Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Understanding Jesus

Can Matthew 5:17-18 be used as a basis for insisting on keeping Jewish feasts, sabbaths and food laws?

With any Bible verse I try to ascertain: 

1) the intended meaning in the original setting, to the original audience; and 

2) any possible application to us today.

Often the two are not the same.

Like when I was a primary school student, my teacher told us to keep all the school rules. As a pupil, I had no doubt she meant every word of it literally!

Decades later I discovered my teacher on Facebook, and I messaged her thanking her for insisting that I follow the school rules wholeheartedly while I was a student. 

And you know - she never asked me whether I'm still keeping the school rules! 

Likewise Jesus meant every word of Matt.5:17-19 literally, to them at that time. It was an appropriate attitude towards the Law to expect from His Jewish audience at the time, none of them Gentiles, all still under Moses' Law, waiting for the New Covenant. 

But that wasn't intended to mean that they - nor we - would be required to keep all of Moses' laws into the New Covenant and for all time.

Jesus was also known to say the scheme of things was to change in the near future.

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