Whatever a person “supposes” about the world is how he sees life and reality. Jesus was constantly correcting the beliefs of His generation so they could understand Him and reality. They thought Jesus was accusing them, and they supposed Moses was their defender and intercessor, just as he had been on earth when they sinned by worshiping the golden calf (Ex 32:30–-32).
Jesus’s clarification was an offense against their pride of attempting to be faithful followers of Moses’s law, even adding more rules of their own just to make sure. The truth was that Moses’ writings would be their accuser, not their defender. Moses taught the depth of their guilt, which Jesus promised to forgive.
John the Baptist pointed to Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Their worldview did not need another sacrifice for their sins; they thought they were good enough. They had missed three great truths about the law.
First, they exaggerated the commands and twisted the meanings so they could feel like they were obeying them. Their pride in their legalistic strictness and man-made rules gave them a false sense of approval.
Second, they failed to understand that one act of disobedience to a command cannot be offset by a hundred acts of obedience. Naïvely, many today also believe that their “good” can outweigh their “bad” thus gaining their acceptance before God. James wrote, “For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws” (James 2:10). If you lie once, you are a liar (ninth commandment) forever. No amount of truth–telling can undo a lie.
Third, they missed the entire purpose of the law, which was to reveal their failure as sinful people to live up to God’s standard and to point to their desperate need for a means of forgiveness outside of themselves. Paul wrote, “The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal 3:24). The law (Moses) accuses us of our transgressions so that we will flee to the Lamb of God, Jesus, for our forgiveness. Can you say, “Thank you, Jesus”?
“Lord, it is so easy to believe misconceptions or false notions about You, but teach me to understand all You have revealed about who You are and how we are to live in Your presence.”
For a year's daily devotional of these Bible studies, order a copy of the book Walking His Way at Branches Publications or order the Kindle version at Amazon.com. You can also download the App for Android Smartphones.