1 Maccabees 1-3; 1 Corinthians 12

1 Maccabees 2:15-28 The officers of the king in charge of enforcing the apostasy came to the city of Modein to make them sacrifice. Many of Israel joined them, but Mattathias and his sons drew together. Then the officers of the king addressed Mattathias: “You are a leader, an honorable and great man in this city, supported by sons and kindred. Come now, be the first to obey the king’s command, as all the Gentiles and Judeans and those who are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons shall be numbered among the King’s Friends, and you and your sons shall be honored with silver and gold and many gifts.” But Mattathias answered in a loud voice: “Although all the Gentiles in the king’s realm obey him, so that they forsake the religion of their ancestors and consent to the king’s orders, yet I and my sons and my kindred will keep to the covenant of our ancestors. Heaven forbid that we should forsake the law and the commandments. We will not obey the words of the king by departing from our religion in the slightest degree.” As he finished saying these words, a certain Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein according to the king’s order. When Mattathias saw him, he was filled with zeal; his heart was moved and his just fury was aroused; he sprang forward and killed him upon the altar. At the same time, he also killed the messenger of the king who was forcing them to sacrifice, and he tore down the altar. Thus he showed his zeal for the law, just as Phinehas did with Zimri, son of Salu. Then Mattathias cried out in the city, “Let everyone who is zealous for the law and who stands by the covenant follow me!” Then he and his sons fled to the mountains, leaving behind in the city all their possessions.

1 Maccabees is one of my favorite books of the Bible.  If they’d have had cars and explosives in 166 B.C., they would have had car crashes and explosions in this book.  The scene between Mattathias and his sons and the messenger of the king is my favorite scene of the book. It’s like Red Dawn meets 300. Mel Gibson tried to get a movie about Judas Maccabeus greenlit, but failed, much to my disappointment.  And tell me what other actor could play Mattathias other than Liam Neeson?  It was a role he was born to play.

It was a different time, obviously.  And it was not long after that the Word became flesh, bringing a very different message about responding to enemies, which is a good thing.

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