I’ve had my head buried deep in the history of Biblical Law and God’s covenants this week, finishing up some material for the Bible curriculum I’m writing, and it’s fitting that it would all wrap up here, in the very last days before we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection.
Yesterday, I wrote a response to the frequently asked question: “What does it mean that Jesus fulfilled the Law?” And while I’ve learned and studied the answer to that question plenty of times in the past, as always, writing it all out made an impact on me. The sky faded to darkness on Good Friday as I typed out the final few paragraphs of my response, and I was overwhelmed by the miracle of it.
Jesus fulfilled the Law.
He did not abolish it. He didn’t render it null. He didn’t even render it complete, as if no more obedience is necessary.
He fulfilled it.
The Law was not a list of rules from an angry Dictator-God that Jesus came to fix or replace. No, it was the framework for a beautiful covenant relationship, an invitation into God’s presence, which Jesus came to fulfill. He came to be the perfect covenant partner that Israel, and all mankind, had failed to be, and thereby mended the long-broken relationship and made way for a glorious second chance.
And finally, as if that were not enough, He laid Himself down as the ultimate atonement sacrifice to wipe the slate clean in a way that no lamb or bull had ever been able. His blood purchased a new covenant through which, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can be the faithful covenant partners our God longs for - not because of the good things we do, but through the good that He’s done.
I know the Law is rarely a favorite part of the Bible for many Christians, but I am so grateful for the teachers who have helped open my eyes to its ongoing relevance to God’s story and character. It has colored in and given shape and life and dimension to my understanding of the Gospels and the epistles in the New Testament. It, along with the entire Old Testament, is the foundation upon which the salvation story stands.
So maybe it’s not your conventional Easter weekend read, but I encourage you to consider looking back to the Law today and rediscovering what it really means that the Son of God lived, died, and rose again on your behalf. The instating of the Passover in Exodus 12 and the Law of Atonement in Leviticus 16 and 17 could be good places to start, but really, Jesus fulfilled it all - not because God has changed His standards for our holiness, but because our holiness can only ever be achieved by the Holy One Himself.