Judging the Law Rightly

“Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all astonished. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath. Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.””
(John 7:21-24 NIV)

More and more I am seeing that Jesus just does things differently than we have thought things should be. I am reminded of Isaiah 58, where God says “Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?” (Is 58:5 NIV)
By the warping of the Law, fasting became fasting for the sake of fasting, and it was just about not eating. The Sabbath became a day when you COULDN’T do this and that, instead of a day of resting and reflecting and looking at all the things God had done in the past week and allowing Him to be the focal point and One and Only Achiever for that day.
I almost want to go back and start reading in Exodus and Leviticus, and look at every law from the perspective of God wanting to do something or show Himself through that Law. One day and the Donut Bank a guy quizzed me when I walk talking about the Babylonian exile.
“Why did God haul all of those people off?”
“Because they had turned away from God.”
“What was the main way they did that?” He asked me with a look on his face like he knew the answer and was just testing me.
“Be…cause they did not give the land a Sabbath rest every seven years. God exiled them and the land had 70 years of Sabbath rest.”
“Well why does God care so much about land?! I thought he cared about people and not land resting?”
I had to think for a minute, and he sat there and didn’t break the silence, and none of my Bible study buddies chimed in b/c I think they were afraid of getting the interrogation next! Then I thought of the answer, “Because God wanted them to know that He would provide for them if they followed His ways. It wasn’t about the land getting a break, it was about the people seeing that God would provide for them on that 7th year when they did not plant or harvest.”

That answer must have been the one he was looking for, because he laughed and we all went back to talking about God in a more conversational and less quiz way.

That conversation and this section where Jesus is telling the Pharisees to judge rightly about healings taking precedence over the Sabbath makes me want to investigate these laws. The Father did not give these laws in the same spirit that people put the ten commandments up at a courthouse, He gave them to be a magnet to Himself.

When a student of a rabbi got something in his teaching wrong, the rabbi would shout at him and tell him he had abolished the entire law by getting that one point wrong. Whenever the student got one thing right, just one little slice of understanding of the law, the rabbi would commend him and tell him that he had just fulfilled the whole law, just by getting that one thing right. (they were seriously into hyperbole)

The Law was given to draw people to God. After a sufficient time of scrambling that Law into a horrible system, God sent Jesus to fulfill the task of drawing people to God. He fulfilled the Law by showing us the intent of the Law.