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  • Sarah Raad

Oppression

“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent…” (Isaiah 53:7).

Agnus (Konstantin Korobov)

Today, I have been reflecting on these words from the Old Testament.

“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open His mouth. By perversion of justice He was taken away. Who could have imagined His future? For He was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people.” (Isaiah 53:7-8).

It is not often that I read sections of the Old Testament. At times, that part of the Bible seems foreign and distant to me – more Jewish than Christian…


You see, some years ago, I had quite a lengthy discussion (debate really) with someone who told me that he could no longer believe in the Bible or the message provided in it because in the Old Testament, there were rules about keeping slaves and those rules were wrong. Thus – this person concluded – the entire Bible must be wrong and must be based on fiction – not fact. Accordingly, having uncovered one inconsistency the entire premise of Sacred Scripture was disproved.


I remember at the time struggling to explain how I could continue to believe in the Sacred Scripture and in the Catholic Church, despite one (or many) irregularities. To be honest, it is stll a struggle to explain my faith – but, despite my weaknesses as a non-theologian – since that conversation many years ago, I made an effort to do a little research to try to uncover an academic explaination for my decision of faith…


In fact there are THREE laws provided in the Old Testament: Ceremonial Law; Civil Law; and Moral Law.


Ceremonial Law were the laws observed to point towards the coming of the Messiah – the coming of Christ. These laws were the laws that the Pharises had most often accused Christ of disregarding. These laws are no longer required because Christ has arrived – we no longer need to prepare for His coming…


Civil Law related to the dailing living of the Isralites. And while the principles behind those laws are timeless, the environment and culture now is so different from the ancient world of the Old Testament that we are not required to follow this law to the letter… Accordingly, such rules relating to the treatment of slaves in the Old Testament, were designed to keep the slave-owners fair in their treatment. Obviously, slavery in any form is wrong! However, as slavery was a regrettably prolific part of Ancient culture, the rules contained in the Old Testament were implemented to ensure that slaves were treated humanely (under the circumstances). In modern times, slavery is understood to be utterly reprehensible. And yet, the underlying principle of fair-treatment for those under our protection or employ, remain in principle – though not applied to slaves, which are not an acceptable or prolific part of our culture.


And Moral Law is the Law of the Ten Commandments, and is to be followed strictly. This was the law that Christ Himself followed strictly and this is the law that we are expected to explicitly and completely follow…


And so, today I understand a little more of the different elements of the Old Testament, as I have been reflecting on this passage from the Old Testament. And so, it has occurred to me that though the Old Testament may be large and at times cumbersome for me to understand, it is not separate from the New Testament and should not be distant from it – it is at all times connected to it…


"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)


For Christ is the WORD MADE FLESH – He is the Old Testament and New Testament Made Flesh. Christ is the fulfilment of the Ceremonial Law and the example of Civil and Moral Law… Because, “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent…” (Isaiah 53:7).


And I reflect on that silent oppression today. For it was foretold in the Old Testament and it was experienced in the New Testament. And it is the example upon which my own life should be based…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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