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The Bible In A Year: Day 31

Exodus 24-25
Psalm 27
Matthew 27

After receiving the Covenant Code in the previous chapters, Moses seals the people to the covenant with a sacrifice and with blood. This is what Jesus was directly referencing when he said “this is my blood of the covenant” in Matthew 26.

Christ’s death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”, and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the “blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”.

CCC 613

This covenantal sealing with blood has several different layers of meaning and significance. It is a symbol of the family ties of blood between God and his first born among the nations, Israel. It signifies the blessings that come with this bond, but it also signifies the curses and death that comes from breaking this covenant that they promise to abide by.

This ceremony also inaugurates them as a kingdom of priests, because you can see the similarities to the Levitical ordinations that take place later on when the levites take the role of priests after the golden calf incident.

God calls Moses up to the mountain and he leaves Aaron in charge at the camp. When Moses travels up the mountain he is fasting, we later learn in Numbers, and he spends a total of 40 days on the mountain. This is another touch point of similarity between our Lord and Moses.

Moses is then given instructions to take up a collection from the people for the purposes of building a tabernacle and the instruments inside it, including the The Ark of The Covenant . Notice the amount of finery and precious metals that go into the creation of these objects. Even today, sacred vessels on the altars of Catholic Churches around the world must be made of materials befitting the worship of almighty God.

The ark is the Church carried forth into the world. She is held aloft, not by poles that are covered with gold and fed into four rings, but by preachers of the four Gospels who shine like gold through the purity of their lives.

Saint Gregory the Great

After receiving these instructions he is told to build the tabernacle after the pattern he was shown on the mountain. It’s indicated in this and other scriptures that Moses was given a glimpse of heaven and so the tabernacle and the temple later built by Solomon was modeled after this vision.

The Tabernacle is a symbol of the Church and the present age, just as the Church, foreshadowing the celestial age, is a symbol of heaven itself.

Saint Methodius

Matthew 27

Judas realized what he had done and goes to the temple authorities to try and return the pitiful price he’d received for his treachery. They would not take it back so he throws it to the ground and runs out. Judas will go on to hang himself, but in the book of acts it says he burst open. These don’t necessarily need to be conflicting accounts of his death as he may have also cut himself open before hanging or many other possibilities, but the important this to note isn’t his manner of death, it’s that he have in to despair.

Peter also betrayed Jesus, not in such a treacherous way, but he denied even knowing him while warming by a fire, at the same time his master was being beaten in a cold dungeon. But Peter sought forgiveness for his sins, while Judas thought he could never be forgiven. And In the end, refusing to seek forgiveness is the only thing that will prevent our reconciliation with God.

The narrative shifts back to Jesus from Judas, and he is standing before Pontius Pilate who is the Roman procurator of Judea. Pilate was not a good man, he knew the charges against the man before him were baseless, but he also hesitates to release Jesus because of how powerful his enemies were.

He asks Jesus if he is “the king of the Jews” but he only replies “you have said so.” Interestingly, only Pilate and the Magi ever called Jesus “king of the Jews” and both were gentiles. His own people never recognized him by that title, but people not a part of the covenant did.

Because it was Passover, Pilate had a tradition of releasing any one prisoner the wanted to see released. He offers them a man called Barabbas, a name that meaning “son of the father,” or he offered to release “Jesus who is called Christ.” (See What Jesus Do You Follow? For more on Barabbas)

Adding on the title of Christ was some added needling towards the Jewish authorities by Pilate. He was calling him both a king and messiah. Their mind’s were made up, but teasing didn’t help the situation at all, and so when they cried “crucify him” I don’t know why he seemed surprised.

He washes his hands in an attempt to wash any guilt from this unjust execution away, but it’s no use. Starting with the Apostles Creed and continuing on through the Nicene Creed, Christians have said his name and associate it with the brutal death of our Lord. They take him away and the soldiers beat and mock him, repeating the epitaph given to him by Pilate. They put a scarlet robe on him, a sign of royalty, and weave a crown made of thorns to place on his head, and then they begin the march to the place of execution.

While on the cross, Jesus speaks seven phrases (The Seven Last Words of Christ) that are recorded across the four gospels. Only one phrase is recorded in this gospel, and that is when Jesus quoted Psalm 22. It then says he cried in a loud voice and died.

At that moment, the veil of the temple tears in two, signaling an end to the old covenant economy of salvation. Now the new covenant has been consummated with the sacrifice completed.

Jesus is taken from the cross and laid in a tomb belonging to a rich man who according to Luke was a member of the Sanhedrin. The Jewish authorities remembered Jesus saying he’d rise from the grave, which is funny because it seems like his own disciples didn’t remember that key fact, and so they requested a guard be put at the tomb so that his followers couldn’t steal the body and claim he rose. The chapter ends with Pilate granting their request and placing the guard.

Tomorrow’s reading:
Exodus 26-27
Psalm 28
Matthew 28

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