Lenten Devotional #19 • Justin Whitener

Break the Law

Read Exodus 32:7-14 & John 5:31-46

Exodus 32 is one of my favorite passages of the Old Testament.  To quickly summarize chapter 32, Moses is on Mt. Sinai meeting with God about the 10 commandments when the people of Israel grew impatient and decided to melt all their gold to create a golden calf to worship.  God commands Moses to go down the mountain to see for himself and God considers just starting over with Moses.  Moses pleads with God for the people of Israel, but ends up breaking the stone tablets the 10 commandments were on upon seeing the people of Israel.  Moses and the people of the tribe of Levi end up killing about 3,000 men.  Moses then scolds the people of Israel about their sin and goes back up the mountain to plead for forgiveness to God and remake the 10 commandment stone tablets.  Moses literally broke the stone tablets that the law was written on and the people of Israel broke their promise to follow and trust God.  God gave consequences to Israel, but he still forgave them!

In John 5, we read Jesus laying a foundation for an argument like a brick mason or a lawyer.  Statement by statement and brick by brick, He lays out His argument to the Jews.  One of the greatest qualities of integrity is being a man/woman of your word.  Jesus begins by showing His integrity and saying that He is man of His word and follows God’s calling only.  In Jewish law, being your own witness was not enough and was not recognized as sufficient.  However, the Jews Jesus was speaking to and us today can and should trust Jesus at His word alone because He is enough.  

Then He calls His first witness, John the Baptist.  John proclaimed Jesus and John was the candle compared to the raging fire of Jesus.  John did baptize Jesus, but also was a witness to who Jesus was and Jesus’ importance.

Jesus has just gained a large following by performing a few miracles.  The miracles that Jesus performed also bear witness of who Jesus is and who has sent Him!

Jesus then calls the expert witness, God Himself.  Jesus says, “the Father who sent me, He has testified of Me.”  Unfortunately, Jesus also says that these people have never “heard his voice” nor “seen Him” nor “know Him.”  

Jesus then drops the bombshell.  The Old Testament that these people know so well, point to Jesus, but they don’t see it!  They believe that the scripture itself will save them, but it was all to point to the fact that Israel couldn’t be faithful to their God and couldn’t follow the law that He had set for them.  Therefore a redeemer was needed and the Old Testament pointed to this need.  

In His closing remarks, Jesus has basically said, Jesus’ testimony of Himself is not enough for these people.  John’s testimony while pointing to Jesus was not enough.  Jesus’ works and carrying out God’s plans were not enough.  God Himself was not enough for these people.  The Old Testament writers have pointed to Jesus, but they refuse to see or acknowledge it.  

They are stuck in their ways and have put Moses on such a pedestal that their hope is in the law they cannot obey and in a man who helped lead Israel, but because of his own sin and disobedience couldn’t make it to the promised land.  Jesus came from a better promised land, lived God’s will without blemish on earth, died and rose again to return to Heaven.  

God used Moses to bring law to Israel in the Old Testament, but this only showed the need for a savior.  Jesus came to obey this law, fulfill this law, and break this law of the Old Testament.  He tore the veil and now we have direct access to our God!  

Justin whitener