On this third Sunday of Lent, we continue to explore by trying to hear the Scriptures deeply, the ways that we are to respond to the call of Jesus at the beginning of Lent: “Change your lives. The reign of God is at hand.” And today’s lessons really offer us a couple of significant, and indeed difficult, ways that we have to try to change.
The first lesson today from the Book of Exodus has revealed to us God’s commandments and the law, the Torah, by which the Jewish people entered in, made a commitment to follow that law of God, and entered into a covenant with God. “I will be your God, you will be my people,” and the people would show their acceptance of this covenant by fulfilling the law that God spelled out for them.
And later on, when Jesus came, the law had deteriorated in many ways, and the system had become very legalistic. And we remember from various parts of the Gospels how Jesus seemed at times to disregard the law, to transcend the law, to act some ways even against the law. But at one point, he explained to his disciples: “I have not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.” And if we listen just to one commandment today and go on to explore the Scriptures a little bit, we see one of the ways in which Jesus was fulfilling the law, going beyond what the commandments say….