Jots and Tittles: A Closer Look at a Little Bit of Hebrew

After the cold, dark months of Winter, the first flowers that peep out from the frosty ground are welcomed as a sign that warmer weather is on its way. The season of Spring is named for the action of plants appearing and shooting up from the earth. Of course, it’s not just vegetation that springs out but so do animals as they sense the change and venture out of their burrows with leaps and bounds.

Pesach, the Passover, doesn’t mean Spring (the season), although that’s the time of year it occurs in the northern hemisphere. But it does mean spring (the action) or leap or bound. Still if you do remember that the Passover occurs in Spring, it will help you remember what Pesach means.

The first Pesach goes back to the days when the people of Israel were slaves in Egypt. It marked the turning point in their history—the night before they were given their freedom. The Lord told them to keep this feast:

‘This month is to be for you the first month… Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household… Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast… Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover. On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.’

Exodus 12:1–13 NIV

According to the calendar reckoning of the Jewish people, this year (from 27 March to 4 April) will be the 3333rd time the Pesach has been celebrated; not counting that first inaugural night. But about 1987 years ago (give or take a year or so), Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of the first Pesach as He became our Passover Lamb.

Paul wrote: ‘Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.’

1 Corinthians 5:7 NIV

And by that Paul meant that the death of Jesus fulfils God’s ancient and never-withdrawn promise: ‘I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you.’

If you haven’t put your trust in Jesus as the Passover Lamb whose blood brings you freedom and rescues you from slavery to sin, then check out vision180.org.au/you-need-jesus/ right away.

 

Battle

‘If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!’ 1 Corinthians 15:17

Back in 2013, Fox News reported that an exercise in a university textbook involved instructing students to write the name of Jesus on a sheet of paper, putting the paper on the floor, and stomping on it. In one Florida university class, all the students participated—except one! Out of love and loyalty to Jesus, he wouldn’t do it.

This leads us to ask the question, ‘Why would anyone, even an atheist, agree to do such a thing?’ Answer: because sometimes we fight what we fear. It’s called ‘living in denial’. Think about it: hatred and resentment normally end at the grave because the person is dead and no longer has any power over us.

So why then do some people still hate Jesus? Fear! Deep down they fear He’s alive and that His influence in the world is growing. And His influence will continue to grow!

‘The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.’ (Isaiah 11:9 NKJV) The historical truth of Christ’s resurrection is beyond dispute to any honest, open mind. But the greatest proof of His resurrection can be seen in changed lives. Paul writes: ‘You have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by the same Spirit living within you.’ (Romans 8:10–11 NLT)

Songwriter Alfred Ackley put it this way: ‘You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.’

SoulFood: Num 21:4–9, Matt 27:51–66, Ps 69:7–21, Deut 21:22–23

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021

Today’s Readings

Numbers 21:4–9

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

Matthew 27:51–66

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

55 There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

Psalm 69:7–21

  For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
    that dishonor has covered my face.
  I have become a stranger to my brothers,
    an alien to my mother’s sons.
  For zeal for your house has consumed me,
    and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
10   When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting,
    it became my reproach.
11   When I made sackcloth my clothing,
    I became a byword to them.
12   I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
    and the drunkards make songs about me.
13   But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD.
    At an acceptable time, O God,
    in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
14   Deliver me
    from sinking in the mire;
  let me be delivered from my enemies
    and from the deep waters.
15   Let not the flood sweep over me,
    or the deep swallow me up,
    or the pit close its mouth over me.
16   Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good;
    according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
17   Hide not your face from your servant,
    for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
18   Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
    ransom me because of my enemies!
19   You know my reproach,
    and my shame and my dishonor;
    my foes are all known to you.
20   Reproaches have broken my heart,
    so that I am in despair.
  I looked for pity, but there was none,
    and for comforters, but I found none.
21   They gave me poison for food,
    and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.

Deuteronomy 21:22–23

22 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.

Sat 03 April, 2021


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