The Law and Jesus

Anyone who has ever attempted to read the Bible from beginning to end no doubt get stymied by the sudden stop to the narrative.  We follow Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph in the book of Genesis.  And then Exodus opens four hundred years later and tells the story of Moses.  It’s a thrilling ride to be honest.  But it suddenly stops and we are bombarded with rule upon rule, law upon law.  These rules along with the narrative in between became collectively known as “The Law”. Many Christians have asked, “In this day of grace and mercy, what place does the law have in my life?”  I wondered this for many years myself.  Do we follow it to the letter?  Surely not, because we have no temple or tabernacle to offer sacrifices in.  The Ark of the Covenant is long gone.  So, the question is, what is the real purpose of this law?

From listening to various teachers, I have been pressed to look for Jesus in everything I read in the Bible.  I immediately thought, “Surely not in those old dusty laws that make no sense.”  But I have learned not to trust my first impression of things.  Jesus said he came to fulfill the law and the prophets, not to abolish them.  What does it mean to fulfill a law?  Well, maybe that law was a prophecy itself.  What did the law point to?  Jesus!

The Law was a picture of Jesus, a picture of a sinless life.  Whenever the Bible says to follow the law, it means to follow the one who followed the law.  The Bible makes it very clear that we can’t follow the law ourselves.  To follow the law out of our own self-effort leads to death.  Jesus followed the law perfectly and it led to death’s defeat.

Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.


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