The Old and the New

We completed the Old Testament today and entered the New. I must admit that the reading is much easier in the latter. And the New Testament is even further enriched after reading through the Old. When the book of Moses was read aloud under Nehemiah, they discovered many things that they had not known. Definitely, the same happens with us!

Of all the detestable, disgusting things the Israelites were accused of, the one that churns my insides the most is that of sacrificing their children to foreign gods and eating their own children in times of famine. The final words of Malachi that speak of the turning of the hearts of the fathers to their children and vice-versa would be no small feat!

Enter Jesus Christ, Son of Yahweh, born in human likeness. Talk about expectations–they had been building up for at least 2000 years. Has any other person in history ever had so much pressure to ‘perform’ and ‘deliver?’ He was the Desire of the nations. But for sure, He did NOT fulfill all that was expected of Him. In fact, he was a disappointment, an anathema to most of the Jews. On the other hand, He did more than anyone could ever have expected! He was not who they wanted, but much more than they ever could have wanted.

Jesus’ interactions with the Law, as seen in the book of Matthew, are so revealing.

  • Jesus was very knowledgeable of the Law and Prophets; He quoted scripture when rebuking Satan. (Mt 4:4-10)
  • Jesus declared, “I have not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them.” (Mt 5:13)
  • After insisting that everything in the Law would be accomplished and no letter would be dropped from it, Jesus proceeded to either expand or adjust various commandments from the Law of Moses. Adultery is not only a physical act, but an act of the heart. Revenge (‘eye for eye’) is no longer valid; we must not repay evil with good! (Mt 5)
  • Jesus implies that some aspects of the Law are more important than others. He told the Pharisees and teachers of the law that they should tithe, yes, but should not neglect the “more important” matters of the Law: justice, mercy and faithfulness. (Mt. 23:23)
  • When challenged, Jesus crystallized “all the Law and Prophets” (Mt 23:34-40) into two commands: love God and love your neighbor.

The Jews tried to make Jesus what they wanted Him to be. They tried to fit Him into their expectations — their ‘boxes.’* What a mistake! Do we ever do the same, such as when we sing “Jesus is mine,” treating Him like an ATM, putting Him in our pocket, or viewing Him in the same category as a human lover? God help us!

~ Diane

* FOR MORE: See our friend Steve‘s re-post, “Ekklesia” from the Simple Church Journal.

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About Omondis In Kenya

Ibrahim and Diane Omondi serve on the DOVE Christian Fellowship International Apostolic Council, giving oversight to the region of Africa. They have been ministering together in Kenya since 1984 and now oversee the work of more than 100 congregations in four nations. They also give leadership to the missions thrust of DOVE Africa which includes 14 Kenyan and Ugandan missionaries serving among unreached people groups in these nations. The Omondis direct Springs of Africa, a non-profit organization sponsoring micro-finance, community development and various education initiatives.
This entry was posted in Bible, Bible Read-a-Thon, Justice and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Old and the New

  1. WOW…Reading the Bible is such an interesting activity! I totally agree that much much was expected of Jesus and especially by Pharisees, but worst of it, they neither expected him to be a lowly king- born in a manger!
    I love how NT show us that OT pointed to Christ, more than 10 times Mathew uses the word “fulfill what was written or prophesied by OT”

  2. Yes, and then… why did Paul say that Jesus abolished the law (I would need to check the reference)? Sometimes I wonder if the translation is fully corret….

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