Martin Luther King Jr. and the Torah of Moses

With Grandsons Asher and Ezekiel King (named in honor of the late doctor) at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington DC.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. While I claim to be no authority on the man, I have always been inspired by his speeches and have a great admiration for his work to achieve social justice and equality on behalf of his people.

I am a student and teacher of Scripture, and so from this perspective I wanted to share something that I discovered several years ago. My studies and teachings have often followed the Annual Jewish cycle of readings from the Torah of Moses. Time and again I have noticed interesting points of congruence between current events and the stories contained within the words of the Torah portion. Several years ago as I prepared my class on the portion of Scripture that deals with the Exodus from Egypt (Bo – Exodus 10:1 – 13:16), I immediately thought of Martin Luther King, Jr.

As it turns out, the week that Dr. King was born, all over the world, Jewish people were reading Moses’ words to Pharaoh – “Let my people go!” Like a modern day Moses, Martin Luther King Jr. would devote his adult life to a struggle for freedom for his people. Did these words carry in the wind into the ears of a small baby who would grow up to speak them again to the oppressors of his own generation? I leave it to the reader to ponder.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed on April 4th, 1968 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The night prior he would deliver a message that once again connected his life’s work to Israel’s greatest prophet Moses. Listen to the final speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He would be killed the next day.

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