Purpose of the Law
By Stefan Johnsson
John 7:10-24 (NIV)
10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?”
12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”
Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.”
13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.
Jesus Teaches at the Festival
14 Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach.
15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.
17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”
20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”
21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed.
22 Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath.
23 Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath?
24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
The Law of Moses can be summed up as follows: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:36-40)
The Jews forgot the purpose of the law and instead had created additional rules that made their faith based solely on works. The laws that God gave to Moses was only meant to point towards the coming of the Messiah, it was not meant to provide salvation.
Jesus spoke in verse 19 and made it clear, none, no one has kept the law. Paul echoes this sentiment in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
The Jews missed the target completely. They could not see Jesus for who he was because of Jesus healing a sick person on the Sabbath. Was this against the laws of Moses? No, it was against the additional laws and interpretations by the Pharisees and teachers of the law.
Jesus used a great example of this. The circumcision that God gave to Abraham and his descendants came well before the laws given down by God to Moses. The circumcision was meant to be done on the eighth day, no matter if it fell on the Sabbath or not(Leviticus 12:3). The law of circumcision took precedence. (Side note: Medically speaking, the blood clotting substances of the body is at its highest on the eighth day.) So when Jesus said, if this is done, how more should a person by healed and be taken care of on the Sabbath? So judge correctly, not by the standards of human law, but by God’s standards.
This is important for us because we live in a society which is easy to judge by human standards. We forget that God has a law that goes above and beyond what the society uses to judge others. We need to, as Jesus said, do the will of God first, to trust and obey God, to truly understand the teachings of God.
The law could never save the Jews, only salvation through Jesus. The Messiah whom Moses and the prophets spoke about. The Lamb of God that can take the place of us on the cross and die for the sins we should have died for. We can never arrive at perfection, only Jesus lived the perfect life. Let us focus on Jesus, and look to God for our salvation, not to works, which can never save us.
Let us be guided by the Holy Spirit through accepting Jesus into our lives as our Lord and Savior, only in this way can be see God’s perfect will for our lives.