Synopsis 2Maccabees 7:28-8:4 4/7/2021
King Antiochus outlawed all Jewish religious practices. For enforcement, he executed anyone who refused to renounce Judaism.
As a part of his effort to repress Judaism, he personally oversaw the torture and execution of seven brothers. The brothers were murdered in front of their mother in age order beginning from the oldest. Each, in turn, confessed their faith in God. And none of them renounced Judaism.
As the last son died, he expressed hope. Of course, part of his hope was in the future resurrection. But another part of his hope was that his sacrifice would somehow help to “end the wrath of the Almighty”. After the last son died, his mother was also executed.
From his hiding place in the mountains, Judas Maccabeus observed all that was happening in Jerusalem. And so, he came to his kin at night and began quietly enlisting a militia. When the men gathered, they cried out to God for relief from the foreign invaders.
Brothers Sacrifice for the Community
The brothers hoped that somehow their sacrifice might contribute to appeasing God’s wrath. And so, they willingly died. In this way, they meant to preserve their integrity. But they also hoped that their suffering somehow helped the community of their fellow Jews.
Sacrifice for Community
It is a deeply mysterious idea. In this life, you and I can hope that somehow the afflictions we suffer in faith contribute to the wellbeing of the church at large.
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church” Col 1:24