Sunday, 17 July 2016

Jesus, the Torah, and You

Jesus indeed kept the Torah.

He indeed expected the Jews of that time to keep it.

But He evidently did not mean by that there was not to come any change in the required way of worship in the near future.

For example:

He said the time was coming and now was, when worshipers would no longer be required to go to this mountain, nor to Jerusalem, as had been required by Moses.

He said the time was coming when true worshipers would worship in spirit, not in externals, as required by Moses.

He said He was giving a new commandment. If the new commandment was exactly the same as the old commandment, then it's not a new commandment, and there would have been no need for a new commandment.

He said He was making a new covenant, which Jeremiah predicted would not be according to the covenant which God had made with Israel when He brought them out of Egypt.

While Jesus' three-and-a-half year ministry was exclusively to Jews under the Law, and while He at first commanded His disciples not to preach in any Gentile cities, after His resurrection He gave the Apostles a new commission which involved all nations.

The Apostles who had been with Jesus understood Jesus' intentions better than anyone - and yet their sermons recorded in the Book of Acts didn't consist of simply teaching the Torah. They preached the Gospel - the death and resurrection of Jesus!

They also decreed that Gentile believers in Jesus should not be obligated to become Observant of Moses' Law. This they did, without breaching what they understood Jesus' intentions to have been.

Many Jewish believers in Jesus still kept the Law. Being Jews also themselves, the Apostles sometimes went along with Jewish customs too, after the cross, but they explained why - it was not because they had to, but just to be all things to all men, so they could win some.

And of course after the destruction of the Temple around AD70, it became impossible for anyone to literally carry-out Moses' Law the way Jesus had and the way He expected Jews to - even if they wanted to carry it out!

So it is evident that Jesus' statements about the Law were not intended to mean that you and I today must literally be carrying-out Moses' Law.

Jesus' overall intention was to introduce the New Covenant - of course He introduced it without personally breaking any point of the Old Covenant Law in the process.

If only the Jews also had had a heart of obedience to the Old Covenant, it would have led them to understand and embrace Messiah and the New Covenant once He came. That had been the very objective of the Law!

But those who did believe and embraced Messiah and the New Covenant, were really complying with the intent of the Law and Prophets. Their new way of life and worship empowered them to fulfil all of the ethics and morals of the Law even more effectively than the Law itself ever empowered men to! The life of discipleship wasn't an entirely unethical, a-moral lifestyle.

I think that was Jesus' overall intent. And I think that's the way the Apostles applied it, this side of the cross.

Not that I understand everything adequately though, of course.

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