Tuesday: 19th November, 2019
Reference text: 2 Maccabees 6:18-31
2 Maccabees 6:21 Those who were in charge of that unlawful sacrifice took the man aside, because of their long acquaintance with him, and privately urged him to bring meat of his own providing, proper for him to use, and pretend that he was eating the flesh of the sacrificial meal which had been commanded by the king
A brief background to today’s text:
Eleazar, a teacher of the law, was forced to eat the flesh of pig; something prohibited by Jewish law. With his life on the line as a result of this defiance, colleagues suggested that he ‘pretended’ to eat by providing a lawful meat substitute himself. Thus, it would be a win-win: he lives and his audience are not offended. To this offer, Eleazar vehemently refused preferring death over pretence.
If there is something I recall doing multiple times growing up, it was to pretend to be asleep when in fact I was not. Hide under blankets, turn off the screen and sounds of electronic devices and ‘be asleep’ when I hear sounds that another person had woken up. This was particularly after I had been warned to go to bed.
This is the truth: ‘what we show is what we wish to sell’ so we pretend when we want others to buy into a specific story or version of the truth. Eleazar was not interested in making others believe that he had disobeyed the laws he faithfully thought for so long just so he could save his life. Although if he went along with the plan suggested he would practically not have broken the law, the truth everybody else would hold will be different – in the context, seeing would become believing.
Beloved, very often people don’t look for context- they look for what is visible and clearly obvious. If one pretends to compromise, that will be seen as doing so. If one pretends to be angry, it will be seen as such because in pretending, we show off what we want others to believe. Therefore, be careful what you show off even if it’s a pretence because it could become the truth someone runs with.