Alice C. Lisnley
Among Abraham’s people, the firstborn son of the cousin-bride belonged to the bride’s father’s household while the bride belonged to her husband’s household. Cultural anthropologist, Claude Levi-Strauss, noted this arrangement (1949) and observed that mother and child do not belong to the same clan in a patrilineal society. This pattern of the cousin-wife belonging to her husband's household, and her firstborn son belonging to her father's household, is the background behind important claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the only begotten of the Father by the Virgin Mary. Mary was a cousin to Joseph, so technically Jesus belonged to the household of Mary's shepherd-priest father Joachim. Mary, the virgin bride of Zion, is the fulfillment of the promises made in Genesis and throughout the Old Testament. She is the foremost saint, and through her comes the Son who is of the same essence as the Eternal Father and belonging to the priestly lines that are traced from Eden.
St. Paul tells us that the Resurrection is the ultimate proof that Jesus belongs to the Father. He also tells us that through the Holy Spirit we receive the spirit of “sonship.” In other words, the Only Begotten claims us as his inheritance and seals the claim by the gift of the Holy Spirit.
What is the significance of belonging to the Firsborn of the Father? Again, we gain insight by exploring the cultural pattern of Abraham’s people. The firstborn son received all the maternal grandfather 's or father’s possessions, territories, title and authority. Paul tells us that the saints are “joint heirs” with Christ. That means we who are redeemed share all equally with Christ our Lord and King.
Jesus means “God Saves” because in His Resurrection He tramples down death and breaks the chains that bind sinners. He claims those who He redeems, spoiling the devil.
According to the genealogical pattern, Jesus belongs to his mother’s clan. This is how the promise of Genesis 3:14 and 15 comes to be fulfilled. “And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”
On Good Friday the serpent struck the “heel”, but the serpent’s head was crushed. Through the Virgin Mary the sin of the First Eve is reversed by the Second Eve. The evil one can never claim that God has used the advantage of divinity against him, since he is defeated by a humble woman whose will co-operated with God’s will to bring forth the Incarnate One.
Having raised His Only Begotten to life from death, God honors the Son in a great wedding feast. He claims his bride and she belongs to Him for He has bought her by His shed blood. It is a bride price of immeasurable value.
The journey that began when Abraham left his father’s house in obedience to the Lord, has led Abraham’s spiritual children to the Eternal Father’s house where we share in the inheritance of the Only Begotten. We can hardly comprehend this great mercy whereby Christ our God condescends to save us sinners, but we rejoice that the Only Begotten of the Father claims us and permits us to share in His victory over death!