Thomas Wolfe wrote You Can’t Go Home Again. I can somewhat relate to that, but the truth is that the Wave Sheaf Offering shows us that you can go home again.
My journeys have often confronted me with the concept of “home”: What is home? Where is home? What does home really mean?
I spent a number of years in the Army, and “home” certainly was relative. Single soldiers often think of home as where they came from before joining up. Married soldiers often think of home as where their spouse and children are. Some wandering souls think of home as where you hang your hat, which could be many places when you’re busy moving every eighteen months to four years.
Even getting out of the Army, I returned “home” in order to finish college, but then I ended up moving after getting my degree to Cleveland. I spent almost two decades there, which was quite a lot in comparison to anywhere else. If anything else in my adult life represents home, I suppose that might be it.
I also started attending and was baptized in Cleveland. I made quite a few friends, something which does not come all that naturally to me. I still think of those in the Cleveland congregation from time to time, and I feel sad that they are so far away.
Abruptly, though, I had to move. I moved back “home” in the sense that it was near the area where I grew up. Notice it was “near” it and not “in” it. I never really felt “at home”. The congregation there was nice and all, but even feeling at home at church for a number of reasons seemed difficult. I helped out, but I did not do a number of things I did in Cleveland, which perhaps would have helped me feel more at home. One person emailed me and asked if I spoke or led prayer, which I did not, and it made me feel even less at home. More frustrating, though, was that health concerns often kept me at home. For the first time, I could not count on being able to make it to services each and every week.
Maybe you can’t go home again, but, then again, it was only near home and not really my home. No, it was my father’s home, the place he chose after I had already left my childhood home. It was not my home. I think God was giving me reminders throughout that it was not home, and I knew in my heart that I wasn’t going to stay there.
Am I home now? I am still adjusting. It has been only a year, but I feel comfortable in my congregation. I am asked to give opening/closing prayers from time to time, and I even help out with the sound system! I do feel a part of the congregation, and not just a sitting part but an active part.
Still, am I home now? Maybe the real answer should be in the Bible. Maybe the real answer is in the wave sheaf offering.
This is a more personal view of this particular event that was in the OT. Studying the passages involved have made me question the traditional view of the wave sheaf offering. It isn’t that the facts are wrong, but rather their symbolism and, therefore, their conclusions are slightly off. Notice, I said “slightly”. This is not a railing against the traditional view, and we can disagree on the symbolism without being foes, as long as neither of us are dismissing the real facts.
I do have a problem with those who rail against Jesus being the wave sheaf because He was not required to be “accepted” by the Father. I disagree with that view, first and foremost. Even if Jesus is not the wave sheaf but the high priest (and He is The High Priest, after all), even priests had ritualistic washings and sacrifices made to atone for their own sins before performing atoning rituals for others. True, Jesus had never sinned, but one thing that becomes obvious is that God tests all things, but especially us, His creation. Read Hebrews. Jesus was accepted, but not by the blood of bulls and goats but of His own blood, perfect and without sin.
Anyhow, that is all of the time I want to spend on that, even though it leads into the topic I do want to discuss.
16 Jesus said, “Mary.”
Turning around, she said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!”—which means “Teacher.”
17 “Don’t cling to Me,” Jesus told her, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father.But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father—to My God and your God.”
~ Jn 20:16-17 (HCSB)
It really does not need a whole lot of word-twisting here, as some are wont to do. Mary was excited and wanted to touch, maybe even hug, her teacher, whom she presumed dead. People want to twist this until it comes apart, but Jesus sums it up as “I have not yet ascended to the Father”. It means what it says.
Matthew also tells us that Mary was there in the morning, although he does not mention the above scene. Afterwards, we read:
8 So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they [the two Marys] ran to tell His disciples the news. 9 Just then Jesus met them and said, “Good morning!” They came up, took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus told them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see Me there.”
~ Mt 28:8-10 (HCSB)
Again, no word-twisting needed here. Hypocrites want to point out the difference between “cling” and “taking hold” of His feet, but they amount to the same thing. In one place, Jesus is saying specifically the reason Mary was to not grab Him was because He had not yet ascended to the Father, so here the same logic would have to apply. Since He did not rebuke them, the only logical answer was that He had seen the Father!
So, what does that mean?
Well, there are many things that could be written and have been written about this, but what comes to my mind today is that Jesus went home again— at least temporarily.
For 33-1/2 years, Jesus and the Father were apart. What a reunion that must’ve been! Sure, it was somber in that He had to atone for the sins of others, but now God’s perfect plan was unfolding right then and there and they were together again! Can you seriously not imagine the reception Christ would have had?
Jesus spent most of His years wandering about. He was forced to leave his birthplace as a toddler and live in Egypt. Even when his family returned to Israel, they settled in Nazareth. Evidently, that was where He spent His remaining years growing up. After His baptism, however, He traveled around, perhaps not even knowing where He would wind up at times.
20 Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”
~ Mt 8:20 (HCSB)
Where was Jesus’ home then? Not on this earth.
This really brings home the fact that this world is not our home, either, at least not yet. This “world” in this age is not our Father’s, but that of the enemy.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
~ Heb 11:13
Our home is not here, but one day we will be home. Jesus got to go home again, but of course we haven’t been there yet and therefore logically cannot return. Still, does that really take away from the joy and excitement when Jesus returns and gathers His faithful to Him?
I think not.