The law (whether Jewish, US, or others) would seem to be pretty black and white. Yet, if you spend any time driving, you can quickly realize that while the speed limit is 60, only one lane of traffic goes that slowly, and even the state patrol passes others.
In the movie, The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl, there is a scene after a “negotiation”:
Elizabeth: Wait! You have to take me to shore. According to the Code of the Order of the Brethren
Barbossa: First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement so I must do nothing. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the pirate’s code to apply and you’re not. And thirdly, the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.
We often look at the “rules” (especially as we “look back” upon the Jewish rules in the time of Jesus) as rigid and unforgiving, however, there is more to the rules, than rigidity. One of the biggest objections to the rules in the time of Jesus was that they lead to the death of heart and soul. That hadn’t been the point. They were to be rules of life.
In the story of David and Bathsheba, David violated the following commandments: do not murder, do not commit adultery, Do not covet…your neighbor’s wife…
Then the prophet Nathan judges David as having violated the commandment against stealing.
So, David was guilty of violating 3–4 commandments. 2 of these violations were supposed to have earned the death penalty. Instead of death, Nathan said, “…the LORD has taken away your sin; you will not die.”
Commentators and theologians seem to agree on why; David was contrite and repented. Death was still a consequence, just not David’s death. The first son of David and Bathsheba was the blood sacrifice for the violations of the law. An innocent life paid the price.
1) Have you ever held someone to a particular standard (law), and then given yourself grace or an excuse regarding the same or similar violation?
2) Have you ever given grace or excuse to another, while holding yourself to a higher or just more rigid standard?
3) How do you think Jesus shows us how to walk between the two?