He was Called Jesus (Part One)

Baptism of Jesus

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Jesus means “God saves”. Jesus was not the first person in the Bible to have that name.  Joshua is spelled the same way in Hebrew.  Joshua’s story is very interesting when compared to Jesus’ life.

Joshua was a loyal aide to Moses. He was sent to reconnoiter the Promised Land with eleven other scouts. Only he and Caleb had the necessary faith in God to encourage the people to enter the Promised Land.  The other ten spies filled the Israelites with fear and doubt about God’s intentions toward them.  As a result, the people refused to enter the Promised Land. So, they were sentenced to 40 years of wandering in the desert. Only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter the Promised Land because of their faith.

Moses was also barred from entering the Promised Land because of a small sin that is debated as to what it was exactly.  The underlying reason I believe is that Moses represented the Law and the Old Covenant.  Following it would not be sufficient for entering the Promised Land of heaven.  For entering the physical land the people needed Joshua; for entering the True Promised Land of Heaven we need Jesus.

When it came time for the people to enter the Promised Land, Joshua had the priests bring the Ark of the Covenant into the waters of the Jordan.  When they did this the waters stopped and were backed up as far as the town of Adam.  The people crossed over on dry land just like at the Red Sea.

Centuries later, Jesus stood in that same place with John the Baptist.  John was a direct descendant of Aaron the High Priest.  John baptized Jesus in these same waters and the heavens (the Promised Land) opened. The effect of Christ’s sacrifice had an impact all the way back to Adam, the first sinner.

In Joshua’s day, all of the Israelites had to pass through the Jordan to reach the Promised Land.  Christians enter Heaven through the waters of Baptism.

#trcot #tcot #Jesus #Joshua #Baptism

Referenced Scriptures: Luke2:21, Numbers 13-14, Joshua 3, Luke 3:21-22

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Joseph – Most Chaste Spouse

Wooden Statue of Saint Joseph
HAACHT, BELGIUM – MAY 30, 2015: Wooden Statue of Saint Joseph in the Church of Haacht, Belgium.

Not many people know why St. Joseph is always shown with a flowering branch in his hand.  It ties into his marriage to Mary, and to a couple of Old Testament stories.

Back when the Israelites were in the desert, a rebellion arose among the people.  They thought that Moses, Aaron and the Levites were lording it over everybody. The other tribes had as much a right to lead and to tend to the Ark of the Covenant as Moses and Erin did.  Everybody was holy!  It led to the earth opening up and swallowing the rebels.

The Lord told Moses to have the princes of all the tribes bring their rods with their names carved on it and place them before the tabernacle.  The next morning Aaron’s rod had not only blossomed but had produced nuts.  This rod was then kept in the Ark of the Covenant as a sign of Aaron’s high priesthood.

There is a traditional story about Mary. When girls who were pledged to the temple approached womanhood they were to be given in marriage.  They could not continue to serve because a woman’s monthly cycle would render her unclean and the priests did not want the Temple to be accidentally defiled.  Mary objected to being married because she said that she had made a vow to God of perpetual virginity. So the priests of the Temple asked the descendants of David if anyone would be willing to be her betrothed protector. A number of men including Joseph agreed and they were asked to give their rods.  Joseph’s rod bloomed and a dove flew from it.  So Joseph became the betrothed of Mary.

This story is found no where in the gospel nor is it necessary to believe it to be true. However, it is interesting that the author was tying Joseph to the protector of the original Ark of the Covenant.  That Ark was considered so sacred to God that even the priests were not allowed to touch it.  There were rings on the side of it through which poles were placed. It was then carried by those poles from place to place.

There came a time during the time of Samuel, when men lost respect for the Ark and it was taken from Israel.  Later it was miraculously returned!  David had his soldiers try to bring it to Jerusalem on an oxcart but it started to tip.  Uzzah reached out his hand to steady it and died because he had touched the Sacred Ark.  David was afraid and said, “How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?” The Ark stayed for three months in the house of Obed-e-dom in the hill country around Jerusalem. The household was blessed, so David thought that it was safe to try again. This time he brought the priests who carried it and offered sacrifices every few steps.  David danced before the Ark and praised God mightily.

