OUTWARD Compliance Vs. the INWARD Heart – Jesus’ Take On Leviticus

I studied almost 20 hours for last week’s sermon, and it STILL came up short. But it was important. Here’s the gist…

Leviticus was a guidebook for the people of God to gain PHYSICAL access to a holy God. The tabernacle was his house, and the way they were made acceptable to be in his presence was through physical sacrifices (chapters 1-7), a physical priesthood (chapters 8-10), and physical laws (what to do with diet, uncleanness, leprosy, etc.)

When they obeyed, God blessed them physically—rain, flourishing crops, peace from battle, etc.—and when they disobeyed, they were physically cursed—drought, death, captivity, etc.

It became SO cut-and-dry that the Pharisees in Jesus’ day were like the modern-day Jews of New York City, who spend $100,000 annually to keep up an 18-mile fishing line perimeter in Manhattan. Why? Because, according to their interpretation of the Sabbath laws, one cannot work (namely, carry anything) unless one is in a private residence… enclosed by a wall… even a symbolic “wall” of fishing string… no matter how large. To stay physically compliant, as long as they are within the 18-mile perimeter, they in a private residence and can do normal “work” such as pushing a stroller or carrying items.

To that, Jesus said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Despite their physical compliance, there was an infection already on the inside.

That SPIRITUAL infection was what David was getting at in Psalm 51, and what the prophets always harped on. OUTWARD compliance wasn’t keeping them right with God.

When JESUS showed up on the scene, he systematically dismantled professional religion. It wasn’t about GOING to a hill or Jerusalem to worship… it was a worship of the Father “in spirit and in truth.”

Instead of perfect OUTWARD compliance to the diet and company, Jesus ate with publicans and sinners.

Instead of uncleanness spreading to HIM when he touched the leper or when the woman with the blood issue touched him, HE spread life to THEM!

His reversal was starting to make sense in the sermon on the mount when he said, “Blessed are the pure in HEART…”

He wasn’t throwing out the physical…

He was saying, “Let’s focus on what’s MOST important here, people.” Maybe not in so many words. But HIS purpose was MUCH greater than mere social. It was eternal. “…for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8) Whoa.

He called the Pharisees beautiful on the outside. He commended their tithing down to the tiniest of every herb of their garden. But INSIDE were dead men’s bones.

And THAT’S what disturbed Jesus. That’s what fired him up.

He didn’t come to DESTROY the law and do away with all good things. Just read Matthew 5. Murder and divorce and vengeance and enemies… these (and others!) are all AMPLIFIED by going inward. They’re not REMOVED… they’re made even DEEPER!

He said, “I am not come to DESTROY, but to FULFILL.”

Everything in the Old Testament—from the LAW to the PROPHETS to the FEASTS to the SACRIFICES to the PSALMS to the STORIES of Noah and Boaz and Isaac the serpent…

These are puzzle pieces in the big picture of JESUS CHRIST.

What matters? Lotso things. But mostly Jesus.

Make HIM known as you follow his example, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”