To say that not every Jew was happy about the census and taxation which the Romans were imposing through Cyrenius would be the height of understatement: there had been other census/taxations before Cyrenius, but Mary and Joseph’s trip was Cyrenius’ first. A Pharisee named Sadduc and Judus of Gamala became zealous to lead a revolt: they both said this taxation was no better than an introduction to slavery, and exhorted the nation to assert their liberty. Basically, they instructed the people to violence by passionately convincing them that God helps those who help themselves. Josephus states “the nation was infected with this doctrine to an incredible degree.” Violent war after war ensued, as well as great robberies and murders of the Jewish nation’s principle men on the pretext for the public welfare but really for personal gain.

So, by the time Mary was ready to deliver, the new Zealot sect was well in play within the Jewish nation. They were looking for a Savior– a perfect storm.

(Josephus also recorded Judas of Galilee elsewhere, but Galilee and Gamala are on opposite sides of the river Jordon.)

Josephus: The Complete Works. The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 1, verses 1 to 10.

We see the strength of Mary as she accepts the charge of bearing the truth teller, the shower of the way, and who is life-breathed by the Holy Spirit. Her strength only matured over time and she authoritatively began her son’s ministry at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-12) by doing what all good mothers do—she set the stage for the action to take place: she alerted her son that the wine was all gone; he began his response in the salutation of the day, “woman,” denoting respect according to some commentaries; Mary told the servants to do whatever he told them to, thereby passing on the torch of authority onto Jesus and revealing her authority over the servants as well. Jesus responded in obedient respect to his mother.

Mary truly was a powerful helper (ezer).

How do the political tensions of today relate to burgeoning reactive sects such as the Zealot sect spoken of above? Who are the truth tellers of peace and love in our day?

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