The rebirth of Israel, the people of God, is shared in this passage in Matthew. When Jesus is born, a fresh start is available to the people. The way of redemption is announced and relationship with God is re-established. The method of it happening, well that is another story all together. Mary, a virgin pledged to marry Joseph, gives birth to a boy even though she has never been with a man. The arrival of the redeemer is clouded by inappropriate social actions, and the threat of divorce. Not exactly a glorious entrance. Yet the desire of God to be in relationship with creation is stronger than the social norms, and there is a reassurance of God at work. The faith of Joseph and Mary is spectacular. In the face of not fitting in with society, they follow God with all they have. I wonder what God is calling to us?
The disciples have traveled with Jesus, wept as he hung on the cross, and rejoiced in the resurrection. They have received their marching orders, ready to continue the work. They were together praying and waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit. During that time it is determined to return the number of Apostles to 12, a very important number, the twelve tribes of Israel. Here we have the formation of church leadership. Jesus commissions the group to go and be witnesses, proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth. Before the power of the Spirit can be unleashed, the people need to get their acts together. This is found in their prayer and preparation for what God is doing. The creation of the church is here, the power is given when the preparation is fully engaged.
Whenever there are positions of leadership power dynamics are at work. This is true at all levels, especially in the leadership of a country, Here is Psalm 2 the reminder is to the kings of this world to remember there is someone who is greater than them. The admonishment is to remember we are all responsible to God in accordance with the places of power we occupy. We are to all lead in the fear of the Lord, and to take refuge in the Lord, not our power and our own wisdom.
Genesis 3 and 4
Here we find the fall of Adam and Eve and the inception of the first families. There is more in these two chapters than I can write in this limited space. I will focus on a small sentence in toward the end of chapter 3. God recognizes it is dangerous to leave Adam and Eve in Eden because the tree of life is there and their obedience is suspect at best. If Adam and Eve eat from the tree of life, they will live forever. The tree of life is one of those things which shows up periodically throughout the scriptures. One of the most notable times is in Revelation. The tree of life is the center of the Holy City, the new Jerusalem. When Christ returns and the relationship between God and people is as intended, the tree of life becomes the source of everlasting life. One creation is restored the tree of life may be partaken of. God does not want the tree of Life eaten from before then because forever would be filled with separation of creation and God. By the end of Revelation, the breech has been fully repaired and forever is with God. In this small sentence in the beginning the promise of of the end is established.