The Law and The 10 Commandments Are Not Our Burden

The Law and The 10 Commandments Are Not Our Burden September 2, 2016
(c) John C O'Keefe - Use as you desire
(c) John C O’Keefe – Use as you desire

When I was in Seminary I had a Professor, a Rabbi, he was the coolest Prof I ever had. I learned a so much from him, and honestly looked forward to class, and was bummed when it was over. On the very first day of class he wanted to know what we were looking to learn. On the Evangelical member of the class said, ‘I would love to know more about the Law and 10 commandments.’ The Rabbi response was shocking for many, he said, ‘Why?’ The student looked shocked, and confused, you could see the smoke coming out of his ears as he thought, ‘How can a Rabbi ask me why?’

Because The Law and 10 Commandments are important to living as God desires us to live.” He snapped back, with a tone that demanded the Prof agree with him.

The Rabbi response was something I will never forget, he just smiled, and said, “Why are you concerned with the burden the Divine has placed upon the Jewish people? The Law and the 10 Commandments are our burden, not yours. Learn what your burden is, and grow with that.”

That was enough to get the gears in my head to spinning wildly. All night long I had to deal with the clicking in my head, as the gears where clashing against each other, and starting to fall apart. The Law and the 10 Commandments were not our burden; wow, talk about an awakening. Ever since I became a follower of the teachings of Jesus it was drilled into my head that the Law and the 10 Commandments were primary to our faith, and it never seemed to make sense to me. That simply statement opened my eyes, and started me on a process of answering the question, what is the burdens the Divine has placed upon those of us who follow the teaching of Jesus?

Many who demand that we still follow the law [and, by that, I mean the selective laws they want others to follow] are quick to quote Jesus in Matthew’s recording of the life and ministry of Christ:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” [Matthew 5:17-20]

They use this scripture as proof the law is still something we must follow. But I think they tend to ignore a very important part of what Jesus was saying, and that is, “until all is accomplished.” Jesus also claims that he came to “fulfill the law,” and when a contract is fulfilled, it cannot be opened again. – on the Cross Jesus says. “It is finished” – all had been accomplished.

While many [the more legalistic among us], will still demand that we follow the Law and the 10 Commandments, but the reality is – they’re not our burden. Paul shares this reality with us when he wrote his letter to the Galatians: “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” [5:14]. Notice, Paul says “the entire law” – not just parts of it, not just the parts we want, but the entire law is “fulfilled in keeping this one command.” Those words helped me figure out the burden followers of the teachings of Jesus have.

As followers of the teachings of Jesus, our burden is to LOVE – and yes, LOVE can be a burden.

Love is hard

Loving others is hard

Love moves us to a place where we are called to love the unlovable;
Where we love those who mean us harm;
Where we love those who do not love us;
Where we embrace the hard, the hurting, the abused;
Where we dance with those who have no rhythm;
Where we walk with those who have no idea where they are going;
Where we play with those who don’t know the game;
Where we are open to those who will speak against us;
Where we move in circles we never thought we’d be moving in;
Where we move past our comfort zone, and enter dangerous places.

Loving others is hard; yet love is a wonder.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:37-40]

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