At our church this morning we took Communion, and our pastor was previously teaching us about the Ten Commandments and the Law of God in his sermon. I had a few thoughts while sitting in service and I would like to share them.
Last year I attended a wedding and the wedding reception. The pastor came to the wedding reception and prayed before eating, which was fine, but before the mic was taken from him he decided to tell a joke. He said that because he was an ordained minister and because there were elders in the room, any alcohol consumed that night would be considered Communion. This received raucous laughter from many, but a look of disdain came over my face. A friend of mine told me to “chill out” because it was just a joke. I am all for jokes and cracking wise every now and then, but there are certain things that are not meant to be taken as a joke and I would include the death of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in that category. Not only was it a ridiculous joke the pastor told to the celebrating people, but it was borderline heretical. The alcohol consumed was not Communion and the vanity and flippancy of the remark was irreverent and foolish.
When we took of Communion this morning, I had the Law on my mind and when Jesus said that he came to fulfill the Law.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5.17
I can think of two ways that Jesus fulfilled the Law, but first I must express a reason for the Law. The Law expresses the holiness and righteousness of God in such a way that removes God from fallen humanity. In like manner the Law condemns humanity because no one on earth can keep the Law. In God’s holy righteousness, the Law condemns the unrighteous, and demands a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people.
Jesus fulfilled the Law in at least two ways. The first way he fulfilled the Law was by obeying it completely. Not even Moses, the one who wrote most of the Law in the first five books of the Bible, was exempt from punishment for transgressing the Law. Jesus, living a perfect, sinless life fulfilled the Law. The second way Christ fulfilled the Law was by accepting the punishment of the Law. Everyone who transgresses the Law deserves death and God’s wrath and everyone has transgressed the Law. So Jesus, having never broken the Law, took it upon himself to bear the punishment of the Law, namely, death on the cross. Now, faith in Jesus Christ is the only way one can have the punishment of the Law and God’s wrath removed because he is the only one in history to have fulfilled the Law.
The life and death of Jesus Christ is the most serious event in all of human history because all of human history is dependent upon it. My fate, and yours, is contingent on whether or not we accept Christ as the sacrifice for our sins and the fulfillment of the Law. This is no joking matter, in fact it can be taken two ways that honor Christ. One, we weep. We weep for the sacrifice of Christ and what he had to endure because of our sinfulness. We also weep for those who reject this saving grace and choose to suffer under the Law and thereby receive the wrath of God. Second, we rejoice. We rejoice for the life and death of Christ because by it we can live in grace and live in the Law freely. We also rejoice because he lived and died knowing what was going to happen and he decided you are worth it.