years or over, is employed in the Tent, until the age of fifty (retirement).

The Passover – probably around this time, sometime between mid-March to mid-April, the first month would be marked as a month of sacrifice. The Passover was first celebrated in the desert of Sinai, in the second year of the exodus. As the final thing before setting out from Sinai, with the tabernacle all prepared, the Israelites require this deeply moving reminder of God’s miraculous work freeing the Israelites from slavery.
There are some who are unable to celebrate the Passover with the others because of their contact with a dead body, making them unclean. When they ask if they may still sacrifice, Moses’ answer is an encouragement to me,
“Wait until I find out what the Lord commands concerning you.”
Sometimes, the answer is ‘wait’.
When the answer does come, God has allowed ALL to be included in the Passover Meal reminder, whether unclean, or even ‘away on a journey’, whether ‘alien’ or ‘native-born’. You can celebrate Passover anywhere.
Anyone who fails to celebrate Passover at the appointed time will be cut off from the community. 

Love the sense that the Passover is a meal to include everyone, and that it is such an important part of being one of God’s people, that you risk being put out of the community for missing it.


Jesus, the Boy, at the Temple – this is a great story, the only one in which we have a glimpse of Jesus as a boy. Again, the setting is the Passover festival – such a key point in the life of Israel. At twelve years old, Jesus is old enough to be accepted into the community.

‘The boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem’ – Jesus seemed strangely ‘at home’ amongst the set up in the temple. Time slipped Him by, and His parents are well on their way home before they realise He’s not with them. How scary for them as parents. Three whole days from start to finish separated from their precious Son.
Who had been looking after Jesus overnight ? Was He being cared for in the temple or elsewhere ? Guess we’ll never know.
Jesus is sitting with the teachers, listening and asking questions.
“Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers.”

Note that Mary asks Jesus why He’s not shown greater care for her and His father (Joseph). Jesus replies saying that He had to be in His Father’s house.
Not sure how they could not ‘understand what He was saying to them’ (seems pretty clear to me)? Except that they must have been overwhelmed with anxiety and panic.  
Relieved, they take Him back with them to Nazareth, where I’m sure He’s ‘learnt His lesson’, and is very obedient to them.
Mary is storing all this up, remembering where it all began.
Jesus continues to grow in strength and wisdom, ‘in favour with God and men’. Sounds good!

Why do we know so little about Jesus in His growing years. What was He like as a child, as a teenager, as a young adult ?
Astonishing that His ministry only accounts for three years of His life. You might imagine all sorts of stories doing the rounds, but we simply have nothing.
A normal upbringing, apprenticeship with father, Joseph, the carpenter ?

the psalmist knows that he has been slandered, falsely accused
“They repay me evil for good….they slandered me without ceasing….they maliciously mocked….
Lord, rescue me from their ravages,
and I will give you thanks in the great assembly…”




One response

19 03 2011

fascinating insight into the culture in view of Mary and Joseph being ‘well on their way home’ before they realised Jesus wasn’t with them! Lots of people? Assumptions he was with other members of family?….

end comments re slander……..causes for such practice? Isn’t there enough drama to pass on without adding extras or leaving key/boring points out or totally twisting the whole story from fantasy island?(or does that constitute gossip?)…mmmmmm! Would rather watch Miranda and have a Mars bar personally!

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