Bible reading for Jan 28: Genesis 29; Matthew 28.
Overview: the book of Genesis can be summarized as follows: from chapter 1 to 11 there are four key events: creation, fall, flood, and babel. From chapter 12 to 50 there are four key people: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. We are now reading about the adventures of Jacob.
Bait-and-switch, and a baby race (Gen 29). Jacob, the guy who deceived his father by pretending to be Esau, is tricked into marrying Leah, rather than Rachel, whom he loves. (I'm thinking there must have been a lot of wine served that night...) Later, Rachel is given to be his wife, as well, but now he must serve another seven years. Then the baby contest begins, which involves not only Rachel and Leah but also their maidservants. This seems strange to us, but we must remember this was a day when there was no social security, no police, no medicare, no nursing homes, etc. Healthy children, and strong healthy sons who can work and fight to protect the clan, were vital to the community. Being a mother was (and still is) important. Also, there was great value attached to continuing a name and legacy through one's children: "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward" (Psalm 127:3). The baby race, as odd as it may seem, is recorded that we might know about the beginnings of the twelve tribes of Israel, who are the main focus of the rest of the Old Testament.
But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay." (Matthew 28:5-6)
Women the first witnesses. The Lord honors the women who followed him by appearing to them first on that resurrection day. Our Lord lifted up their status, and valued them beyond their potential merely as wives and mothers. (See Luke 10:38-42.) They are the first official witnesses and proclaimers of Christ's resurrection. He gives them a cheerful greeting (CSB: "good morning!")(28:9) and with joy they fell down and took hold of his feet. They were not afraid to touch him. (He wasn't glowing...) Often, movies about Jesus give an eerie atmosphere to his resurrection, with unusual lighting and unearthly music. What is so wonderful about Jesus' resurrection -- besides the fact it is wholly miraculous and the beginning of a new creation -- is how normal much of the interactions were. They walked, and talked, and had meals, and spent time together. For Jesus his words, "my soul is very sorrowful" (26:38) has turned to a cheerful, good morning greeting. As the prophet Isaiah foretold, "After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities." (Isa 53:11 NIV)
Photo above is of Suzy Goodwin, a North Carolina mother, who ran a half-marathon with her triplets, setting a Guinness World Record. Credit: Facebook / dailymail.co.uk
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.