Many have compared that scene to Mary visiting the house of Elizabeth and Zechariah in the hill country around Jerusalem for three months.  Elizabeth’s exclamation and John’s reaction also correlated with David’s behavior.

Mary’s body is more sacred than the original Ark because she held the actual member of the Trinity not just symbols of Him. She was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit not just the glory of the Lord. What is sacred to the Lord belongs entirely to Him. To treat something sacred as ordinary would profane it.  Joseph was like Aaron of old–the guardian and protector of the Ark and the Glory of God within.

Jesus’ discourse at the Last Supper was in many ways marital.  I am in you and you are in me. He spoke of oneness with Him.  Joseph and Mary’s marriage can be compared our own walk with Jesus on this earth.  It is close, personal, and with a deep level of unity. Yet, it remains in many ways unconsummated until we reach the glory of heaven and achieve perfect unity with God. When we take within ourselves His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist, it is as close to a marital act with God as we get in this life. Yet, it is a pale shadow of the joys to come in heaven.

#trcot #tcot #Joseph Most Chaste Spouse #Perpetual Virginity #Mary #Ark of the Covenant

Reference scriptures Numbers 16 & 17, 2 Samuel 6, Luke 1:39-56 John 14:20

Zechariah — the Priestly Prophet

Jerusalem - birth of st. John the Baptist scene on windowpane in st. George a church

There was a period of prophetic silence in Israel. The major prophets had come before the Exile and some of the minor prophets came soon after the exile. Israel was crumbling. It was an occupied territory, but the prophets were as silent as Zechariah.

During Zechariah’s silence, he had time to ponder Gabriel’s message to him, his doubt and his own son’s destiny.  Then he witnessed but could not comment upon the wonder of the Visitation.  He pondered the meaning of Mary’s pregnancy.  When the time came for him to confirm Gabriel’s message by affirming that the child’s name was John, it was like a dam broke and the words bottled up inside him spewed forth.

His prophecy is believed to be in two parts. The first was directed at Mary, who had surely stayed for the birth, and Jesus within her womb. Picture him looking at her almost trembling as he says,

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people,

and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,

as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,

that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us;

to perform the mercy promised to our fathers,

and to remember his holy covenant,

the oath which he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we,

being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,

in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.

Zechariah was excited he knew that the promised Messiah was here within that womb.  The ages of waiting for the promised one was over.  Israel wasn’t forgotten in its misery.  Then Zechariah looked down at the child in his arms.

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;

for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,

through the tender mercy of our God,

when the day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in

darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

In the tradition of Samuel and Jeremiah, Israel had a priestly-prophet again. You may think that Zechariah was given the gift of prophecy because he was a godly man, but there was another priest-prophet who was anything but godly.  John tells us that prophecy was given him because he was the high priest.

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.”  He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

God worked through his priests even the ones who were out to destroy Jesus to accomplish the plan of salvation. These men chose of their own free will to do evil, but God used their choices to accomplish His good.

 

Referenced scriptures: Luke 1:67-79, John 11:49-52

#trcot #tcot #Zechariah #John the Baptist

 

 

How to Greet a King

Antwerp - The Visitation of Virgin Mary to Elizabeth by Francken
ANTWERP, BELGIUM – SEPTEMBER 5, 2013: The Visitation of Virgin Mary to Elizabeth by Frans Francken (1581 – 1642) in Saint Pauls church (Paulskerk)

Today’s post will discuss Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary, but we have a couple of biblical stops along the way until we get to her.  First we have to go way back to the first Son of David to assume the throne, Solomon!

David had promised the throne to his son Solomon, but the oldest son Adonijah thought it should go to him.  David was old and frail, so Adonijah tried to pull a fast one.  He gathered his followers among the priests, the military and all of the other sons of David and held a large feast to celebrate his becoming King.  Only Bathsheba Solomon’s mother, Zadok the high priest, Nathan the prophet  and a servant named Benaiah remained loyal to David and Solomon.  They warned David as to what was happening.

