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DAILY DEVOTIONS
 

  In more than three decades of my Christian life, I have been blest by 2 types of Daily devos' (matter not exceeding 500 words) in universal Christian literature. Not only those Devos' which have a different theme everyday but also the ones which revolve around a certain theme over a period of time, say a fortnight, have richly edified me. In fact, both styles have their own inherent advantages. If the former style caters to the varying spiritual needs of a christian from day-to-day, the latter aims 'to ground' a child of God in a certain subject in order he derives the full benefits of the deep insightful study of a certain topic, spread over a fixed span of time.

In my Daily devo page, I have consciously tried to go in for 'a blend of both the styles' whereby within a constant theme, I would be aiming to focus on different facets of it which admittedly is a closer imitation of the 'Constant theme' style than the 'Varying topics' one.

As the month of December coincides with the Christmas season, in this month I intend to dwell exclusively on all the topics revolving around Christmas using the visit of the Wise man described in Matthew 2 as the base.

Let me wish you a happy and an edifying read… oh yes-MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF US!

Suresh Manoharan




December 3rd

Solving the puzzle…



If a woman cannot afford to bring a lamb, ‘she must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons’. One will be for the burnt offering and the other for the purification offering. The priest will sacrifice them to purify her, and she will be ceremonially clean - Leviticus –12:8

Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the LORD.” So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord— “either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”Luke 2:24
 
  Dear Friends, would recall me promising to unravel, an apparent contrast in 2 of the Gospels, which presented a puzzle for us- refer also to the Daily Devo pertaining to 1st, Dec 2008. So here we go…

Firstly, we need to consider why a jumpy King Herod after being outwitted by the Wise men ‘sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were only two years old and under(Matt 2:16). The reason was the Wise men had told him that they had seen the ‘Special star’ 2 years earlier. Though wicked, this cruel King had got his assumption right that the Child-to-be King would have been 2 years by now! Well, there lies the secret, dear friend. Jesus was not a little infant lying in the manger when the Wise men came but rather, he was already 2 years of age, having been born the time the ‘Special star’ had appeared to the Wise men, 2 years earlier.

Consider also the beginning of verse 11 of the 2nd Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel which reads thus ‘On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh’. Note, nowhere it says that they came to the manger (for Jesus who was in the manger 2 years back, was no longer there!) but rather that they came to the house to worship him and offer him valuable gifts, which included gold.

Now lets have a re-look at the above-captioned scripture portions from Leviticus 12:8 and Luke 2:24. As a part of her purification sacrifice, did Mary offer a yearling lamb or a pair of turtledoves/pigeons? The latter, of course, as poor as she was, at that moment, could not afford a yearling lamb. So if the Wise man had already come and given all the gold by then, where was the need to offer the sacrifice, the poor normally offered. With all the riches’ in hand, could such a righteous woman as Mary, offer anything other than the best to her God, unless she was severely constrained! Would her conscience permit such an act? The answer is obvious, isn’t it? THE WISE MEN HAD NOT YET COME AT THAT TIME, WHEN JESUS’ PARENTS TOOK HIM TO JERUSALEM, FROM BETHLEHEM!

So dear friends, God’s Word is infallible. Neither of the Gospels is in error, rather only our minds skewed by errant interpretation borne out of tradition, are confused.

In our meditation tomorrow, we shall touch upon, the ‘only missing link’ in the chain of events, I have described above…the one of Jesus’ parents staying in Bethlehem, when the Wise men came. Were they not residents of the Galilean village of Nazareth in the northern part of Israel? So, what were they doing there? They had come there, 2 years back, at the time of Jesus’ birth as decreed by a Royal proclamation issued by Caesar Augustus that a census should taken in his realm, whereby everyone was required to return to their ancestral homes for registration. As Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea accompanied by his then pregnant fiancée Mary’ (Luke 2:4-6). The point is, ‘why did they stay back in Bethlehem, after the birth of Jesus’. We shall come to that, in our meditations, tomorrow.

Prayer:

Father, The Book inspired by Thee is inerrant and infallible. Grant us wisdom to understand it properly, in order we may teach others, properly from it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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