August 14, 2016: Day 77 – Galatians 4

So do you remember what Jesus said while he was in the garden when he was in agony and pain for what he was about to face?  Look at Mark 14:36 and you see Jesus call out to his father and say: Abba, father.  Back in Jesus’ day the people of Palestine spoke a language called Aramaic which is neither Hebrew, the language of the temple and the religious people, nor is it Greek, the language of the land.  It is a language of the people, and it represented a language of intimacy.  Abba in Aramaic means father, but in a much more personal way.  The best definition that we could give it in English is “daddy”.  Just as a matter of fact, the New Testament was written in Greek and Old Testament was written in Hebrew.  They are both considered languages which the people of God used to express the words of God.  Aramaic never had that place in history, even if Jesus’ first language was probably Aramaic.

Vs.6 Paul states that we are adopted children of our Father in heaven.  When you are an adopted child, and I am not saying this from experience but rather from conjecture, then you are, or at least should be, fully included in the family as a blood relative.  Adoption does not in any way make you a second class citizen.  What Paul states in these verses is that we are fully children of God.  There is no distinction.  In fact, he states that we are not only children but heirs.  An heir is one who is getting ready to inherit that which the one who went before left behind.  What Jesus left for us is eternal life.  That is our inheritance, a life that is eternal.  

From verses 8-20 it is as if Paul had forgotten that he was chastising the Galatians for their unfaithfulness, and goes back into it.  But it is also here where we find some evidence for the claim that Paul had an ailment that affected his eyes.  We had mentioned earlier that this could be his “thorn in the flesh”.  I love the line in vs.19 where he states that he is like a woman who is in childbirth until Christ is born again in them.  As if he knows what that is like.  As if I know what that is like.  But it is an incredibly rich image.  A pastor saying to a community that he loves who is wandering away from the faith that he is in the type of pain that can only result in joy because they will once again rediscover Christ.  I love that image.

The next image is not so spectacular.  Paul uses the image of Hagar and Sara as an allegory.  He says as such, so we shouldn’t take it literally.  Meaning, Paul uses the difference between the mothers of two sons and how we fit the model of the children born from those whom God had chosen to carry forward his kingdom.  Sara was chosen by God to carry forward His people and His kingdom.  Hagar, at no fault of her own, became involved in God’s  plan as a result of our human deficiencies.  But it was not her fault that she was included.  I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Hagar and I’ve never been greatly impressed with Sarah.   But again, the focus is on the children as being legitimate heirs to God’s kingdom.  That’s us folks.

 

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