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Psalm 19:7, 8
When was the last time you had a discussion about what you believe and why - with someone who believed differently than you?
Perhaps you have a friend who has challenged your view of Jesus and the Bible. I hope you do! What are you to say to someone who says, “The only reason you need the Bible - particularly the commandments - is because you have a hard heart. If you had love, you wouldn’t need the law. If you actually believed Jesus, you would live a life of love, compassion, self-sacrifice and everything else Jesus lived. You don’t need the Book. Just the Man!”
Many Christians have been sold this idea from their well meaning pastors and theologians. Jesus is the answer to the meaning of life and love. So, all you need is Jesus. The Bible - especially the Old Testament - is only useful to those who do not truly believe in Jesus. The New Testament is the Bible for true Christians. It tells the story of Jesus - and He is all we need!
When you actually study the life of Jesus in the context in which He lived, this argument falls apart. Putting Jesus up against the Old Testament is an impossibility. Jesus was a Jew and deeply embedded in the culture and context of the Old Testament. He loved the Bible of His day and quoted from it often. To reject His foundational documents and yet follow Him is clearly misguided. First century Israelites didn’t have the scriptures collated as one book but stored the many scrolls, written by many scribes and prophets, in various libraries.
The parts of Jesus’ life which were not built on Jewish-Biblical culture were outstanding because they fulfilled prophecies from the Bible in ways the Jews were yet to understand. Indeed, Jesus is the central character of the entire Bible, both Old and New Testament. To remove Him from it - and worse, to put Him against it! - is ludicrous and removes credibility of both the Book and the Man.
The purpose of the Bible is to tell the story of God's people and their interaction with Him. It is not intended to be a to do list. The Old Testament is the recorded history of the Israelites and their God. The New Testament is the story of the Early Church and her growth in identity and purpose due to the new twist in the story presented by Jesus - God in the flesh. When we misrepresent God’s Word by making it into a rule book, we drive people away. When we tell it as the grand narrative of God and His people we draw all men, women and children to Him!
The purpose of the Commandments is to show people when they are living contrary to God's love and will for their lives. The Law is a transcript of the Character of God. As we see the perfect Law, we see our own imperfection - and we seek a Saviour.
Jesus is the culmination - and redefining moment - of both the Bible and the Commandments. He revealed God through His Life and provided freedom from the Law through His Death.
Jesus is both the Producer and the product of the Bible. Human life can be neither understood or fulfilled without both the living and the written Word of God!
To Be Like Jesus - February 24