The people respond to Moses call for donations to build the tabernacle, make the sacred tools and furniture, and the priestly garments with such generosity that Moses has to call off any more donations for the construction.
The rest of chapters 36-38 is the carrying out of the building instructions given earlier. Lots of attention is paid to even the smallest detail. A couple of things that this brings to mind; one is that no detail is too small to matter to God. He cares about everything in his creation. The second is that when obeying a directive from God, it’s important to follow it down to every detail. We don’t get instructions from the Lord and then just kind of wing it and partial follow what he told us to do.
I usually don’t make many comments on the psalm reading for the day, because they’re usually short and to the point without much comment needed. This one though is special to me. A few years back I went to confession one day and the priest gave me this psalm to meditate on, and the prayer of absolution is usually enough to bring tears to my eyes, but this was the straw the broke the camel’s back. It is such a beautiful psalm of joy because he was forgiven, and it reminds me to be thankful for the gift we have received every time I go to confession.
In this episode where Jesus heals the man with a withered hand, he first asks the Pharisees present of its lawful to save a life or do good works on the sabbath day. They refuse to answer because they are trying to entrap him. He is angered at their silence because the point of the sabbath was to mandate a day of rest from work and a day to worship God, but they’ve changed it to be a day of rest from all activities. Even today when the church tells us that Sunday should be a day of rest, it doesn’t preclude work if absolutely necessary, or doing works of mercy like handing out coats to the homeless or visiting the sick. Doing works of mercy is always permitted, because as Jesus said “man was not created for the sabbath, sabbath was created for man.”
They don’t even seem to entertain the idea that this person who has the power to heal a withered hand, right in front of them, might be a person to listen to. They’re so blinded by their positions, and so stubborn like their ancestors at Sinai, that they don’t care that he’s performing miracles, all that is important is their rules.
Their desire to see this wonder worker destroyed is so great that they begin working with another political group called the Herodians. These two groups are diametrically opposed to each other, but both recognized that Jesus was a threat to the power structure that they currently both benefit from. So they join forces in a Machiavellian way.
Later on the scribes from Jerusalem, who were not necessarily priests, but were experts in the law, kind of like religious lawyers, came and accused Jesus of casting out demons because he was possessed by satan himself. Jesus points out how ludicrous this idea is, because why would satan want to exercise the demons from a person possessed? Once again they see something that doesn’t immediately make sense and so they decide it’s a threat to the current order. In their defense though, Jesus absolutely was a threat to the current order.
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