Sick of Religion? Week 4: Devotional Day 5
DAY 5 – Friday
Mark 2:20-22; Matthew 22:34-40; John 13:34
How do both the comments about cloth and comments about wineskins illustrate the relationship of Jesus to the Old Testament law? In what way is Jesus bringing in a new era?
Have you ever tried to see the picture hidden in a stereogram? A stereogram, if you didn’t know, is one of those optical illusions that look like a jumble of colors and patterns until you cross your eyes a certain way and stare past it until, almost like magic, a quasi-hologram appears to materialize into view.
Jesus is like a stereogram for the people of his day. When the Pharisees and their contemporaries looked at the Scriptures, their perspective was limited. Jesus’ life, and especially his death and resurrection, brought in bold relief a new picture out of those ancient stories and writings. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus declares that he has come to fulfill the law, not abolish it. Put another way, he’s the law in 3D.
When we ask what it is that Jesus brought that is “new” to the law, it’s actually Jesus himself. There is some notion of God’s love and patience throughout the Old Testament, but until Jesus shows up on the scene we don’t fully understand who God is. By coming in the flesh, God shows us fully his true nature and character: love.
Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection set a new pattern for our lives now. In point of fact, we only have to read Acts to see that the Church as we know it did “burst” out of the rituals and observances of the faith they were born into. Because of Jesus, and the radical love he evidenced, things like circumcision and sacrifice needed to be rethought. Instead of a people set apart by their observance of God’s law, now we are people set apart by our observance of Jesus’ life.
Today, take some time to meditate on the first phase of John 3:16, “For God so loved…” perhaps say it out loud a few times. Allow the radical and revolutionary nature of that phrase sink into your heart.