Every time we open the newspaper, there seems to be a report of a new scandal. A politician taking a bribe; a billionaire who hasn’t paid their taxes; a celebrity cheating on their spouse. We may secretly enjoy reading about the embarrassment of someone famous. But it may also make us ask why we should keep the rules ourselves.
For the people of Israel, the Law was a gift that they had received from God. The Law was meant to bring about a just society, where the poor and vulnerable were protected. But in Jesus’ time, the Law often operated in a way that seemed unjust, favouring the rich and powerful. And so, people would look for loopholes, dodges and ways around the law.
Jesus takes the Law of God back to its roots. What God wants is not that his people should ‘keep the rules’ for fear of being found out, but that they should give their hearts to him. If we are disciples of Christ, we should not give way to violence, anger or lust. We are called instead to follow the example of Jesus and love our neighbour as ourselves. The law that Jesus teaches his disciples is a law of love.