Devotional: November 18, 2020
“Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.
Matthew 5: 17-18 The Message
What is your view of the scriptures? Do you see them as Holy? How do you view the Old Testament? How do you view the New Testament? These questions are important ones for every person, and particularly every Christian, to consider.
Jesus was remarkably gracious when it came to the scriptures (and for Him, the scriptures would have been the Old Testament- the Jewish scriptures). When some Pharisees saw His disciples plucking and eating some grains of wheat on the Sabbath, they asked if Jesus was intending to break Sabbath (not observe it). They viewed Jesus as a dangerous radical, bent on destroying everything in the Jewish scriptures, and every ritual they held dear.
Here, Jesus assures his hearers that his intent is not to destroy, but to fulfill what had come before. He wants to make things complete. Inevitably, this did involve some big changes.
The Jewish sacrificial system would give way to Jesus’ reinterpretation of the offering of His life as the once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins. Rather than bring the finest of your flock to sacrifice for your sins, God brought his own Son to die for all of our sins. The principle of a sacrifice is still present, but the specifics have changed dramatically. The twelve tribes of Israel became the twelve disciples. The Jewish tradition of the Sabbath now for Christians was changed to Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the dead. We still have things in common with the Jewish traditions, like a day of rest and worship. Yet the blood of Christ washed away all the need for earthly sacrifices by becoming the one and only sacrifice we will ever need.
Occasionally, one runs across lists of odd verses in the bible, particularly Old Testament verses speaking of rituals and rules. I am suspicious of the motivations behind such lists. Often, I believe they are compiled by unbelievers looking to discredit not only some selected verses, but the entire scriptures. As Christians, our best response is to clarify that with the death and resurrection of the Lord, old things pass away, and all things become new.
All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God. Yet we must remember that Jesus declared that He was the ultimate sacrificial lamb of God. We do not need to seek any other way to heaven.
In a world which sometimes seems to believe that all which came before must be destroyed, it is helpful to remember Jesus’ example. He came to fulfill, not to destroy. Are we more known for what we are for, or for what we are against? Like Christ, let us focus on the eternal, what will last.
Thank you, Lord, for the eternal, everlasting and unbelievable gift of Your Son Jesus Christ. Help me to remember, that is only through Your grace that I am saved. Let me focus on the things that You have declared to be true. May I not find myself sidetracked by the things which the world tells me are important. Watch over me. Protect me from the world which wishes to diminish You. May I have the words to speak boldly to others about You.
With a thankful heart, I pray these words in Your Holy name. Amen