series: Red Letter City
date: May 22, 2016
teacher: Jacob Bender
scriptures: 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, Matthew 5:27-32, Matthew 19:1-9, Genesis 2:24, Genesis 2:18, Genesis 1:31, Isaiah 1:8, 1 Corinthians 7, Malachi, Jeremiah 3:8, Hebrew 4:15, Isaiah 61, Leviticus 16
In that day, there were two schools of thought that dominated their culture… Two Rabbi’s who lived just before Jesus’ ministry, and they each had two very different yokes. Two very different interpretations of the scriptures, and a lot of the debates in that day, which Jesus was essentially throwing himself into the middle of, in the sermon on the mount… basically were asking this question…
which yoke is it?
Is it Hillel?
Or is it Shammai?
Hillel was always the more liberal one… the burden was extremely light, his yoke was incredibly easy, and normally erred on the side of peoples welfare. He was immensely popular, and was at one point the president of the Sanhedrin (which was like the Jewish Supreme Court).
The other well known Rabbi was Shammai, who tended to be much more conservative… more strict in his interpretation.
So the people would read this verse in Deuteronomy… and they would consider the Ketubahs that they signed their name on…
And what people wanted to know is: what gets me out? Because only a rabbi had the authority to get you out of your marriage, so the question is, “on what grounds will you give me a certificate of divorce?”
And Hillel’s yoke essentially said: indecency is indecency. If she spoils a dish that she is preparing, you can leave. If she burns your toast, and you want out, I will sign your certificate of divorce. Basically his interpretation says, “if you want out, just get out. I will give you a certificate of divorce.”
it was very lax.
But Shammai held a much more strict interpretation. He said, essentially, “no, we can’t do that to women, you can’t throw them out because of burnt toast or because of a bad day… you can only divorce your wife if there is marital unfaithfulness.”
So the people in that day knew what these two rabbi’s thought, and they wanted to know, what does Jesus say?
series: Red Letter City
title: The Law
teacher: Jacob Bender
date: April 24, 2016
scriptures: Matthew 5:17-20, Luke 24, John 16, Matthew 11:29, Romans 7:7, Romans 7:13, Galatians 5:4, Matthew 23, Acts 15, John 1:14, John 19
One of the key questions to understanding the sermon on the mount, is the order of the sermon.
Is it coincidence that Jesus first gave us the beatitudes, speaking a blessing over the broken people who were there with him, before telling them that they were salt and light?
was it laid out in advance?
I am not sure, but I don’t really get an image of Jesus going into his sermons with an outline. I think its probable that everything he said was incredibly timely and that he discerned what it was the the people needed to hear next, and I think that its very likely that he said what he said here about the law, because he realized that these people were beginning to go somewhere in their minds.
again, you have to consider the crowd. Just take the disciples… the bible says that they were often slow to understand. they were uneducated fishermen… beyond the uneducated fishermen were a group of outcasts who had just been told that they are blessed… that they are salt and that they are light.
Could it be that these things were already getting to their heads?
He says “do not think…”
did he get the impression that they had begun to think this?
Jesus has brought a brand new, upside down Kingdom, and with it he has promised the marginalized crowd on the outskirts of the mountain and his ragamuffin group of disciples, that they were ultimately going to be the image bearers of hope.
Could it be that these people began to think in their minds, that everything he was teaching meant he was replacing the law with himself… and that in the new role he had just given them, of being salt and light, meant that they no longer needed to follow the law, but instead needed follow this new teaching.
So right away he brings them back to reality. He says “I didn’t come to do away with the law. Heaven and earth will pass away before the law does… I came to fulfill the law!’
I am sure they were thinking, okay, awesome, glad we got that out of the way. Now lets go back to our beards that we can’t cut, our side burns we can’t trim, the foods we can’t mix together, and the 613 laws that we have spent our whole lives trying to keep even though we know that it is impossible for anybody to ever keep them all perfectly… Why would we have thought that he came to do away with those laws? Silly us.
He only is claiming that he will fulfill them.
"oh... much better... and to think I actually thought he was saying........"
and then its likely they had another moment… one of those “Wait a second!” moments.
