specific stuff and heart issues
SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 22
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” [John 1:17]
I am still wrestling with the specific laws that came through Moses, and trying to find Jesus in them.
Moses includes specific, detailed regulations for maintaining ‘law and order’ (we may dispute the laws, but it was how their society was regulated).
Jesus seems to take a different approach, not micro-commanding specific situations but looking to the heart.
Returning lost items, cross-dressing, mixing seeds or fabrics or work animals, accusing one’s spouse of adultery, rape or consensual sex?
I guess all of these issues were very real, and had implications for daily living for the Israelites.
But to find Jesus in this?
Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’ [Luke 12:13-15]
Jesus did not set Himself up like Moses as the articulator of specific laws for the church.
It’s not that Jesus was unconcerned about justice or unsympathetic.
But He did not dwell on the specifics, He directed the questioners attention to the heart – the underlying motivation.
He addressed the heart issues, and assumed that we would have the Spirit to help us work out the details.
The application of the Law of love is what we are to work out with the Spirit’s help, and it will vary in specifics by culture and context.
Some of the issues that Moses addresses are more relevant or serious than others.
Building a fence around your balcony is one thing, raping a girl or falsely accusing your spouse is another.
Although we need laws and courts to address these things, Jesus rightly notes that the real issue is the status of our heart.
That is where all this other specific stuff flows from.
This is the real issue, the real need.
This is why more than anything else we need Jesus – to be born again.
Lord, change my heart, not just my behaviours. With my new heart, and Your Spirit, then I can start acting and reacting as I ought to.