Jacob lifted Anna, spun her around, and lightly set her down. “Oh Jacob,” his wife smiled and gently stroked his ear. “How I love you.”
The touch on his ear took Jacob back to the day the awl pierced it. Six years of serving his master and five years of loving his wife had made his decision easy. He wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of his days serving his master and loving Anna.
A Pierced Ear
In biblical times body piercing carried significance. One particular body piercing still speaks to us today.
Under Old Testament law, a Hebrew could sell himself into slavery to pay off his debts. The Mosaic Law limited his service to six years. If his master had given him a wife while he was a slave, then his wife and children still belonged to the master. Choosing freedom meant losing the family he’d gained while in servitude.
“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life” (Exodus 2:5-6 NIV).
A slave’s pierced ear showed he’d sacrificed his freedom in order to spend the rest of his life with his wife in slavery.
The Psalmist referred to this custom to communicate his devotion to the Lord. “Opened” can be translated pierced as it is in Psalm 22:16: “they pierced my hands and my feet.” Read the Psalmist’s declaration with this custom in mind:
“‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened [that is, pierced with an awl]’”
(Ps. 40:6, 8 NIV).
A Pierced Body
When Jesus quoted this Psalm He changed one line.
“Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.’
“Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, my God’…
“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”
(Hebrews 10:5-7, 10 NIV, phrase Jesus changed is italicized).
The late Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee explained that Jesus was given a body to die on the cross. “He was pierced for our transgressions” (Is. 53:5 NIV).
Jesus’ pierced body shows He sacrificed His life in order to spend eternity with His bride (believers) in heaven.
A Precious Symbol
The next time you’re tempted to question God’s love, remember Jesus’ pierced body. It says, “I love you!”
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Debbie W. Wilson
I’ll be at the Barnes & Noble in Cary, NC on April 28th, 2016 at 7 p.m. Please come see me if you are in the area!
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