Num 19-20; Gal 1-2; Psalm 106:24-end
Once more we wonder at the unity of the Scriptures – sometimes not so clear, sometimes all too clear – as when Moses holds before the Israelites the brass serpent that they might be healed – so the Son of MAn must be lifted up, that all who believe in him may not die but have eternal life.
In Christ, in some strange way we see our own death, and thus are set free from death – his death is also paradoxically our healing. And here we have one of the deeper meanings of Sin and Death – and why Jesus links suffering and sin. That at heart we are Sin sick – the distortion of sin is not some mere breaking a moral code – rather it is a fundamental fracturing of the Good which God has declared in Creation.
It is wrong to turn the Cross into some mere transaction, in the Cross we see the healing of all of Creation – all that is needed is that we turn to face it and believe.
Thus Peter and Paul find themselves at loggerheads and Paul challenges Peter – for one of the Key fractures of Sin is that between Jew and Gentile. The Galatians are primarily rebuked because they have succumbed to the message of some of the early Jewish converts, that life was to be found in the moral purity of not associating with Gentiles. Jesus in his ministry and in welcoming the thief upon the cross into Paradise broke down this wall of hostility. It is this which Paul addresses in Galatians as they try once more to be ‘pure’ by acts of separation from the Gentiles as Peter displays by withdrawing from table fellowship, an action which Paul challenges as antithetical to the gospel – and undoing of the work of the Cross, by which the two have become one in Christ.
In all our refusals to associate, for whatever reason, we do the same