Listening or seeing – which is more important?
How do we know that Jesus born into a poor family?
It is time to venture a little deeper, to further cement this idea of Jesus’ appearances to his people, in the guise of the Angel of the LORD. One passage of scripture that really sets the seal on this comes from the book of Isaiah.
“I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us - yes, the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses. He said, ‘Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me’; and so he became their Saviour. In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” (Isaiah 63:7-9)
Here God states that He is to be the Saviour of His people, but that it was actually the Angel of his presence (of the LORD) that did the saving. The only Saviour we know, of course, is Jesus Christ, so what we present here is a pretty strong case that the Angel of the LORD is Jesus himself. Perhaps the clincher is the fact that the Angel of the LORD appears nowhere in the Gospels, because even Jesus couldn’t appear in two places at the same time!
When Jesus did appear, it was very much in a Jewish context. Yeshua (Jesus) was a nice Jewish boy, of whom any mother would be proud. He was born in Bethlehem, as the Christmas cards show us, in very humble surroundings. After birth he had been circumcised and consecrated at the Temple and, by all accounts, had the typical childhood of one from a poor family in a Galileean village. And how do we know they were poor? “No room at the inn” was certainly a clue but the clincher was the “pair of doves or two young pigeons” that they sacrificed to the Lord after the birth. This was the pidyon ha-Ben, the redemption of a boy. It’s an acknowledgement that every first-born boy belongs to God and all parents must “buy him back” by making a sacrifice. This rule dated right back to the time of Moses, when the first-born boys of the Israelites were spared from the Angel of Death on Passover night. Joseph and Mary were too poor to offer a lamb sacrifice and so were permitted to offer up the birds as a cheaper alternative.
They were poor but must have been devout Jews. Not all families made the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but Luke 2:41 tells us:
“Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.”
For poor people this was exceptional and tells us that God indeed made the correct choice in parents for Yeshua. Another clue is in the song, The Magnificat, sung by Miriam (Mary) when she visited her relative Elizabeth. This song alludes to no less than thirteen Hebrew scriptures, telling us that, even at a relatively young age, the mother of Yeshua was fully conversant with the Judaism of her day.
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp