John 7: Law or Life?

“Look here,” replied Jesus.  “I did one single thing, and you all were amazed.  Moses commanded you to practice circumcision . . . and you circumcise a man on the sabbath.  Well, then, if a man receives circumcision on the sabbath, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, how can you be angry with me if I make an entire man healthy on the sabbath?” (7:21-23)

Let’s remember something: the Pharisees were the religious ones in Jesus’ world.  And, yet, they are the ones who had the hardest time accepting Jesus.  For them, everything came down to the Law.  There are ways to go about the work of God.  There are forms and patterns.  There are boundaries and limits.  All of these laws ensure that life happens in the most controlled manner, and order brings blessing.

Yet, one can become so controlled by Law that the point of the Law is missed.  Order becomes more important than blessing.  The point of Law is to bring Life, but this can easily be forgotten when we make Law the point itself.

This is where the Pharisees had allowed themselves to get to.  Their glorification of the Law was now the point.  All that matters in a legal conundrum like whether sabbath or circumcision trumps the other is which law is more important.

Jesus tells them they have missed the point entirely.  The point is Life.  It is always Life.  Law exists to bring Life, preserve Life, promote Life, and reward Life.  So when our applications of Law stand in the way of Life, we have missed the point.

What do you think?

Categories: John | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “John 7: Law or Life?

  1. Melanie

    I think it’s easy to see glorification of the law in the Pharisees and not so easy to see in myself. When I get wrapped up in following rules, I don’t have to think as much. In that way, rule following becomes a sort of mindless existence. I don’t have to see–really see–people or be confronted by their circumstances, don’t have to make any decisions, don’t have to weigh two good options and choose between them. The formulaic religion is definitely easier in many ways. It’s easy to see why people fall into choosing rules over life.

    • Absolutely! You have hit the nail on the head.

      A few years ago a friend in my Sunday School class at church declared honestly that there is a big part of here that would just prefer to have a checklist of religious dos and don’ts to follow. That would make it a whole lot easier to do day-to-day. I recognized that day that there was immense truth in what she said. She spoke for many of us that day.

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