ישו פירש את חוק משה
Jesus came as light to a world in darkness – to reveal God. Not a new God – the same God of love, mercy and kindness He was from the beginning.
Jesus explicitly says He was living under the Law and not one tittle would pass until all was accomplished – meaning His death, when the veil was ripped in two and animal sacrifices were replaced with His own life of sacrifice. Jesus showed how wrongly people had handled God’s word. An ‘eye for an eye’ should have always been overridden by the greater commandment “Love your neighbour as yourself” – thus Jesus could say ‘do not resist an evil person’ rather than practice ‘an eye for an eye’. These were the teachings He was advocating whilst still under the Law.
Jesus showed the hierarchy of the commandments. All the Law and Prophets hung on the two greatest commandments –
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matt. 22:37-40
Jesus expected Nicodemus to interpret the Law as He did – by being born again – not born a Jew.
If God commanded Moses to exterminate everyone without mercy, then why was this law broken (with approval) before they even conquered the land? On the surface, Deuteronomy 7 said to show no mercy, destroy totally and make no covenants or marriages with the inhabitants of the land.
“You must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons” Deut. 7:2-3
Yet the 2 spies made a covenant with Rahab, showed her mercy and she married into Israel and became the ancestor of Jesus. The unusual inclusion of foreign women in the genealogy of Joseph (Jesus’ legal guardian) is for us to ponder. A point is made by including Rahab and Ruth in the Matthew 1 genealogy of Jesus, and also Uriah the Hittite – none of these people would be there if all the inhabitants of the land had been destroyed – not even Jesus.
Jesus advocated showing mercy, and it’s only by God’s mercy we will be saved. Consider events in the table below which seem to contradict the surface teachings of THE LAW
The beatitudes of Matthew 5 show how Jesus interpreted the Law of Moses as it should always have been applied – mercy over judgement. “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy”. Matt 5:7
Mercy and truth didn’t begin with Jesus in the New Testament – they began with God in the Old Testament
“You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. You will perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in days long ago.” Micah 7:18-20
The God of the Old Testament was the same as the God of the New. Jesus came as light in the days of darkness to declare God as people should have always understood Him –
“No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.” John 1:18
As ‘Beloved Disciples’ we should also declare God and Jesus if we are ‘in the bosom’ of Jesus as the Beloved Disciple was
There was at table one of His disciples in the bosom of Jesus, whom Jesus loved John 13:23…17:20 I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message (Beloved Disciples reveal Jesus)
We need to understand how to declare God.
HEIRACHY OF THE LAW
Jesus didn’t set out ‘Doctrines to Follow’ in a list – that is what man does, and falls into disputes over. Jesus declared God by showing us principles based on the two most important commandments and the ‘weightier matters of the Law’ – justice, mercy and truth – these are spiritual commands.
Sacrifice was part of the Law, but Jesus showed that mercy took precedence –
If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. Matt 12:7
David understood what God required –
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire – but my ears you have opened Ps 40:6
Paul also saw past the letter of the Law to its greater and spiritual meaning –
“But he is a Jew, who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Rom 2:29
The Law was righteous if applied in the right way, by the Spirit –
That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Rom 8:4
The ministry of Elijah is to turn the heart of a man to his neighbour. This was the problem when the prophecy of Malachi was written – the Jews were casting out foreigners, even sending away their own children, they were not loving their neighbour, only fellow Jews. Justification for this perhaps came from a poor interpretation of Lev. 19:18
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself”.
Some Jews thought that a neighbour only applied to ‘the sons of your people’
– thus the question to Jesus “who is my neighbour”. Jesus showed that even despised Samaritans were good neighbours. He showed by example that He had fellowship with those others despised. He sat at table with ‘sinners’ – He shared the Passover with a known thief and those who would betray Him and desert Him. He undoubtedly shared it with His mother and all the women left out of the records. It was to be ‘one of the 12’ who betrayed Him as opposed to the many others present in the large upper room at the Passover event which was for all to attend.
John the Baptist declared that God didn’t care about literal Jewish lineage and could raise children to Abraham from the stones. The same message needs to go out now – to love our neighbour and not despise others.
Mal 4:5-6 Septuagint version: Behold, I will send to you Elijah the Tishbite, before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes; who will turn again the heart of the father to the son, and the heart of a man to his neighbour, lest I come and smite the earth grievously.
The message of Elijah and Jesus is to be inclusive, not exclusive – to love your neighbour as yourself. The Law needs to be understood through the lens of Jesus to gain a fuller understanding of God, who Jesus declared. The New Covenant was not about doing away with the Law of Moses – but fulfilling it. Jesus was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”. John 1:29
The God of the entire Bible and creator of all, is so far above our understanding we can’t fathom it – yet He is kind and merciful even though we aren’t deserving of it.
See also: Elijah was a Gentile