Christ in the Laws of Justice and Mercy (Exodus 23:1-9)

In these 9 verses, the 8th and 9th commandments are expounded as they relate to practical life.  The command not to bear false testimony applies to false reports, malicious witnesses, favoritism, in fact it even relates to bribery.  Furthermore, the command not to steal is related to refusing to help a neighbor or enemy, or his livestock in need as well as to oppression.

So where is Christ in this?  He teaches very similar things but applies it not just to animals and livestock but to actual enemies in the Sermon on the Mount,

Simply let your yes be yes and your no, no…Do not resist an evil person…Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… (Matthew 5:37, 39, 44)

In fact Christ even tells parables about the need to care for the needy in the Good Samaritan (Luke 10), or the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 26).  Again these all point to Christ both in the content of his teaching but more importantly in his person.  He is the embodiment of truth.  He is the giver of life.  Christ alone loves so that we can love in response to his concern for us.  Justice and mercy are at the heart of Christ and his ministry.  He died for justice, condemned by false witnesses, so that the truth might reign victoriously in heaven never to be trampled again.  His life was stolen in order that all life might be redeemed who take refuge in him.  Even the practical applications of the commandments give us reason to reflect upon Christ, his teaching and ministry.

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About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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