Summary: The commandments are meant to crush us...and then draw us to Christ.
Christ and the Commandments
Rev. Brian Bill
I heard about a guy who bought a new refrigerator and didn’t know what to do with his old one so he put it in his front yard with a sign that said, “Free to good home. You want it – you take it.” For three days the fridge sat there without even one person looking at it. He decided that people thought it must be too good to be true. So he took the old sign off and made a new one: “Fridge for sale – $50.” The next day someone stole it.
There’s something within us that seeks to do what we’re not supposed to do, isn’t there? As we’ve been learning in our “Stone Tablets in a Wireless World” series, we’re all lawbreakers.
The 10 Commandments are not like rungs on a ladder one must climb in order to get to heaven. Instead, the commands ultimately point us to Christ. Galatians 3:24: “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” One of the most important uses of the 10 Commandments is to show sinners their need for the Savior. I like what John Calvin wrote: “Moses had no other intention than to invite all men to go straight to Christ.” By the way, it is essential to preach the law in order to reach the lost. People must know they are sinners before they will seek out the Savior. We’re going to see how Jesus did that today.
But before we do that, let’s focus on how God’s people responded to the giving of the commands. But before we get to that, let’s review the commands one more time.
1: Hold up one pointer finger - point to the sky (one God; no other gods)
2: Hold up two pointer fingers – have one bow before the other (no idols)
3: Hold up three fingers – place over mouth (don’t take God’s name in vain)
4: Hold up four fingers – place on cheek as if to nap (Sabbath rest)
5: Hold up five fingers – place hand over heart (honor parents)
6: Hold up five fingers on one hand and the pointer finger of your other hand – turn pointer finger into a “gun” and aim at the other hand (don’t murder)
7: Hold up five fingers on one hand and the pointer and middle finger on the other – intertwine them by putting the middle one over the pointer to show that they are bonded together (no adultery)
8: Hold up four fingers on one hand and four on the other – using one hand grab the other four fingers (no stealing)
9. Hold up four fingers on one hand and five on the other – move the four up and down as they face the five to show that they are lying or bearing false witness about others (no lying)
10. Hold up five fingers on each hand – pull fingers toward you (no coveting)
After receiving these commands, the people responded rather strongly in Exodus 20:18: “When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear.”