Posts Tagged ‘building hedges around Torah’

1. What does Jesus say about the law in Matthew 5:17?

Going deeper: The word “law” in this passage is the Hebrew word “Torah.” In the Jewish mind, Torah doesn’t mean just law, but rather it is a system of rules and commands for right living–living in a way that is pleasing to God. Jesus’ statement that He did not come to “abolish”
was a first-century rabbinic idiom. The expression “abolish Torah” mean to misinterpret Torah–not get rid of it or replace it. To “fulfill” or “complete” Torah mean to teach it correctly. So we could translate the statement of Jesus, “I did not come to misinterpret Torah but rather to teach it correctly.” He was going to affirm Torah and clarify those areas of the law that had been misinterpreted or taught incorrectly.

2. What does Jesus confirm about the completeness of Torah and the prohibition against changes to it in Matthew 5:18?

3. What warning does Jesus give in Matthew 5:19 about disobedience of the law?

4. Copy Matthew 5:20. Meditate on this. What you think Jesus was saying in making this statement.. What does Jesus say about murder in Matthew 5:21-22?

Going deeper: This section, Matthew 5:21-48 includes six teachings, sometimes referred to as “antitheses” operate to intensify what is prohibited. This idea was a common technique among the sages and rabbis known as “making a fence around the Torah.” By this expanding out of the commandment to include the thought or intention behind it, the sages and rabbis were offering a means to keep people even further from the conduct that would violate the commandment against murder.

5. Review Exodus 20:13. What do the following passages add to your understanding of this prohibition?
Exodus 21:12-14

Numbers 35:16-28

6. What does Jesus say about making your offering in Matthew 5:23-24?

Going deeper: Jesus’ reference to “offering your gift” relates to the Temple and the sacrificial system established in Leviticus. This is further evidence that Jesus was a Torah-observant Jew and was likely speaking largely to other Torah-observant Jews.

7. Why would Jesus be adding this additional “hedge” to the requirements of the sacrifices and offerings made to God?

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