June 23, 2009

Fatherhood in the Time of Christ


We're a little behind in our posting. The following was intended for Father's Day. Still, better late than never. In keeping with the theme of fatherhood, we thought we would consider a father's role and responsibilities at the time of Christ.

In addition to providing and protecting their families, fathers had vitally important ceremonial roles. I use ceremonial in the solemn, not the perfunctory sense. In a ritual recalling the Israelites flight from Egypt and the taking of the first born (Egyptian) male children, every Jewish father would go to the Temple and "redeem" his first son. Presenting his son to the Priest he would say (to his infant son) "I redeem thee," three times.

After the first born son was redeemed he was circumcised. Circumcision was a sign in the male flesh of the Covenant which God made with the nation of Israel. Every Jewish male was circumcised. The father was to ensure this.

Finally, the father was to lead the Passover meal commemorating God's generosity and protection of the Jewish people before, during, and after the Exodus.

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