In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross and I discuss a “fence around the law.”
— The Law is the Ten Commandments and other instructions that can be found in Deuteronomy and Leviticus.
In some ways the body of the Law may be compared to our Constitution and Amendments.
— Hebrew teachers added other instruction to protect the core body of God’s guidance. They are frequently called a “fence around the Law.”
Lawyers today have an extensive database of material that gives further guidance to the core principles laid down by the Constitution and Amendments.
Rudy and I both agree that the original intent of the “fence around the Law” was to protect the Law and to bring further guidance to God’s people.
What happens when people with bad motives use the Law and the “fence” against Jesus and his followers? That will be the topic of articles for today and tomorrow.
The Sabbath Used as a Weapon
The religious authorities were some of the first people to resist God’s agenda through his Son. At every occasion, they found a way to accuse Jesus and attempt to draw people away from following him.
Luke records the conversation like this:
— Luke 6.1-2 – One sabbath while Jesus was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them.
But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?”
Rudy Ross makes an excellent point about the sabbath. It mirrors creation where God created various aspects of the universe in six days. On the seventh day, he ceased from creating and rested.
No one could remotely charge Jesus’ disciples with creating something on the sabbath. They were rubbing together grains of wheat that had been left standing in the field. This was a perfectly acceptable behavior.
Unfortunately, the religious authorities found the actions of the disciples to be a way to further criticize Jesus.
They used the “fence” around the core teachings of the Law and interpreted the actions of the disciples to be work, which was outlawed.
They had a head full of knowledge, but their hearts were cold as ice in Alaska.
When I read the Bible, I want to identify with the “good guys,” but I need to question how I may be like the “bad guys.”
Here is a question that I need to consider. When do I use my knowledge and experience to criticize someone, rather than celebrate the progress they are making with Jesus?
This passage raises another question. Is my heart so filled with the love of God that I see the world through the eyes of the Savior?
Jesus Quoted the Bible
Jesus didn’t give the religious authorities his opinion about the behavior of his disciples. Instead, he quoted the scripture where King David acted like his disciples.
— Luke 6.3-4 – Jesus answered, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?”
Rudy explains in today’s video that the “bread of the Presence” involved 12 loaves of bread that was placed before the altar. It was replaced each week and only eaten by the high priest and his family.
When David and his companions were hungry, they were permitted to eat this sacred bread.
The religious authorities used their customs and the “fence” around the Law to criticize Jesus and his followers.
Jesus used the Bible to explain to his critics how the behavior of his followers was acceptable.
I have unfortunately been in arguments where angry people “shot” Bible verses at one another. I believe this use of the Bible breaks God’s heart.
That being said, it is important that we know the Bible well enough to support historic Christianity and our discipleship.
Cults choose one or two themes and back them up with isolated Bible verses. It is as though they turn the entire Bible on its head and make it conform to a few Bible passages.
People who have been indoctrinated by cults can be persuasive, because they have been taught how to argue their beliefs with others.
The way we can protect ourselves when we encounter cult leaders is to know the Bible well enough that we are not shaken by Bible verses taken out of context to support wrong ideas.
Another way to protect ourselves against the misuse of the Bible is to examine the spirit of the person.
The religious leaders could quote the “fence” that was around the Law, but their motives revealed the glaring deficit of their actions.
In Matthew 7.15-20 Jesus told his followers that we will know false teacher by the fruit they produce.
Here is the key question. Does the proponent of a certain behavior produce followers who look like Jesus or not? If their students look more like Jesus, we need to pay attention. If not, we do well to give them a lot of room.
Lord of the Sabbath
Jesus ended his discussion with the religious authorities with a sentence that was certain to infuriate them.
He said, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath” (Luke 6.5). Rudy and I will discuss this statement in tomorrow’s video and I hope you will read it on real-voices.com and listen to it on YouTube.
Rudy Ross is a Jewish follower of Jesus. He has devoted 30 years to the study of the Bible. He is a good friend and a strong Christian. I hope you will listen to our videos on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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