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WELCOMING THE MESSIAH

Read­ing Time: 2 minutes

Introduction

Today is the last Sunday of Advent. Con­sequently, it is the last week before the Christ­mas cel­eb­ra­tions.  Since Christ-mass con­cerns the birth of Jesus, the choice of this Sunday Gos­pel is appro­pri­ate. The read­er is presen­ted with the mys­tery of the con­cep­tion of Jesus, whose birth will be cel­eb­rated next week Sunday, that is, on Christ­mas day. 

Mary’s Presumed Unfaithfulness

As stated above, accord­ing to the Hebrew Bible and in keep­ing to Jew­ish cul­ture, the Jew­ish weed­ing was pre­ceded by a peri­od of engage­ment called Erussìn (bond) or Qid­dushìn (Sanc­ti­fic­a­tion) in Hebrew. Dur­ing this peri­od of engage­ment, the groom tied to him­self the future bride, and thus, pro­hib­ited her from know­ing any oth­er man. After pay­ing the dowry, the bride returned to her par­ents’ house and was not allowed in any way to be with the fiancé until the day of the weed­ing (Hebrew: Nis­suìn). It was with­in this peri­od of engage­ment that Mary took in. That is, after the Erussìn or Qid­dushìn and before the Nis­suìn, Mary became preg­nant. This is why Mat­thew 1:18 says “when Mary had been espoused to Joseph, but before they lived togeth­er, she was found to be with child….” How man­age? In the Jew­ish tra­di­tion, this was a ser­i­ous offence pun­ish­able by law. The pun­ish­ment was pub­lic ston­ing. The same Pro­to­evan­geli­um cited above sus­tains that this incid­ent took place while Joseph was away for out­side work since he was a wood­work­er. At this point, we need to reflect on the expres­sion “but before they lived togeth­er.” What is the meaning?

Conclusion – Immanu’El

The entire psalm is built on the assur­ance that the Lord will nev­er for­sake his own people and in fact, the entire cre­ation. Even if par­ents should for­sake their child or chil­dren, Adonai will not for­sake His own chil­dren (cf. Ps 27:10). This same theo­lo­gic­al cer­tainty runs through the entire Scrip­ture includ­ing the Gos­pels. The proph­ecy of Isai­ah that the child to be born by the vir­gin shall be called Immanu’El, that is, God-with-us, is a fur­ther illus­tra­tion of Scrip­tur­al hope that God is always in the midst of His people. As the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews explained “in times past, God spoke in vari­ous and many ways to our ancest­ors through the proph­ets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he cre­ated the uni­verse, who is the radi­ance of his glory, imprint of his being, and who sus­tains all things by his mighty word” (Heb 1:1–3). Jesus is the Immanu’El. He is the God-with-us. As the angel said, the mis­sion of Immanu’El is to lib­er­ate people from their sins. Again, as the psalm­ist explained, only those whose hands are clean; whose hearts are pure; and who have not giv­en their souls to what is false and do not swear deceit­fully, shall ascend the moun­tain of the Lord and stand at His holy place. Such people will receive bless­ing from God and will be abund­antly rewar­ded by God (cf. Ps 24:1–5).  

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPIES OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE:
SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vols. I‑II-III)!! The reflec­tion for the 4th Sunday of Advent is found in
The Word of Life, vol. I, pages 28–36. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo
or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com
or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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