Today’s reading reminds us that Jesus life and teachings must be understood in the context of the Old Testament and a society that had been carefully constructed around God’s law, which had been given to the people of Israel by Moses. Moses’ words of warning- obey God’s law or die (Deut. 30:15-18) were taken seriously by the Israelites of Jesus’ day because they were descendants of those who had survived the fall of the kingdom and the exile (see 2 Kings 25, and the book of Daniel, Nehemiah, and Ezra). Therefore, God’s law governed every aspect of their lives. Circumcision. Food. Clothing. Sex. Marriage. Divorce. Property. Tithing. Religious ceremonies and sacrifices, and the Sabbath. Even so, they had missed the forest for the trees (Matt. 23:24), and Jesus’ words to the religious leaders struck at the very heart of the lie upon which they had built their lives.
Jesus, like Moses, set the issue of life and death before them. He knew that they sought to earn eternal life through obedience to God’s law; he offered them eternal life as a gift and plainly told them that Moses’ writings were really about him, the Messiah. Jesus had come to set his people free, not from slavery to pharaoh, but from slavery to sin. He is the true Passover lamb who died for the sins of his people (John 1:29), and he is worthy of more glory than Moses because he is not just the law giver, but the author of the law itself (Hebrews 3:3). More than that, he is the fulfillment of God's law (Matt. 5:17). This Advent let us remember that Jesus is God’s perfect law incarnate, full of grace and truth, and he alone can save us and give us eternal life.
- Joey Alge
Do you put your hope in things other than Jesus?
In what ways do you try to earn God’s favor and eternal life?
Have you ever been told to do something that you really didn’t want to do? What do you do when your parents or a teacher or a grandparent tells you to do something that you don’t want to do? I bet your response was the same as the Israelites – they looked like they were obeying God on the outside, but on the inside they grumbled and didn’t understand why they had to obey. They didn’t understand the heart of God, but Jesus did.
Father, we thank you so much for your Son, Jesus.Help us remember that He is the only one would could fully obey you and fix our broken hearts so that we can live with you forever. Amen