His detractors accused him of being a lawbreaker. And by some measure he truly was. But Matthew’s gospel, intended for a Jewish-Christian audience, wanted to portray Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law and the continuation of Israel’s story, rather than a break from it. So with Jesus’ own declaration that he came to fulfill the Law, he was also challenging his listeners to a deeper sense of faithfulness, not merely to the letter but to the spirit of the Law and the heart and mind of the Giver of that Law.
The showdown on Mt. Carmel between Elijah and the prophets of Baal was intended to push the children of Israel off the fence they were straddling. It was a spectacular show of God’s glory and power, sufficient to convince anyone who was still undecided about which God to serve. In our own lives, we need not come to such a fiery show of glory and power to convince us to choose the God and Father of Jesus Christ. But in smaller decisions, we will need to discern the heart and mind of the Giver of the Law, not merely rely on what the law says.
It is a recurring issue with civil laws which are often pitted against the Constitution and the framers of that foundational document which sits at the heart of our democracy. It is a tension that challenges us to get off the fence. Either we choose the letter of the law or the spirit of the law.
Jesus invites his disciples to a much higher standard, that we would grow in intimacy with the Giver of the Law. Any other standard would fall short of fulfilling the Law.
This mass was offered for the repose of +Bill Toomy.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020