Sermon on Sunday made me think…
It’s interesting that we always talk about Jesus being the sinless atonement for our sins. I’m just wondering how we measure that statement. Sometimes it feels like we have to do a bunch of wiggling to make that idea true. Lets’ look at a couple ideas…
According to whose standards is/was Jesus sinless:
Measured against the religious laws of the day as up held by the Pharisees Jesus could not have been sinless. We often look at Jesus’ trail as evidence that the Pharisees did not have anything on Jesus. Truth is they had a lot on Jesus – otherwise Jesus would not have been a threat to them. Jesus broke the rules of cleanliness, working on the Sabbath. He contravened the prescriptions against association with women and other undesirables. He allow a harlot to perform an intrinsically provocative act. What the Pharisees did not have on Jesus was something to put him to death.
Now of course we easily dismiss the Pharisaic laws because of their own hypocrisy. But we should not dismiss them so easily. After all, their laws were the laws of the religious context that Jesus lived in. And let’s not forget that many of those same laws have been upheld over the years in the church. Working on Sunday, rules about association have al been a part of the church’s historical perspective. So why does Jesus get to break the rules and still be called sinless. None of the rest of us could get away with it. Is it because the fact that he was God that he gets to operate by his own set of laws or regulations? If that is true then how are we supposed know which laws are supposed to be followed?
But then there is that time at the temple. Did Jesus have a good reason for being angry? You bet! But the fact was that he was angry. And his anger affected other people.
He makes wine and drinks it also –
So how do we account for all that?
Jesus needs to be sinless in order for his death and resurrection to mean anything at all. But Jesus would not have and been considered sinless back in his day – shoot he wouldn’t get a clean grade in our more ‘enlightened’ age. So how does he do it?
I think that the deal is that Jesus is living a principled life. It’s not that he chose a new set of standards to live by. He made his actions match the principles that guided the intention of the laws. So in places where the laws matched his principles he followed them. Where they did not he chose other actions which seemingly broke the convention.
This makes me think that it is important to continually evaluate things we call sin to see if they match the principles that God has set up for human life…