Monday, January 16, 2006

Purity Laws

One of the things that really struck me as I read through Leviticus this time was just how many of the purity laws Jesus breaks. Dozens of them. From the Hemorhaging woman touching him to the Demoniac in the tombs. He sat down with the unclean and ATE with them. Every time he touched a leper or a dead person he was rendering himself unclean. He is never shown (as far as I can remember) going to the temple to make sin offerings, or any other kinds of offerings. Jesus, for most of his ministry, was unclean based on the purity laws.

That is remarkable, really. No wonder the priests of the Temple were outraged. Jesus was directly violating, repeatedly, the law that God gave Moses.

He was teaching a different law.

So, why did God change? What happened that caused God to shift from the God of justice to the God of compassion and love? In the book of Acts, Peter is told in a vision that he must now ignore the dietary laws. He is so stunned he asks God to repeat it three times. (Peter, Peter... ) This was a MAJOR shift.

So, why God? What changed for you?

I am pondering these things in my heart.



At 1/17/2006 4:43 PM, Blogger SingingOwl said...

I am pondering this too. I wonder if this is not two sides of a coin, except one is emphasized more than the other at different times? Holiness seemed to be the overarching issue...God is HOLY! But Jesus came to show us what God is like, so.....

But I don't think God changed. I think it was something else.

At 1/18/2006 12:41 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Scripture tells us that God does not change (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29). Jesus, Himself, tells us that even the smallest part of God’s Law will remain until its purpose is fulfilled (Matthew 5:18). And yet Jesus did seemingly break the Law of Moses. However we are also told that Jesus never sinned (2 Corinthians 5:21). If Jesus seemed to be breaking the Law, yet never sinned, there must be some other explanation.

Perhaps we find a clue in Luke 6:
“One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples broke off heads of wheat, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grains. But some Pharisees said, "You shouldn't be doing that! It's against the law to work by harvesting grain on the Sabbath."
Jesus replied, "Haven't you ever read in the Scriptures what King David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God, ate the special bread reserved for the priests alone, and then gave some to his friends. That was breaking the law, too." And Jesus added, "I, the Son of Man, am master even of the Sabbath." (vv.1-5 NLT)

I don’t have all the answers. But I take the Bible quite literally. It says God doesn’t change. But something has. Perhaps it’s that when God comes in contact with something, His awesome Holiness burns away all impurity and ungodliness (a la Isaiah 6:5-7 and Jeremiah 1:6-9). He could sit with the unclean because He IS the sin and guilt offering.

At 1/18/2006 3:43 PM, Anonymous Mary Beth said...

Seems to me that Jesus came to care for people and to show us that our role as His followers is to care for them, too. And the way He did that was by tossing the old rules out the window, WHEN they got in the way of His loving and caring for people.

He is the perfect offering for our sins; and once offered, the old sacrifices and rules were no longer needed.


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