freedom from slavery
The ancient Jews routinely remembered with fondness the great prophet Moses. Many of us know the story of Moses freeing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, but what modern Christians don’t often think about is that Moses also instituted the many and various styles of worship which would be passed down through the centuries to the time of Jesus. This included sacrifices, the sacred space of the tabernacle, the institution of the levitical priesthood, and the liturgical year, including Passover and the great Day of Atonement.
When they remembered Moses, though, they weren’t just recalling past events. The ancient Jews expected God to send them a new Moses, someone who would give a new law, who would give them a new exodus from slavery, who would institute a new worship. Deuteronomy 18:18 shows the earliest expectation for a new prophet like Moses. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote, “Israel was still awaiting its real liberation; that an even more radical kind of exodus was necessary, one that called for a new Moses.”
This more radical kind of exodus is not redemption from political slavery. Jesus says in John 8:34, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” This slavery was passed on to us from our father Adam, and is the exact slavery from which the new Moses comes to save us. This new Moses is one who would give us a new miraculous bread from heaven (John 6:30-33). This new Moses ascends a mountain to give us a new law (Matthew 5:1-12) and writes it on our hearts (2 Corinthians 3). This new Moses gives us a new paradigm for worship (John 4:24-26).sign up to receive daily advent reflections see all daily advent reflections