Straining to reach through the crowd, a nameless woman refuses to lose her opportunity for healing. Just beyond the crowd was her miracle. Just beyond the crowd was the start of a new life. It would not be an easy task, but it was worth any discomfort to achieve the desire of her life. The woman with the issue of blood as recorded in the Gospels is our role model for this week’s lesson.
The subject of Christ and the Law of Moses is rich in historical facts and understanding of the life and times of Jesus when He walked this earth as a man. We gain insights into those days, revealing the influences that shaped the recorded history of the chosen nation.
We note the irony of those who claimed to revere the Law of Moses while seeking to extinguish the Source of the law. We see Jesus from the time of His youth and onward complying with religious laws that governed society yet not being bound to meaningless traditions that encumbered these laws.
Just like the woman with the issue of blood we will press through this crowd of facts and find life giving virtue in the hem of His garment. We’ll peer beneath the surface to find rich lessons for us today.
From His first public outing in the temple we see Jesus impacting lives. Listen to the words of the righteous Simon, holding the baby Jesus in his arms, speak of the Light that would lighten the world;
“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32
Even as a young lad of twelve He was teaching eternal lessons. His earthly parents, in innocent fellowship, lost sight of Jesus on their return home from the Passover. Days of intense searching rewarded them with finding Jesus and relieving their worst fears.
So, too, we on our journey of life are challenged not to lose sight of Jesus. In the noise of the activities of life and the fellowship of the saints how easy it is to lose sight of the purpose for all that we do. But Jesus gave his parents the answer about where to find Him.
“Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2:49
We find Jesus engaged in His Father’s business when we see Him teaching the multitude the truths of eternal life. We see Him engaged by laying His healing hands upon the sick and diseased. We see Him engaged in forgiving sinners and restoring them to the image of God. We see Him engaged while seeking to save those that are lost. His love is pointing the way. Look for Him there.
Even when His enemies sought to use the law against Him we find Him shedding light for all to see. The paying of the temple tax recorded in Matthew 17 is much broader and deeper than mere compliance with law. As always we see light streaming from all He said and did.
“Go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money.” Matthew 17:27
Imagine for a moment the scene as Peter baits his fishing line and casts it into the sea. See the tug on the line as a fish takes the bait and watch it being reeled out of the sea. See the anxious look on Peter’s brow as he opens the mouth of the fish revealing money to meet the need. Imagine your needs of the moment being met by Someone who could do such things. Press through the crowd for your needs to be met by the One who always cares and provides.
We can’t end this week without mentioning the event that signaled the importance of the spirit of the law over the letter of the law. In a taunting tone we hear the unrighteous teachers of the law, with their trembling victim before them, ask Jesus, “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” John 8:5
In His classic answer to the woman’s accusers we see a demonstration of the purpose of the law—the restoration of humanity and the implanting of divine principles into the souls of men.
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- What does “spirit of the law” mean to you?
- Is there a difference between the spirit of the law and the letter of the law? Explain your answer.
- What religious laws, if any, apart from the Ten Commandments are we obligated to today?
- Since God has promised to put His laws in our hearts, isn’t it true that we no longer need written laws for guidance? Why or why not?
- Isn’t it true that all denominational rules handed down by authorized church authorities are to be followed without question? Why or why not?
- Isn’t it true that we should no longer participate/celebrate/observe any of the Jewish feasts? Why or why not?
We close this week with an encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees and their feigned protection of religious laws. What a lesson for us all today:
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”
But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:18
Until next week…let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School!