Today’s first reading invites us to consider the relationship of Moses to Jesus, and of Judaism to Christianity.
That first reading came toward the close of the forty years Moses spent with the people in the desert. He recalled for them an incident from when they were just three months into those forty years. Before issuing the Ten Commandments God did something to put the fear of God in the people. He had them assemble before Mt. Sinai, then, he had the mountain erupt in roaring flames.
Shivering on their bellies the people begged Moses to prevent God coming to them again in such a fearful way. In today’s reading Moses told the people that in answer to their request when God came to them again he would come in the form of a prophet who would be as mild as Moses himself.
When Jesus drove out devils and performed instant cures the people began saying that Jesus must be that promised Moses-like prophet.
There is a half sentence in the first chapter of John’s Gospel that compares the contributions of Moses and Jesus, of Judaism and Christianity. It is John 1:17 “While the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
There is a lot there. All Moses gave us was the rules. Jesus gives us the grace to live up to the rules; and he lets us know why the Father makes these demands for us.
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