Wednesday, 5 October 2016

What Jesus Meant

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Saying, "the law, or the prophets" was virtually another way of saying, "The Old Testament Scriptures".

It doesn't mean that any and every point of law which you could cite at random, which Moses commanded Israel, was always meant to apply literally and unequivocally to everyone anywhere for all time until the literal end of the world! Because if it did mean that, then Jesus' own commentary about the Law has failed (because it hasn't been possible logistically to keep most of the Law since the altar and Levitical priesthood were destroyed in around AD70).

It just meant Jesus wasn't flat ignoring the Old Testament Scriptures. He wasn't acting completely independently of them. Wasn't running roughshod over them. Rather, He was in full compliance with its requirements, and was fulfilling its predictions.

The Pharisees, on the other hand, and other religious groups in Israel, were notorious for twisting the meaning of Scripture to suit their own ends - yet hypocritically claimed to be the defenders of the Scriptures! and hoped to take prime place in the Kingdom of God. Jesus warned that attitude towards God's Word wouldn't cut it!

We should all receive the Word of God with meekness - and teach others to. But that doesn't mean there weren't to come changes in what God requires. Of course there were - God Himself instituted those changes, in Jesus Himself, on the cross - and Jesus spoke of this.

He said, "This is the new testament in my blood."

He gave the apostles a new program, "Go ye into all the world and teach all nations".

He said the time was coming and now is when the true worshipers would no longer go up to Jerusalem to worship, as had been required by the Law, but would instead worship in spirit and in truth. That was something new! And He said it is the Father Himself who sought this kind of worshiper.

Jesus did introduce something new and better - but in the process of introducing it, He never broke a single point of the Law - this was the exact outcome predicted by the Law (the first five books) and by the Prophets.

There were predictions found both within the first five books, and within the Prophets, which predicted this new day. What Jesus accomplished fulfilled that - Jesus wasn't introducing something unrelated. Any commandments in the Old Testament, Jesus was never in breach of it.

Although we who believe are not obligated to Moses' commandments literally and unequivocally, our experience of salvation in Jesus upholds the Law and Prophets by showing that everything God promised came true.

Our new lifestyle which the Holy Spirit empowers us to live also carries-out the Divine nature, and all of the ethics and morals which had been illustrated and taught by the Law and Prophets.

But it doesn't mean we are literally and unequivocally obligated to Moses' commandments to the ancient Jews. We're not. That's not what Jesus meant. The Apostles placed no such requirement on Gentile believers - and they knew what Jesus wanted.

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