Educated people today are laughing at the “Jesus myth” and pointing out its pagan origins, and well they should, because Christianity as we have come to k now it is as pagan as Zoroastrianism and Mithraism, or the mythology of Greece. What even the professing Christians don;t get is that Jesus was Jew. He studied Jewish laws, he taught in Jewish synagogues, and for the Jews, “Laws ‘R Us”.
Jews didn’t like him, especially the Pharisees, who were the leading legal experts of the day, because he called the hypocrites and children of the devil. He threw moneychangers out of the temple, and even made a cord from drapes to beat them out of the temple. Certainly not your “Jesus child, meek and mild”.
But what we call the “beatitudes”( beautiful attitudes) shows us some important things about Jesus and law:
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
“For verily i say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled”.
Pretty simple. It wasn’t done away, but “fulfilled”, every jot and tittle. Does that mean that we are bound forever under law with no recourse for our own defense?
Absolutely not. That was the whole point of jesus’ teaching. If he, by his life, could “fulfill” the law, so can we. But how? Didn’t Jesus and Paul combine to say that we are under grace, and not under law? of course they did, and the reason is amazingly simple.
If a king, or a governor, or a president or a congress happens to pass a law, and then seek to pass judgement on you, they were bound by the very same law to examine every “jot and tittle” of that law in order to convict!
How do I know that? Two chapter over, Matthew 7:1:
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
As you can plainly see from the chapter, anyone who judges you for any reason had best be sure his own house is in order. If you walk into court, and the judge says “I’m not on trial here”, he’s a damn liar, because he is under oath before God. he stands under the watchful eye of God, and he’d best know his stuff.
Romans 2:1:”Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doeth the same things.”
The big argument over “law and gracre’ is that paul taught grace alone, while James, the brother of Jesus, taught works. Notice, right from the start, James didn’t mention “law”, but “works”.
James 2:10: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
Notice, the argument is not the “disagreement” between Paul and James, because James just agreed with Romans 2:1. You cannot judge another by law, ANY law, without also being subject to that same law yourself.
Yet notice the verse in James 2:14:
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? …Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone”.
Again, notice, not “law’ but “works”. What works? How about James 127:
“Pure religion and undefiled before God is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictin, and to keep himself unspotted from the world”.
That’s it! The essence of “pure religion”! No big disagreement, no argument. James 2:8:
“If ye fulfill the royal law according to scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well”.
You can take those same scriptures and apply them to the teachings of Paul, who in Romans 7:4 and other scriptures writes that we are ‘dead to the law” by the body of Christ. Dead to the law, yet Jesus said every jot and tittle shall be fulfilled. How? By knowing and using the law against those who would accuse you! If any judges you, then you have the right to look at that accuser and question him/her.
This is known as your right to face your accuser, no matter who that accuser may be. Where does it come from? As Jesus said in Matthew 5, it comes from “the prophets”, especially Isaiah 50:8:
“Behold, the Lord God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me?”
The judge, in courtroom cases, is under oath before God. The principle that “The Lord God shall help me” means that the accused, the defendant, is under protection of God, which is why the accused cannot be compelled to take the oath.
Also Isaiah 54:17:
“..every tongue that shall arise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the lord”.
This should be simply connected to the concept of being “dead to the law” as Paul writes. All those who profess to serve God are under the protection of God. “Their righteousness is of me”, and NO judge under oath to God can demand that ANY person admit to guilt , or be in any way held guilty without first facing two legitimate accusers(Deuteronomy 19:15) and having those accusers prove harm or damage. All crime, wrote Blackstone, shall include harm or damage. The judge and prosecuting attorney are both under oath to God, and they are bound to recognize the ‘righteousness” of each person that comes from God! No person can be compelled to be a witness against him/her self!
This right against self incrimination, admitted by the Supreme Court, has found its foundations in the Bible(Miranda v Arizona, footnote 27) coming from Maimonides, who calls it a “divine” principle of law.
When Jesus “fulfilled’ the law, therefore, it was there as our protection to k now and claim with full knowledge of its power! It is a law which is a “vision of all”(Isaiah 29:11), and is NOT to be “shut up” to the people(Matthew 23;13, Luke 11:52).
“..Shall the thing framed(law, constitution) say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?”(Isaiah 29:16).
The works of Jesus, the teachings of Jesus, the freedom Jesus offered, was about LAW .
Whatever judgement you pass on others, you shall be judged according to the law you use. This applies to all levels of society.
If you have doubts about this, look at Luke 22:67. In that scripture, Jesus is interrogated by the priests.
“Art thou the Christ?” They ask. “If I tell you, ye will not believe, and if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go”.
There was Jesus demanding his right to face and question his accuser. The priests continued:
“Art thou then the son of God?”
Jesus answered, “Ye say that I am”. In other words, Jesus was merely pointing out that he was being accused of that, and they had nothing but their own accusation for prosecution. Jesus exercised his right to remain silent.
So they sent Jesus to Pilate, telling Pilate that Jesus was “perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar”. In other words, they accused Jesus of telling them not to pay taxes to Caesar.
“And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews?”
Again, Jesus said, “Thou sayest it”. Jesus merely repeated Pilate’s accusation. By law, Deuteronomy 19:15, for any offense, there had to be two witnesses , NOT the priesthood, and NO the state, and Jesus merely reminded both the priests and Pilate of that fact. In modrern terms, Jesus was saying ‘That’s what you say, now prove it”
We see the same thing in John 18:19-23. The high priest asked Jesus about his doctrines and his disciples, and Jesus answered,
“I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue. and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
“Why askest thou me? Ask them which heard me(two witnesses rule)..behold, the know what I said.”
Jesus, according to “the prophets”, was demanding to face an accuser.
The n one of the officers hit him, and Jesus said, “If I have spoken evil(challenge to free speech), bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?”
In other words, “If you judge my words, show me what was unlawful. Prove it by direct accusation, specific accusation, of facts”.
Jesus therefore paid the price of law, without accusers, without witnesses, without proof. A s a consequence, we have made a man the symbol of faith in God, while completely ignoring the very premises for which he was killed!
In our society today, we routinely make laws to judge, to accuse, to condemn, and those accused are told that their rights come second to the compelling interest of the state.
The man who died so we could be ‘dead’ to such laws is worshipped, while we serve men who obey laws written “by rote” (Isaiah 29:13, RSV) or by the “precept of men”, has died in vain. The very meaning, and power and depth of freedom by law which he gave us is ignored, while we worship Easter rabbits and men with White beards , and yule logs, and garbage. The sacrifice and offering of worldly freedom, here and now, is put to shame.