Saturday, April 09, 2005

Cain and Abel

Cain's mark is not sign of God's displeasure. Quite the opposite, it is a mark of protection and blessing. It puts a stop to the cycle of violence. Some of the rabbis say that God gave it to Cain in order that he might repent (see Paul's letter to the Romans "God's goodness leads to our repentance"). It is interesting that Jesus' death on a cross also stops "the cycle of violence." Jesus tells his disciples on the night that he is betrayed, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another." The cross is for our peace, not only that of the disciples but also the Judaean officials and the gentile Romans who crucified him. The cruel indifference of Pilate, the envy of the Judaean leaders, all this, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good" as Joseph tells his brothers after being reunited with them. Joseph's brothers meant it for evil, but God meant it for their saving and the saving of all Israel, so it is with Jesus Anointed, "all Israel will be saved; as it is written, 'The deliverer shall come from Zion and he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.'"