HALLMARK / CHARACTER
Small beautiful ancient stones on the site of the Sermon on the Mount
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets;
I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Matthew 5:17-18 NAS
Everything Jesus was saying was radical. One disciple may have looked at another in shock while the second appeared astonished. According to all He said, they must have thought the whole law would be thrown out! But Jesus didn't always follow what the Jews considered law. He didn't perform their hand washing rituals nor hold off healing on the Sabbath. The Scribes worked out additional rules . . at least 200 more than the Ten Commandments. Their motive was to draw attention to themselves and take credit. The Pharisees were excellent at keeping all laws but did not have good motives.
Just to name one subject . . writing . . extra laws numbered almost 2 dozen according to Barclay's Gospel of Matthew. Why was Jesus upholding the law? Could it be in honor of His Father whose character the law represented?
Would the disciples be stunned or offended to learn Jesus was the only person who had ever been (or ever will be) perfectly obedient to the law? Not only obedient, but fulfilled the law in a deeper way they would neither comprehend nor be ready to comply. Jesus obeyed perfectly because we could not.
Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the Kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19-20
When Jesus said the above last sentence, the Sadduces and Pharisees could have begun to grind their teeth. He was using a known phrase from the OT because the Prophets often started off with "Thus says the Lord". Jesus was claiming to have the authority of God and be God. If hate was not already in their hearts, it reared its ugly head that day.
Jesus said He had not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill the Law. He came to bring out the real meaning of the Law. What was that meaning?
The one great principle was that in all things a man (or woman) must seek God's will. When he knows it, he must dedicate his whole life to the obeying of it.
That was the Hallmark / Character of Jesus.
What is your Hallmark / Character? What is mine?
Here in the United States I believe most of us have the Hallmark / Character of Individual Independence. That is NOT a good thing in God's eyes. Why not? Because we are to be dependent upon God.
Isaiah 53:6 says this: All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way.
Are you thinking . .
Of course I want my own way!
I think up ideas to get my own way!
I plot out how to get my own way!
Shouldn't I want my own way?
We should want God's way.
In the end, when all is said and done and we are standing before Almighty God, our life will flash before our eyes. There will be no denying, no lying, no excusing, and no rescue. God will either welcome us home or the scenario will go like this:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord', did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you:
DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS." Matthew 7:21-23 NAS