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Psalm 133 1
1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

aaronBackground

Psalm 133 is a Psalm of Ascent, part of a group of psalms about making a spiritual pilgrimage. Part of a journey of Ascent is coming into your own identity which involves aligning yourself with those you’re supposed to be connected with (via the Lord). It is all about unity through our Lord.

The good oil, poured on the head, descended upon the beard, Aaron’s beard into the top openings of his robes. Oil, fragrant oil, is meant as a symbol of joy and festivity. (See Psalm 45:7, Note; Isaiah 61:3.) It is also brought closely into connection with love (Song of Solomon 1:3). But while this association, the pleasure derived from the fragrance of the oil, there is a further purpose. It is the holy oil, that whose composition is described in Exodus 30:22-23. This, while the garments of all the priests were sprinkled with it (Exodus 29:21; Leviticus 8:30), was poured on the head of Aaron (Exodus 29:7; Leviticus 8:12; Leviticus 21:10), so that the description of the psalm, unpleasing as it is to our ideas of today, to saturate not only one’s head, but their face and beard, is what was done. It would run down one’s neck to the collar of the robe.

Biblical Truth

The precious oil is being used in Psalm 133 as an illustration of “brothers dwelling together in unity.” Most of us will ask how does that make sense? The answer is found in:

Exodus 30:22-29
22 Moreover, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Take also for yourself the finest of spices: of flowing myrrh five hundred shekels, and of fragrant cinnamon half as much, two hundred and fifty, and of fragrant cane two hundred and fifty, 24 and of cassia five hundred, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil a hin. 25 You shall make of these a holy anointing oil, a perfume mixture, the work of a perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil. 26 With it you shall anoint the tent of meeting and the ark of the testimony, 27 and the table and all its utensils, and the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense, 28 and the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the laver and its stand. 29 You shall also consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them shall be holy.

So today in our world, God has put murderers together with people who are filled with hate, thieves with those who do not speak the truth, homosexuals with those who lust, one race with another race, parents with children, wealthy with the poor, and the lazy with the hard working. He has mixed “different spices” together and called it the body of Jesus Christ – the church – Christians! So what are we called to do? He calls us to live righteous lives but do so in harmony and unity.

Items for Discussion

  • Can you think of the “modern day” consecrations that take place making people, objects, physical things become holy?
  • Why are public consecrations needed by humans? Feel free to use any examples, not just Biblical.
  • Could someone be baptized in the desert where there was no water? What is lost without its symbolism?
  • What would we lose from Aaron’s anointing if God had demanded to use only the purest of olive oil?
  • What other joyful examples of unity can you think of that happen because of the diversity of the elements being brought together?
  • What happens if you separate each of the elements in the holy oil – do you think the experience would be as joyful if they were sequentially applied? (You might use as an example, the ingredients of a cake, eaten sequentially, not mixed and baked.)

 

John 8:1-12
1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Background 2

In this chapter we find Christ evading the snare which the Jews laid for him, in bringing to him a woman accused of adultery (v. 1-11). The rest of the chapter is taken up with debates between Christ and contradicting sinners, who make petty or unnecessary objections at the most gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth. It is not certain whether these disputes were the same day that the adulteress was discharged. It probably was because John mentions no other day, and takes notice (v. 2) how early Christ began that day’s work. Though those Pharisees that accused the woman had left, there were other Pharisees (v. 13) to further confront Christ.

Bible Truth 3

The Jewish leaders still wanted a reason to arrest Jesus. So they brought a woman to him who had sex with a man who was not her husband. They had witnesses that she was guilty. She had not obeyed the 7th rule of God’s 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:14). In Moses’ Law, the punishment was death (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22) for breaking this commandment. If Jesus told them to kill her, they could report him to the Roman rulers because the Romans did not allow the Jews to execute people, a right that only the Romans retained. But if Jesus told them not to kill her, he was not obeying Moses’ Law. So the Jewish leaders thought that it was not possible for Jesus to give a satisfactory answer. Whatever he said, he would be in trouble!

Jesus did not answer immediately. Instead, he bent down and he used his finger to write on the ground. It was common for teachers to write or to draw in the dust. They often did this to explain something. But John did not record what Jesus was writing. Perhaps Jesus wanted to force the Jewish leaders to repeat their question. Then perhaps they would realize that they were cruel to use the woman’s situation in this way. When Jesus finally answered them, they could not say anything bad about his reply. He told them to obey Moses’ Law and to punish the woman. So he was not saying that Moses’ Law was wrong. When a person sins, they deserve a punishment. But Jesus was also pointing out that everybody is guilty. Everybody has sinned and therefore everybody deserves punishment.

The Pharisees thought that they were less sinful than ordinary people. They were proud because they studied the Law much. They followed all the rules. But the word that Jesus used for ‘sin’ in verse 7 could refer also to bad thoughts and desires, sins of the heart and mind. So none of them could say that they had never sinned. Even their proud attitude was a sin. After Jesus had answered them, He wrote in the dust again. And again, John did not record what Jesus wrote. Some experts speculate that it was a list of the Pharisees’ own sins, or perhaps God’s 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17).

Jesus’ answer had the effect that He wanted. Slowly, the leaders who had accused the woman went away. After they had gone, Jesus spoke to the woman. Of course, Jesus himself had never sinned. So, actually, only he had the right to condemn her. Instead, he forgave her. But before he let her go, Jesus warned the woman. He told her not to continue to sin. Jesus was not saying that her sin did not matter. Sin always matters, because God hates it. God will always forgive us for our sins if we are sincerely sorry. But we must not continue to sin in the same way. God will help us to defeat sin in our lives. We must ask him to do this.

(Many of the earliest copies of John’s Gospel did not include this passage (7:53-8:11). It seems that 8:12 follows 7:52 more easily. Some other copies included it, but in a different place in the Gospel. And some ancient copies of Luke’s Gospel included it. However, some copies of John’s Gospel did include it at this point in the Gospel.

While verse 12 maybe is misplaced, this passage follows John 7:52. It was the Festival of Shelters and Jesus was still teaching in the Temple. In John 1:4-9, John described Jesus as the light that gives life to everybody. In this verse, Jesus described himself as the ‘light for the world’. His sentence started with ‘I am’, which was God’s special name (Exodus 3:14). But this light does more than just guide us in the darkness. This light actually makes the darkness disappear! However, we must continue to follow Jesus all the time. Every day, we should obey him and we should learn from him.

Items for Discussion

  • What is God’s attitude toward us when we sin?
  • Why is a self-confession of our sins to our God so important?
  • There is penance and repentance – what is the difference?
  • While none deserve forgiveness, God’s forgiveness is immediate and perpetual – What should be the human response to this gift of Grace?

Discussion Challenge

  • Can you summarize what Jesus is saying to the woman in these verses? Are these commands for us today?
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