Summary: Jesus and the Old Testament Law - PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What do we mean by the Law?
What was the attitude of Jesus to the Law?
What should be my attitude to the Law?
• Silly UK Laws Quiz - True or False.
• PowerPoint slides available on request.
• TRANSITION: The passage I have been asked to speak about this morning;
• Is all about the Law.
• Obviously not U.K. silly laws;
• But the religious laws of the Jewish people.
(1). What do we mean by Law?
• The expression ‘The Law’ that we read in the gospels;
• Had up to four different meanings at the time of Jesus.
• To the religious leaders and the Jewish people;
• Would have understood ‘The Law’ in one of four different ways.
• (1). They used it to mean the Ten Commandments.
• (As listed in Exodus chapter 20)
• (2). They used it to mean the first five books of the Bible.
• (The Torah or the Pentateuch, which to the Jew is the most important part of the scriptures).
• (3). They used the phrase ‘The Law and the prophets’ to mean the whole of Scripture;
• (What we would call the Old Testament).
• (4). They used it to mean the Oral or the Scribal Law,
• In the time of Jesus it was the last meaning that caused the confusion,
• Because among the religious leaders this was their preference!
• The Oral or the Scribal Law was introduced;
• To protect God’s Law and to stop people breaking it;
• e.g. You older folk will remember;
• When we had open coal fires and they had a fire guard in front of them.
• The idea was children might touch the fireguard by accident or ignorance;
• But the guard prevented them from actually touching the fire itself.
• In the same way the religious leaders built a guard around the Law,
• They added their own rules and regulations to protect it.
• These rules were known as the Oral/Scribal law.
• The idea being people might break their rules;
• But those rules would guard them from actually breaking God’s Law.
The problem with the Oral/Scribal Law was:
• These started out as secondary to the Law of God;
• But overtime the scales tipped and they became not just equal;
• But often superseded the Law of God.
• e.g. To God’s one law, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy",
• The religious leaders added rule upon rule upon rule…
• The Mishnah (The Mishnah, the first written record of the Oral Law,)
• Listed 39 different categories of work that was forbidden on the Sabbath,
• e.g. They taught that you should not look in a mirror on the Sabbath;
• Because you might be tempted to pluck out a grey hair and that would be reaping.
• e.g. It was unlawful to wear any jewellery or ornaments on the Sabbath,
• Since this might be construed as carrying a burden.
• e.g. It was fine to spit on a rock on the Sabbath, but you could not spit on the ground,