Holy Rollers Part Three: Compensation
How much do you earn? It’s a taboo question that’s not supposed to be asked – even though you would love to know your neighbour’s business!
For some of you it is a simple answer and it’s a sum of money per year, month or week. For others you are on a package with basics, bonuses, options or benefits.
Such was the package for the priests in the days of the Son of Man. Remember it was the priests who formed the fiercest opposition to the Man from Nazareth. One hundred thousand sons of Aaron concentrated in Jerusalem, provoked to fury by the arrival of one man on a donkey.
So what did they earn? I will itemise it for you because it’s not that simple.
The second part of the compensation package for priests involved foodstuffs.
MEAT/FRUIT/CEREAL FROM OFFERINGS:
Sill offering:- the fat burned but the rest of the meat to the priest.
Trespass offering:- fat burned – breast and right shoulder to priest
Cereal offering:- small part burned rest to priest
First fruits of 7 kinds:- wheat, barley, vine, fig, tree, pomegranate, olive and honey. One fiftieth of the best part of the crops.
Tithes:- one tenth of anything used as food
Dough:- One twenty fourth of any dough used in any baking.
These packages meant that any priest, who was on duty or off duty, or any descendent of Aaron, barred through physical disability, was entitled to a share in the distribution of the proceeds of all sacrifices and offerings.
The results were that for this one group they enjoyed a diet simply not available to the majority. They enjoyed a compensation package that supplied them with a luxurious lifestyle and all for a 5 week working year!
When the son of man exploded in the temple courts he was turning over a multi million dollar /pound financial empire and when he preached the end of the sacrificial system he was threatening the very lifestyles of the priestly class.
Jesus, in one body, challenged a vast institution presided over by a very privileged group. What further fuelled his fury is that this self same group of people were supposed to be making it easier for a worshipper to worship, a seeker to find, a servant to serve and a troubled soul to find peace.
Instead a whole industry had grown up and a money making institution manufactured to create pampered priestly lifestyles.
Nothing I am writing is by way of prejudice against that group. They were human. Human beings have some default settings which format towards creating conditions of maximum benefit towards ourselves.
You and I, like them, tend to design our lives in our own interest.
When the Son of Man arrives a choice opens up. If he is right, they are wrong. If he is true then they are false. If he is the last word they are finished.
For them, they had decided it was destroy or be destroyed. And they were wrong on both counts. The Son of Man could not be destroyed. In his own words he told them that if they destroyed his temple he would rebuild it in 3 days. But what they did not realise was that he was not their destroyer but their rescuer.
The Son of Man came to rescue from slavery to money, greed, self-centredness, self-interest, false hopes and corrupt hopes. He came to rescue us from legalism, elitism and compromises.
In fact he also came to rescue the Pharisees, Sadducees and priests. They saw him as their destroyer, and of course of their corrupt, manipulative, self-centred practices he was the destroyer but he also came to build the new. A new law of love, order of honour and privilege and a new priesthood.
Dear reader of a modern day e-mail do not be fooled into thinking that Pharisees, Sadducees and priests are figures only from history. They are archetypes, continuous models of opposition to the Son of Man, their spirit lives in us all, every day, each week – it is a spirit that leads you to be lost.
But the Son of Man came to save the lost. Every day, every week, right now where you are at work.
Matthew 21: 12-13
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
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