Today's readings [display_podcast]
There's something about us human beings that just doesn't like to be told what to do. We don't like rules and regulations, we frown on laws that curtail our freedoms, we turn up our noses at religious precepts which inform our actions. And so we look eagerly for someone or something to come along and wipe them all away so we can do whatever we want. Now, I'm not saying we are all criminals, but even the most law-abiding among us wants to be freed from rules that constrain us when that constraint is inconvenient or burdensome.
And so, I think, the Jews had that same sort of longing going on when they looked to Jesus. They wanted Jesus to be a Messiah of their own making. They wanted him to free them from oppression – which he would – but also to bring Israel to glory and let them lord it over the nations – which, of courses, he would not. Most of all, they wanted to be freed from the six-hundred-plus regulations of the Law and live on their own terms. And that was not in Jesus' game plan.
Not a single iota of the law would pass away, because he came to bring the law to its fruition. Therefore, blessed are we when we obey the law and teach others to do so. And when we ignore the law, well then, we are ignoring God himself, the wise one above all other gods who gives us this whole law.
Certainly, we are not constrained by some of the nitpicky parts of the Jewish law, but the heart of them is still in the heart of us. We follow the Ten Commandments, we remember that God is God and we are not, we worship God alone. Those commandments form the basis of who we are as a Christian people; they are the law that Christ came to fulfill and underscore. To the extent that we live that Law, the world may in fact be moved by our wisdom to follow Christ as well.