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Sabbath School Lessons on Christ and His Law
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 2: Christ and the Law of Moses *
Introduction: Last week we discussed natural law, the moral law,
civil law, and ceremonial law. Which one is the "Law of Moses?"
Moses delivered both the moral law and the ceremonial law in written
form to God's people when they journeyed to Canaan. However, did they
exist prior to Moses writing them down? Do they apply today? Let's
plunge into our Bibles and see what we can learn!
- Dedicated to God
- Read Luke 2:21. What happened on the eighth day to new
born boys? (They were circumcised and given a name.)
- Why? (Read Genesis 17:12. This was part of the law.)
- Whose law? What did circumcision represent? (Read
Genesis 17:9-11. It was God's command to Abraham. It
represented the fact that Abraham's descendants had a
special relationship with God. However, we find in
Leviticus 12:3 and John 7:22 that this is later
included as part of the Mosaic law.)
- In Genesis 17:9-10, circumcision is called a
"covenant" (contract) between humans and God. Why
would it take place on the eighth day, before the boy
had any ability to understand what was taking place
or consent to this contract with God?
- Read Galatians 5:2-4 and Galatians 5:6. Recall last week
that we discussed natural law, civil law, moral law and
ceremonial law. What type of law does circumcision
represent? (Paul suggests that the law of circumcision was
fulfilled in Jesus, therefore it must be a ceremonial
- Read Genesis 17:13. How can Paul tell us this law has
no value when God clearly called it "an everlasting
- Read Colossians 2:9-12. How do these verses help us to
better understand this everlasting covenant? (This tells
us that the moral law of God is involved. The covenant
(contract) between God and Abraham's descendants (the
Jewish people) was that they would promote His moral law.
As we discussed last week, this helped them avoid the
problems presented by natural law.)
- How do we, who are not Jewish, keep the everlasting
covenant with God? (Through acceptance, by baptism,
of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.)
- Read Romans 2:29. How else can we participate in the
everlasting covenant? (The Holy Spirit living in us
"circumcises" our heart, so that we want to obey God's
- Read Luke 2:22-24. What else happened to Jesus in accord
with the ceremonial law? (He was presented to God and a
sacrifice offered on His behalf.)
- How would you apply these principles to a new-born baby
today? (A dedication to God. If circumcision is replaced
by baptism, grace and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit,
then it seems reasonable to invoke all three.)
- Relating to the Law
- Read Matthew 17:24. This was a tax to support the temple.
What kind of law requires this tax? (Read Exodus 30:13-16.
This tax began as part of the law of Moses!)
- If you were Peter, how would you answer this question?
(Moses commanded it! The temple was the central religious
site. Paying that tax might be a test of religious faith.
Paying your taxes shows honesty. The obvious answer is
"Yes, Jesus pays the temple tax!")
- Read Matthew 17:25. What issue had Peter failed to
consider? (Kings don't tax their sons. If Jesus is the
Son of God, He should not pay the tax.)
- Read Matthew 17:26. What is the central religious issue
involved in paying this tax? (The most important question
for every age: who is Jesus? Is He God or is He merely a
- If Jesus paid the temple tax, what would He be saying
about whether He is God? (It would be a denial of who
- Let's put you in Peter's shoes again, should Jesus pay the
- Read Matthew 17:27. Does Jesus pay the temple tax?
- My bet is that the drachma collectors followed Peter
to the water so that they could collect. What do you
think about the way that the coin was obtained by
Peter? (This, of course, is a miracle. How many fish
are in the sea? Jesus says go fishing, the first fish
will have exact change in its mouth!)
- What does the method of obtaining the coin say
about the divinity of Jesus? (It attests to His
- Why not just say "No?" (Jesus says "so that we may
not offend them.")
- In Matthew 12:34 Jesus calls some religious
leaders a "brood of vipers." Can we conclude
that Jesus is concerned about insulting people?
(If you look at the entire conversation in
Matthew 12, the religious leaders said Jesus
was in league with demons. The temple tax
collectors seem to be simply doing a good thing
- following the law of Moses.)
- What lesson in the temple tax story is Jesus teaching us
about the law? (The temple system and its support were
about to end because of Jesus' mission on earth.
Nevertheless, Jesus goes as far as He can to avoid giving
offense, without compromising the central moral
- Does the temple tax lesson have anything to do with
Paul's teaching on circumcision? (Paul tries to avoid
"offending" new believers by telling them that they
have to be circumcised.)
- Do we take seriously the lesson of avoiding giving
offense to others who seek God? (We cannot compromise
central principles, but we should do all in our power
to avoid offending those who think they are doing
- New Unger's Bible Dictionary points out that every
festival was "connected in some way with the number
seven." There is the weekly Sabbath ( Genesis 2:2-3;
Exodus 20:8-11), the Sabbatical Year ( Exodus 23:10-11),
the Seventh New Moon (Feast of Trumpets - Numbers 29:1),
Year of Jubilee ("seven times seven years - Leviticus
25:8-12). Then there are the "three great annual festivals
of Israel," Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
( Leviticus 23:5-6; Exodus 12:1-28), Pentecost (Feast of
Weeks - Leviticus 23:15-16), Day of Atonement (Leviticus
- What lessons can we learn from these festivals which
are part of the law of Moses?
- Should we observe these festivals today? (Those that
pointed to Jesus, like Passover and the Day of
Atonement, are clearly fulfilled by Jesus. Pentecost
marks the new age of the Holy Spirit.)
- What about the rest? (Many Christians observe
to some degree a weekly Sabbath, in a few jobs
a "Sabbatical" of some sort is provided, but it
is generally not a year of rest. My thought is
that I like God's vacation schedule!)
- Is this really about vacation? (In part,
but consider the religious nature of the
festivals. We need to spend more time
resting and contemplating God. How about
- Looking Deeper
- Read Mark 3:1-4. When Jesus asks about the law, which law
is he talking about? (Both the moral law ( Exodus 20:8-11)
and the law of Moses ( Leviticus 23:3) prohibited Sabbath
- What is the purpose of Jesus' question? (He asks the
religious leaders to look at the reason why the law
exists. It exists to promote the good of humans.)
- Read Mark 3:5. Why was Jesus angry? (The religious leaders
refused to look deeper into the reason for the law.)
- Consider the Mosaic laws we have studied in this lesson:
circumcision, temple tax, and festivals. What common
thread of logic runs through the Bible teaching on each?
(Look for the reason for the law. Don't offend others who
seek God because you are fixated on the terms of the law
rather than the reason for the law.)
- Friend, will commit today to look deeper when it comes to
- Next week: Christ and Religious Tradition.
* Copr. 2014, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.