Summary: the law and Jesus
GOD GAVE THE LAW THROUGH MOSES BUT GRACE AND TRUTH CAME THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.
Tonight were going to take time out from the worries of Christmas
from the worries of what gifts to buy
from the dilemmas over how much we should spend on a gift for Aunty Mavis.
Because we are going to look at gifts that we can receive.
The gifts that God has given to us.
When I say that I am not referring to spiritual gifts either but the gifts that God has given to the whole world,
the gifts God has given to each one of us.
The first we’re going to look at is the law.
Now that doesn’t sound much like you’re ideal Christmas present
but it is a gift from God,
you might even say it is a love gift.
You probably remember the story from Exodus,
of how Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive this gift,
And you probably remember that this gift came in the form of two stone tablets.
Moses received these gifts from God on behalf of the whole of the Jewish nation,
infact he received them on behalf of the whole world,
you and me included.
But on the way down the mountain Moses got angry He’d almost been forgotten by his fellow countrymen and women,
and in his absence they decided they would fashion a god out of gold
a god in the form of the gods they had known in Egypt
So when Moses saw them worshiping an ornamental bovine and when he heard the cow bells ringing
He got angry
and so he took the gift and smashed it into pieces.
These people did not deserve any gifts from the most high God or so Moses thought.
God thought differently though.
In his mercy, love and compassion for us all he gave us another gift.
Two more stone tablets,
an expression of love from a living God to his people
two stone tablets for them to treasure.
And that is exactly what the Jews did
they treasured them putting them safety in a treasure box
a box that they took with them where ever they went.
when they eventually found a home they loved this gift so much that they built a home for it also
a temple to hold the love gift.
The Jews had fallen in love with this gift,
they even wrote song about it to express how much they loved this gift.
In psalm 119 the Psalmist wrote :
with all my lips I recount
all the laws that came from you’re mouth.
I rejoice in following you’re statutes
as one in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees
I will not neglect your word.
Do good to your servant, and I will live
I will obey your word.
Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
And the psalmist goes on to compose the longest psalm recorded in the book of psalms,
a psalm about this love for the law.
The law was surely not a burden to the psalmist,
but a symbol of love,
an expression of a covenant of love.
So what went wrong,
because by the time of Jesus something had gone
This once beautiful love gift seems to have become a burden to the people.
Like a beautiful rose it had once bloomed
but now it was just a dry old stick.
What happened was that despite being treasured by the people
it had also been corrupted by them too.
That old sinful nature had caused the love gift to crumble.
The two pieces of stone were disintegrating in our
People had fallen in love with the gift instead of the
the gift was always meant to point the way too God but now it had almost taken the place of God,
it had become like the golden calf,
an idol that reminded them of better times.
In first century Palestine you had too religious schools of thought about this love gift the law.
First you had the Saducees,
now these people were the conservative Jews,
the law to them was everything and everything out side of the law was ignored,
that meant they only read the first five books of the Old testament,
they did not believe that God had any purposes
outside of the law,
no eternal life,
the law was it
no more no less.
The other law school around that time belonged to the Pharisees.
These were the intellectuals the students of the law, and in the words of Jesus the hypocrites.
As a group of people they saw the laws short comings,