Sunday, December 18, 2011

Matthew's Dreams, Luke's Visions, and Pilate's Wife's Dream

When we read the Christmas narrative in the gospels, we see that Matthew writes about dreams and Luke writes about visions. Luke says he has perfect knowledge about the events around our Lord's birth, but he doesn't include everything. As John writes in his own gospel, "there are also many other things that Jesus did which are not written in this book." So John mentions the raising of Lazarus for instance. But the others leave that out. So Luke is concerned with Jesus, the son of Man, so he doesn't include anything having to do with wise men coming and bowing to Jesus or with Herod wondering if Jesus is king of Israel. Luke leaves out the Wise Men, the star, Joseph's dreams.   But he talks about Jesus being wrapped in "swaddling cloths" (which were clothes used to swaddle corpses, the only thing Mary had on hand.) He talks about the events in Mary's cousin's life. He is the only one who talks about the familial relationship of Jesus to John.

So hubby and I were thinking about Pilate's wife. Yeah, i know...that's Easter. But hey, Easter and Christmas are connected.

On the night before the day Jesus was to speak to Pilate, Pilate's wife sends him this message:

"Have thou nothing to do with that good man, because I have suffered many things in a dream because of Him."

Claudia Procula is not the only one who had visions and dreams about Christ. I tend to think the man who tired his colt -- on which no man ever sat-- probably had a dream of some kind. (Since the disciples were utterly unaware of this colt being tied up. And would probably have argued with Jesus that young colts aren't easily ridden until they're broken in.)

Back in the day, people took dreams seriously.

The value given to dreams and the value given to one's wife is shown in this dream. A wise wife whom one listens to, a wise wife who hears from heaven, is a wife one should listen to.

Pilate is known in history as being very rationalistic and tough. (Of course history had forgotten all about him and people were saying the Bible made him up -- just like they said the Bible made up Ur of the Chaldees, the Hittities, David, etc...until archeology proved the Bible right)

Why should such a man trust his wife's words? This is the guy who mingled the blood of the Galileans with their sacrifices. First, his wife is Claudia Procula... daughter of a big guy in Rome. But secondly, he totally believes and trusts his wife. Has his wife had dreams before?

We see that he honors his wife in that he's trying his best to have nothing to do with Jesus. He even uses the Israelite "washing of the hands" bit to link Jesus with the sacrifice of sins in the Torah.  

A wise wife who has dreams should be honored. Dreams and visions should be honored.

No doubt people in the governor's court knew about Jesus. Josephus wrote that one of Pilate's children had been healed by Jesus earlier. I'm not sure of that. And the gospels record that Herod's steward was one of the disciples of Jesus. So maybe Claudia was following all this. Or maybe she wasn't.

What I like about this is that she is told something about our Lord. She's a complete stranger but she is given a dream of him. In many ways, Claudia Procula is like the wise men. She is outside of the covenant of Israel. yet she is given a truth. This is happening all over the world today. Moslems in many cultures are having dreams of Jesus. This little child born on Christmas was sent by God to draw ALL to him. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

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