Text Illustrations
Tell somebody, Christianity is about a relationship, not rules.

1. Religion is about rules.

Let’s face it, religion is hard work.

* A good Muslim has to pray 5 times a day. He or she will also fast for a whole month every year.

* An orthodox Jew has to use separate sinks for preparing dairy and non-dairy foods.

* A Sikh is supposed to get up 3 hours before dawn every day to wash and pray.

* A Hindu will make an offering at the household shrine 3 times every day.

* Mormon men are supposed to wear special underclothes. When a Mormon couple have children, they begin saving for those children, because when they become young adults, they are supposed to spend 2 years serving as Mormon Missionaries. I saw some just a week ago, in their white shirts and black ties, riding their bikes in Orange City.

* Jehovah’s Witnesses are supposed to spend x amount of time each month, going door-to-door, sharing their literature and signing people up for their Bible studies.

Rules. Things were no different in Jesus’ day. The religious leaders in His day had developed a religious system with 613 laws. They chose the number 613 because that was how many separate letters were in the text containing the 10 Commandments. They found 613 commandments in the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Old Testament). They divided the list into affirmative commands (do this) and negative commands (don’t do this).

There were 248 affirmative commands, one for every part of the human body, as they understood it. There were 365 negative commands, one for each day of the year. They further divided the list into binding commands and nonbonding commands. Then they spent their days debating whether the divisions were accurate and ranking the commands within each division. [John MacArther, Matthew 19-23 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1988), 337-38.]

Related Text Illustrations

Related Sermons