Jesus and the Law

By Fred Pruitt

Last night I caught a Jesus movie on TBN just as it was beginning. The TV guide had said it was a “superficial depiction of the life of Christ” so I was only going to catch a minute or two, to see how bad it was. But I ended up watching the whole thing, (Janis had gone to bed), raising my hands Luli style and tears streaming down my face. It’s a 1979 production simply called, “Jesus,” shot low budget in Israel with another British Jesus. But he wasn’t too much, and it was mostly scripture, very little messing with the story except to put things together differently, but what fell into place for me was this. They took the Sermon on the Mount and spread it around over several talks Jesus is giving in different places — sometimes by a creek or the sea and sometimes in a synagogue. And then it hit me.

Jesus was reenacting Moses. The Sermon on the Mount, and most of the moral tales and admonitions of Jesus, mostly in the synoptic gospels, became for all the western world the basis of a moral and just society. Jesus took the law, and yes, to those with eyes He fulfilled it in them (though it took Paul to reveal it), but he took the law from being merely a code for only Jews to live by, and put it on the whole world! He put the whole world under law!!!!

Jesus’ admonitions are impossible of fulfillment. Yet isn’t much of it the basic drive for all moral and humanistic (and I don’t mean that in a bad sense) teaching? Everybody, and I mean everybody, believes these basic things Jesus taught are the virtues of a better human life, whether or not they understand a spiritual connotation. Everybody, from New Agers to Baptists, from Buddhists to Catholics, quote Jesus and see him as either THE or A standard, albeit the highest and unachievable standard, of perfect human behavior. “Act like Jesus,” people ignorantly think.

And that’s why law is so prevalent in the world. It is the same reason He spoke in parables. Law must reign until we are ready to receive the grace, and we know what it takes. Natural man cannot see anything but the law. And he has taken it now to the extreme in every regard. The law is what they argue about on TV on the political shows. That’s what the candidates are all arguing about, and all stressing how they and what they believe and want to do are more perfect fulfillments of the law than those of their candidates. ANd of course the church, who really has no idea what to do with it. The church partly sees grace, yet cannot let go of the law, and argue and complain about each other continually in the wilderness.

Grace, union, oneness, has always appeared here and there, but I believe the whole of history until now has been the time of the law in the wilderness for the whole world, since at that time the Passover was sacrificed for the whole world, and we all started eating of Him and drinking of Him from the time of the resurrection and Ascension, after which He made Himself universally available by sending the Holy Spirit. The whole world then started marching out of Egypt through the Red Sea into the wilderness to Mt. Sinai, and have been wandering in the desert ever since.

Those who have seen and are seeing now are Calebs and Joshuas, who must continue to accompany their brethren in the suffereing in the wilderness until the whole camp is ready to go in.

What a God. O what a God. How wonderful to be known of Him. How wonderful are His tender mercies. His comfort is past understanding.

3 thoughts on “Jesus and the Law

  1. Wow, Fred…someone else who is seeing the “bigger arcs of history”.I firmly believe in the bigger arc that is going on with all the smaller personal ones.

    You’re right about law…and i guess we’ve seen nothing yet.
    Our EU has upped the ante about tenfold in its brief existence so far.
    Suing has swept in from USA. And mixing charismatic revelation with Law produces a level of Pharisaism the world has never seen. The Jews couldn’t even match it.

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