This is what David decided to do: Solomon was to ride the King David’s ass, and enter the city with David, the high priest Zadok, and the prophet Nathan who would proclaim Solomon King.  The whole city broke out in a tumult of celebration. David bowed himself upon his bed and proclaimed, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who has granted one of my offspring to sit on the throne this day, my own eyes seeing it..”

This scene should sound very familiar to you, because it is similar to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  This entry was really about the Messiah, the Promised Son of David coming to Jerusalem to be crowned. Only we know it was a crown of thorns not the earthly crown He was after.  Listen to what the people cried out. “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” This was the way you greeted a king.

After Solomon became king he set up a throne for his mother beside him. Thereafter in Judah, the queen mothers would sit beside their sons as queens and intercede for the people.  Unless it was something detrimental to his own throne, the king would refuse his mother nothing.  It was a very powerful position.

Now we can finally listen to Elizabeth’s prophetic words:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

The Son of David and His mother had arrived.  The world didn’t know it but the Holy Spirit allowed for a proper greeting for the new king.  The people to greet Him and proclaim Him “my Lord” with Mary being “Mother of my Lord” were the prophet Elizabeth and the priestly John celebrating within her womb.

Oh that we would greet the Lord in that way.  Shouting blessings and being filled with joy. It doesn’t have to be every time or every day.  Being reverent is important too but sometimes we should greet Him in a manner worthy of a King. Those in the Catholic Charismatic movement excel at this.

Referenced Scriptures 1 Kings 1-2;19, Luke 19:28-40, Luke 1

#Elizabeth’s greeting #Visitation #trcot #tcot #Solomon #Son of David #Mary

Was the Visitation Part of God’s Plan to Restore Israel?

Antwerp - The Visitation of Virgin Mary to Elizabeth by Francken
ANTWERP, BELGIUM – SEPTEMBER 5, 2013: The Visitation of Virgin Mary to Elizabeth by Frans Francken (1581 – 1642) in Saint Pauls church (Paulskerk)

What had made Israel a holy nation during the rule of Kings David and Solomon were four things: the Ark of the Covenant, the Temple, the Aaronic priesthood, and the kingly line of David. By the time Jesus was conceived, the Ark of the Covenant had been lost around the time of the Exile, the Temple had been destroyed, rebuilt, and then desecrated by the Greeks and later Pompeii. The high priesthood had become a political appointment and King Herod who wasn’t even Jewish ruled Israel for the Romans.

When the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, God restored the Ark of the Covenant to Israel.  Instead of the Ten Commandments, Mary held within her the Word of God made flesh.  Instead of manna, she had the Bread of Life, and instead of the Aaron’s rod, she held the Eternal High Priest.

When Mary went to the house of Zechariah, she was visiting the priestly descendants of Aaron.  Both Zechariah and Elizabeth had descended from him.  Then the Holy Spirit fell upon John.  He would fulfill the role of his forefather Aaron by assisting Jesus, the new Moses, in freeing Israel from its slavery to sin.  The Visitation restored the Aaronic priesthood to Israel.

The Nativity restored the kingship of David and the Presentation returned the presence of God to the Temple. Before Jesus was even two months old, He had restored everything to Israel that made it holy.

When Jesus died the high priests had offered up the spotless lamb fulfilling their duties while betraying their God.  They had rejected the Son of David as King over Israel instead naming Caesar as their king.  The temple of Christ’s body was destroyed and the new ark of the covenant was a tomb.

Then came the Resurrection and the tomb was opened. The two angels that had adorned the top of the original one were now real and sitting on either end of the slab.  Their news was that the one you are seeking is not here but has risen from the dead.  The Ark was empty. Now, there are no containers separating us from our God!

Next, Jesus sent Mary Magdalene, not a pure virgin but a redeemed sinner, to the priests of the New Covenant–the Apostles.  The Ascension restored the eternal kingship of the Son of David and Pentecost created the new Temple using believers as living stones.  Jesus restored all things, fulfilled all things, then brought them to their eternal purposes.

#Visitation #Mary #Ark of the Covenant #Ark of the New Covenant #High Priesthood #Temple #trcot #tcot