by HFH Reuvers


Moses gave Israel the Law. The precepts of Moses are in the Torah. It's a wonderful set of significant precepts and rituals. If people practise them in the right way, they form a guidance for a righteous life. But we shouldn't apply the Law too rigidly and literally. Life is too complicated for that. We would become as hypocritical as the Pharisees. Jesus perfected the Law by his preaching and example: "Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole soul and your whole intellect. This is the first and most important commandment. The second one is equivalent: Love your neighbour as you love yourself. All the prophets and the law depend on these two commandments" (Matthew 22, 34-40).
In a sense, Jesus inverts worldly relations. For example, he does so when he says we should love our enemies. He pays much attention to the sinners, because they need the most help. Finally, he himself dies at the cross for our sins. This is "a stumbling block to Jews and a folly to gentiles".

The prophets were no fortune tellers or astrologers. These men warned the people of Israel whenever it fell into idolatry. They acted ever since the settlement in the promised land: in the golden age of the kings David and Solomon, during the decay until the Jews were carried to Babylon into exile, and after that. In the time of Jesus, the Jews were expecting a Messiah who was to restore the kingdom of David. But they didn't expect a Saviour whose Kingdom is not of this world.
Yet, by his way of acting Jesus fulfils what the prophet Isaiah predicted (Isaiah 53, 5-7): "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter ..."
Time and again, Jesus says in the Gospel he has to do the will of God by perfecting the Law and fulfilling what the prophets predicted. This is one of the things that characterize him as the Son of God.