The anointing of Aaron

Question 172, from Cheryl B

I am reading through a bible in a year bible – at present it is Leviticus where you get little nuggets of detail that just intrigue me with which things are mentioned. “Moses slaughtered the ram and took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot.” WHY so precise and SO random?

Blood is significant in the Old Testament because it was thought to contain the ‘life’ of the person or animal killed (see Leviticus chapter 17, verse 11). This is why there are taboos against eating animal blood Leviticus chapter 17, verses 12-14), or shedding human blood (see 1 Chronicles chapter 22, verse 8).

When animals were sacrificed to make atonement for the sins of people, it was believed that “it is the blood that makes atonement” (again see Leviticus chapter 17, verse 11). The ‘sprinkling’ of the blood of sacrificed animals on those present at the sacrifice was thought to carry atoning power – a metaphor that was carried into Christianity (see 1 Peter chapter 1, verse 2 7 Hebrews chapter 10, verses 19-22), where the ‘Blood of Christ’ is regarded as having the same atoning effect.

The secretive messiah

Question 171, from Simon B

I’m reading Luke chapter 8. Why did Jesus tell the Gerasene to tell everyone that he had been healed of his demon possession and Jairus to tell no one about the resurrection of his daughter?

These two stories in Luke chapter 8, along with the stories of the calming of the storm (verses 22-25) and the healing of the woman with permanent bleeding (verses 43-48) are key to establishing the various claims made about Jesus by his followers.

In order, Jesus is shown to be in charge of the natural world by stilling the storm on the Lake of Galilee, master of the ‘spiritual world’ by freeing a man of demon possession (verses 26-39), having authority over the law through his interaction with the woman who was bleeding and therefore ‘unclean’ according to the Torah, and finally, having the power to reverse the effects of death (verses 40-42 & 49-56).

The gospel writer is effectively setting out some (more…)