The Law Beneath the Law
Holy One, let truth go before me, let wisdom walk beside me, let compassion live within me. Teach me more truth today.
Read MARK 10:1-16
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Christians “are called to scatter and mix, to mingle and move, to influence from a position of weakness, like a small child in a large family” (Peter Greig and Dave Roberts).
Note that there is no love in the question that the Pharisees asked (2). Like all legalists, the Pharisees are not asking out of pastoral concern or human compassion, they are looking to score points, to trap Jesus, perhaps, or to win an argument. Jesus draws attention to the poverty of their religion by pointing to the hardness of their hearts (5). The Laws of Moses are not the perfect reflection of God’s will, he suggests, but temporary rules set up because our hearts are not ready for love. There is the Law, and there is the law beneath the Law. The Law speaks of behavior; it codifies and clarifies. The law beneath the Law speaks of the heart. It sees intention; it honors humility and meekness. The law beneath the Law is love, and it is love that Jesus has come to show us. He does not abolish the Law of Moses but shows, rather, its intention. Jesus contrasts the issue of divorce, which is essentially a legal question, with the much more important issue of adultery, which is a question of the heart (11). It is what is happening in your heart that God most cares about. This is not a lower standard, but a much higher one, offering far fewer loopholes than the Pharisees had already found in the Laws of Moses.
As if to offer a visual model of the heart obedience he is speaking of, Jesus embraces and blesses the children others have brought to him (14). The faith of a child — unsophisticated, trusting, looking not for loopholes but for love — is the model God has always been looking for (15). The Law was a step on a journey. The destination is love. Let weakness, vulnerability and simple trust be our model of faith.
Even if we don’t feel drawn to someone, we need to act positively toward them. Is there anyone you need to act lovingly toward? If so, pray to do so.
Lord, if I’ve been looking for loopholes, may I look for love. May I approach You as a child, relaxed in Your safe, loving embrace.
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