CHRIST AND THE LAW OF MOSES Lesson 2 for April 12, 2014
BORN UNDER THE LAW “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born[a] of a woman, born under the law.” (Galatians 4:4) Jesus was born in a Jewish family. Joseph was a just man (Mt. 1:19) and Mary was blessed among women (Lk. 1:28) They obeyed the law of Moses when Jesus was burn, just as God had commanded.
JEWISH FEASTS “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.” (Luke 2:41) Jesus celebrated the Jewish feasts in the law of Moses since He was a child (and Purim and Dedication)
“Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.” (Luke 2:46) JESUS IN THE TEMPLE “For the first time the child Jesus looked upon the temple. He saw the white-robed priests performing their solemn ministry. He beheld the bleeding victim upon the altar of sacrifice. With the worshipers He bowed in prayer, while the cloud of incense ascended before God. He witnessed the impressive rites of the paschal service. Day by day He saw their meaning more clearly. Every act seemed to be bound up with His own life. New impulses were awakening within Him. Silent and absorbed, He seemed to be studying out a great problem. The mystery of His mission was opening to the Saviour.” EGW (The Desire of Ages, cp. 8, pg. 78)
TEMPLE TAX “When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.””(Matthew 17:24-27) That tax was meant to support the temple (Exodus 30:12-16). It was not mandatory as tithe was, but was considered to be a religious duty. Should Jesus—the Son of God—pay taxes to His Father?
“While Jesus made it plain that He was under no obligation to pay the tribute, He entered into no controversy with the Jews in regard to the matter; for they would have misinterpreted His words, and turned them against Him. Lest He should give offense by withholding the tribute, He did that which He could not justly be required to do. This lesson would be of great value to His disciples. Marked changes were soon to take place in their relation to the temple service, and Christ taught them not to place themselves needlessly in antagonism to established order. So far as possible, they were to avoid giving occasion for misinterpretation of their faith. While Christians are not to sacrifice one principle of truth, they should avoid controversy whenever it is possible to do so.” EGW (The Desire of Ages, cp. 48, pg. 434)
JESUS AND THE LAW OF MOSES (I) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) Jesus accused the Pharisees of repealing the law of Moses with their tradition. They invented alternatives to honoring their parents (Mark 7:9-13) The Pharisees accused Jesus of denying the law of Moses, since He didn’t accept divorce—except in the event of adultery (Matthew 19:3-9) If Jesus dictated the law to Moses, how could He deny it? Jesus set the right approach in this case.
JESUS AND THE LAW OF MOSES (II) “they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”” (John 8:4-5) Jesus didn’t condemn the adulterous woman. Did He break the law of Moses? He actually supported the law. He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (Jn. 8:7; Dt. 17:7) On the other hand, Jesus mercifully found a legal “trick” to avoid the sentence. Two witnesses were needed to pronounce death sentence (Dt. 17:6). The woman could not be condemned after all the witnesses had left.
“The Lord does not save sinners by abrogating his law, the foundation of his government in heaven and earth. God is a judge, the guardian of justice. The transgression of his law in a single instance, in the smallest particular, is sin. God can not dispense with his law, he can not do away with its smallest item, in order to pardon sin. The justice, the moral excellence, of the law must be maintained and vindicated before the heavenly universe. And that holy law could not be maintained at any smaller price than the death of the Son of God.” EGW (The Review and Herald, November 15, 1898)