[Thought questions for Christ and the Law of Moses April 9, 2014]
1. Introduction. What is your attitude toward the Mosaic law? When you read the Bible through, how do the descriptions of feasts and sacrifices and other rituals as described in the Old Testament affect you? Are you ever tempted to skim past those chapters and “get on with” the rest of the Bible? Why did Jesus and His earthly family follow the requirements of the law of Moses so faithfully? In what sense(s) was Jesus a Jew?
2. Circumcision. Is circumcision today considered a religious ritual or a minor medical procedure? Circumcision is not a requirement for church membership, but many members of our church follow the procedure for males. Why? For a religious or a medical reason? Why were the naming process and circumcision for the newborn male infant combined in one ceremony? Why was Abraham so readily convinced to circumcise himself and to set forth a rule that every son born in his household would be circumcised on the eighth day? Why did the family of Jesus fully support the Mosaic law in this respect?
3. Feasts. What can you and I learn from the feasts and festivals required of the Israelites during their years as a nation ruled by God? For example, should we recognize our freedom from sin (Passover) and its consequences? What about the Pentecost celebration? Do you remember when people came to camp meeting and stayed in tents? Was that a reflection of the third annual feast of the Jews–the Feast of Booths? Since we don’t celebrate these feasts since Christ’s ministry on earth, should we still plan family and church events that recognize our deliverance from sin?
4. Jesus in the Temple. Imagine you are a parent of a twelve-year-old boy who disappears while you’re attending a major church event. What would your first words be when you find him sharing insights with the leaders of the event? Why did Jesus say to His parents that it was none of their business what He was doing in the temple? Or is that what He meant? How did Mary respond to the way Jesus defended His absence from His parents at this busy celebration?
5. Taxes. Was the temple tax a religious or a civic requirement? Or neither? Why do you think Jesus made a public statement in favor of the tax when He had no real obligation to pay it? Or was He “in favor of” the temple tax? What phrase turned Jesus’ words about the tax from wholehearted endorsement of it to a question about its need? Are you and I as willing as Jesus was to meet a lawful obligation whether we approve of its purpose or not? Or should we obey and complain?
6. Law Enforcement. In the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery, what trap did the Pharisees lay for Jesus? Why did Jesus approve of Moses’ law that called for stoning the adulterous woman? Or did He? Does God make a clear difference between allowing or ordering certain behavior? Why was Jesus a faithful Jew? Does He expect us to be faithful Jews as well?