Message: The Pharisees asked Jesus why his disciples broke the traditions of the elders, so Jesus turned it around on them and asked them why they broke God’s commandments because of their tradition. The nature of mankind is to look at rules of law on a superficial level because the heart level is way too convicting and difficult. Our superficiality create loopholes within the wording to justify doing the things we want to do. Our loose and superficial interpretations tend to create our own system of sub-rules based on those superficial interpretations. Those sub-rules become so integrated within the culture that they are taught as doctrine and are upheld at a higher degree than what the law actually says so much so that we often don’t even remember what the original law was. The law of God was never meant to be interpreted this way and where it appears that Jesus was rebelling against the law when he came to the earth, he was actually refuting the manmade interpretations of the law of Moses. An example of this was their application of the command to “honor the sabbath and keep it holy.” This law which was intended for them to set aside work for that day to worship and honor the Lord, somehow became a rigid set of rules telling them that they couldn’t do any form of work. They criticized Jesus for healing on the sabbath and used things like that to build their own case against him in an effort to disqualify him. To this day, the sabbath rules apply in Israel and they even have “Shabbat Elevators” that are programmed to stop on every floor on during the sabbath so that they don’t have to break the rules by pushing a button- because that would be “work”.
Command: Get to the heart of the matter. What are these laws really about? Jesus summed it all up in just a few lines. Love the lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. If we were to really live by the bible’s definition of love, there would be no additional rules needed. We know that the word “love” as defined in 1 Corinthians 13 is patient, kind, not rude, not envious, not boastful or proud, not dishonoring or self-seeking, not easily angered, does not keep record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres and never fails. If this is was the filter that we lived by, there would be no need for interpretations and loopholes. Is what I am doing honorable, respectful, truthful?
Promise: There are tons of promises for each law that exists. “If you do this, I will do that” kind of promises. If we obey these promises at the heart level and not just at the superficial level, we will see the rewards that are promised.
Warning: If we ignore the heart level and obey rules on the superficial and man-made level, we get rigid and unsatisfying religion. There is no love in that at all.
Application: Lord Jesus! Please help me read your word and love the law at the heart level as King David wrote about. Let your law be my delight because love is the motivator of it all.