Daily Guide to Your Best Life Month 6
As westerners living in this century, we often miss a lot of meaning of Jesus’ life that was obvious to the Jews.This month, we go through a lot of the imagery involved in Jesus’ crucifixion. Through this, we understand so much more of what different things meant, such as blood and water, the folded face cloth and the dirty Roman sponge. You may be surprised by what this last item was used for in the general sense. Then we go on to look at some of the imagery of the resurrection.Most of these items have an obvious meaning and a deeper meaning. Searching out these meanings gives us a clearer picture of what our Lord continually does for us, and encourages us to live out the life He has planned for each one.Have you ever spoken to someone of another belief system that says, ‘There’s nothing to back up the Bible. Men wrote it. In my religion....’. After reading this devotional we will know how to answer those types of comments.
The Mourning Act
Jesus wants to deliver us from this situation of always having to be ‘right’. Let me set you free. In the stories of the expensive perfume that we looked at in last month’s devotionals, Jesus tended to come to the help of those being attacked by religious people. It was customary in Jesus’ day that when someone came to your home, you did two things; One: you provided a bowl of water to wash their feet, because the roads was dusty and their main mode of transport was walking. Their feet would have been nasty before being washed.
Two: They would give a drop of perfume to cover the body odors from the long walk. However, what was dispersed for Jesus was not regular perfume, it was pure nard. The sages and the rabbis made rules about the use of pure nard. It was reserved for kings and royalty. Common people were not to use nard as a celebration for an ordinary person. So their objection was proper inside the Jewish Law. Everybody understood this. You could not use nard for rejoicing, but you could use it for mourning.
Jesus was saying, ‘She is not rejoicing over me, she is preparing my body for burial.’ This is a mourning act, not a rejoicing act. Jesus defends her by simply saying, ‘I know what the law says, I know the law of the land. She is mourning me, not celebrating me. The action by the woman was firstly to rub the ointment on His feet, the second was to pour it over His head. Bearing this in mind, let’s take a look at the Passover lamb.
These were selected six days before Passover so that the lambs could be inspected for five days. The number five is hugely significant. Five represents the loving kindness of God that protects us in our weakness. The number four speaks of man’s weakness; the Torah has five books, the sum of a loving God towards a weak world. Abraham’s name was originally four letters, when God touched him he added a fifth letter to show the strength of God. David took five stones, the ministry described in the New Testament is a fivefold ministry and when Israel left Egypt they left in ranks of five.
Five is the number of divine strength; five days passed between Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and His death. This was a five day examination, the same time for the examination of the Passover lambs.
Once they were chosen, the first thing that would happen was that they would anoint the lamb’s feet to show they had been inspected and were free from any blemish on the ankles. Where the lambs pastured was rough and rocky and it was unusual to find a lamb without nicks and sores on their feet, so when they found one it was a very special lamb. They would pick the lamb up and anoint its feet with oil to show that this particular lamb has been inspected and no blemishes were found. Therefore, if Jesus was the Lamb of God, six days beforehand He would have had to be inspected and had His feet anointed to show there were no blemishes found in Him.
To all who were critical of the woman anointing His feet, Jesus was saying, ‘This is the same process as that of a Passover lamb, and I have no blemishes.’ Everybody present would have been absolutely clear of the message. They had Passover every year and this examination was known to everyone.
The Bible is a fascinating book, full of layers within layers. Our Creator laid down the content of the Bible in such a way as to teach us hidden insights when we search them out.