Summary: The difference between Laws and Love. One earthly and one heavenly.
FACTS: The Jews say there are 611 laws given to them directly from God. By the time you get to the New Testament times of Jesus you will find it depends on how they determine the number. Some believe there are 611 in Hebrew Scriptures and 1,050 laws in the Greek Scriptures. But some have said there were over 3,000 if you count all of them in both testaments.
The came Jesus…
Jesus was in discussion with some that were trying to entrap him. During this discussion a lawyer spoke up and ask Jesus a question.
Mark 12:28-34 (NLT)
28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] No other commandment is greater than these.”
32 The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other.33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”
34 Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
While Jesus was walking among the people during his open ministry with them we can see there is a transition going on. This transition is between what they had been taught in the Old Testament and Jesus arrival with the fulfillment of God’s Word.
There was going to be a learning curve when Jesus teaches.
*Matthew 9:14 “And no one puts new wine into old wine skins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wine skins so that both are preserved.”
LAW, fulfilled in Christ
A story is told about Fiorello LaGuardia, who, when he was mayor of New York City during the worst days of the Great Depression and all of WWII, was called by adoring New Yorkers 'the Little Flower' because he was only five foot four and always wore a carnation in his lapel. He was a colorful character who used to ride the New York City fire trucks, raid speakeasies with the police department, take entire orphanages to baseball games, and whenever the New York newspapers were on strike, he would go on the radio and read the Sunday funnies to the kids.
One bitterly cold night in January of 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself. Within a few minutes, a tattered old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told LaGuardia that her daughter's husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick, and her two grandchildren were starving. But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges. "It's a real bad neighborhood, your Honor." the man told the mayor. "She's got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson." LaGuardia sighed. He turned to the woman and said "I've got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions--ten dollars or ten days in jail."
But even as he pronounced sentence, the mayor was already reaching into his pocket. He extracted a bill and tossed it into his famous sombrero saying: "Here is the ten dollar fine which I now remit; and furthermore I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat.
Mr. Baliff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant." So the following day the New York City newspapers reported that $47.50 (2018 $’s 697.20) was turned over to a bewildered old lady who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren, fifty cents of that amount being contributed by the red-faced grocery store owner, while some seventy petty criminals, people with traffic violations, and New York City policemen, each of whom had just paid fifty cents for the privilege of doing so, gave the mayor a standing ovation.
Brennan Manning, The Ragmuffin Gospel, Multnomah, 1990, pp. 91-2.
The Darby Translation
1 Corinthians 13:13 (DBY) And now abide faith, hope, love; these three things; and the greater of these [is] love.