Through vivid symbolism, Jesus was making a clear condemnation of the religious rulers who took it on themselves to judge who was in and who was out of God’s favor.
If God’s desire is that men lead unilaterally over women, yet over and over in Scripture there are situations in which women are in authority over men, God is incompetent… or else this is how God wants it to be.
… what would have happened to the Jewish victim after he recovered and returned home. Was he ever able to go to the temple again? Did he panic every time he saw a Levite? Was he bitter and angry with all priests because of the one Priest who had left him for dead?
Mary, however, did not need to learn who he was. She knew exactly what his identity was from his first breath even if she had no idea how this God-child of hers would accomplish his mission.
The startling aspect of this notion is that if Jesus was fully human and “grew in wisdom” that means that his sinlessness wasn’t in that he always knew everything and had all the answers so much as that when he faced any decision, he always chose the right path, the godly path
Childbearing is radically different from the sacrifice system requiring the blood of the innocent in order to prevent ongoing violence between enemies. Instead, childbearing is the is the spilled blood of the willing in order to bring new life.
While others packed up and retreated in their grief (or fear of being associated with someone recently executed), Mary defiantly stayed and watched for the hours between Christ’s death and resurrection, perhaps even staring at the guards placed there to make sure no one messed with his body. I wonder if she knew what was coming?
But what about the children for whom rescue never comes? What about the ones who will never be restored to their families or who will never play the role of a hero? Can God do nothing with their lives? Are they exempt from the affirmation that they are essential to the kingdom of God? Is participation in God’s kingdom limited only to those whose lives mirror Joseph’s story on some level?
The heart of this story is very easy to miss in all of the details of locations and people and subplots woven in the text. Twenty years passed since the time that Jacob fled due to Esau’s vow to murder him upon their father’s death. But twenty years had changed Esau.
What could not be learned from Christ alone is that God’s movement toward us occurs not in spite of our sin, but precisely because of it. Our sin is NECESSARY to reveal God’s mercy, and in an unexpected, fabulous shift, sin gives birth to grace.