Fulfill the law? Is this guy crazy?!!!????!?!!?!?!?!!!!?
The law was not something that the Hebrew people thought needed to be fulfilled. They thought the law was a book of rules that they were bound too. They didn’t understand that they all pointed, as did the rest of the bible, to the coming Messiah. and so for him to come here and say, “I am going to fulfill the law” they would have been totally, utterly, shocked.
but not only the law… but the prophets as well! For those of you who have been joining us at Equip as we have been studying each beatitude in depth, we have been talking a lot about Luke chapter 4, when Jesus said that he had fulfilled the first half of what the Prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 61… and how the crowd was shocked by that statement.
But here, Jesus is making, without a doubt, the boldest statement anybody could ever had made in that culture.
He is saying in this moment… “I am going to fulfill the entire thing.”
Title: The Decalogue
Teacher: Jacob Bender
Date: September 13, 2015
scriptures: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 1:1-3, Exodus 11, Exodus 19:17, Deuteronomy 5:7, Exodus 34:28, Hebrews 1:1-2, Hosea, John 1:1, John 1:14
The word we translate as “commandments” is the Hebrew word dabar, and it really has a much simpler meaning than you would think. It means “words.” So the Hebrews said it this way, “The Ten Words” – or like we talk about in this teaching, they called it a ten word Ketubah. It was the terms of their marriage.
In the Greek, the Ten Commandments are “deka logos” – again, on the surface, it means, “the ten words” – many of you who grew up in a Catholic tradition or Lutheran or any more traditional denominations, you have probably heard of the ten commandments referred to as “The Decalogue.” And this is where get this term from. From “deka logos.”
So “the Decalogue” is a pretty famous name for the Ten Commandments, and it is the way the Greeks translated it.
Well, deca, as we said means ten, and logos which we just said means word, comes from the word… “Logue” means logic… and in the Greek it is the principle behind reality. You know the phrase “it’s only logical….” Well that may be a better way to look at the commandments… It’s really pure logic. It’s more of a reality than it is a law.
When you think of laws, you probably think of things like these:
Things like “No skateboarding” – but if you are a skateboarder, most likely, that sign is not going to stop you. Unless there is a police officer right there or someone of authority who can enforce the regulation that the sign is placing on you, then it is just a sign. Its more like a request that should you choose to not obey, may be met with a consequence of some sort.
A speed limit sign represents a law.
A “Do not Liter” sign represents a law.
But these, these are realities:
When you look at it this way, rules seem nice, don’t they? Rules you can break. Most rules you can screw up some times, and even if you do get caught, you will pay a price, in most cases do your time, and move on.
But with these, there is no slipping through the cracks… There is no “NOT getting caught”… and in fact you may not walk away at all. And if you do walk away, there is permanent damage.
And that is the Ten Commandments. Each and every one of these, if you do not follow them… You are going to crash. You are going to get burned.
You are going to hurt yourself. You are going to hurt your community. It is going to destroy you. Not because God is mad at you because you did something he said not to do so now you are getting punished… No, it’s not like that.
These things in and of them themselves are toxic.
Dr. Frank Seekins was the first one that I heard use an example like this, he gave the example of a speed limit sign vs. a low clearance sign and the differing consequences of ignoring the two… and in fact it was that description that inspired this entire series on the Ten Commandments that we are calling “Realities.”
So we hope that you will join us over these next 8 weeks as we look at an ancient text, hopefully through fresh eyes.
This ebook is a transcript of a multi-part teaching by Shane Willard. In it, he makes an amazing correlation between the five parts of a Jewish wedding, and the process that God brought the people of Israel through leading up to giving them the Ten Commandments. Pastor Shane is a friend of my Pastor in New York, and has been a guest in our church there. This low-priced ebook will be an amazing resource to you.
Dr. Frank Seekins is one of the leading authorities on Hebrew word pictures alive today. He did an amazing teaching about the Ten Commandments in word pictures, and this message “The Ten Realities” is in part the inspiration behind the series we are doing and the perspective which we are coming at this classic passage of scripture. “The Ten Realities” is the second teaching in this video, so to watch it you would either need to skip ahead, or first watch his teaching on honor.