Jesus the rule breaker



The notion that Christ was a "rule breaker" is a very naive reading of the Christian calling as CC Father reminds us here. Reflecting on this theme, he concludes:
I believe that it is only in obedience that we are able properly to cooperate with Christ's saving work, and submit to whatever He asks of us. But every force in our fallen nature and in our society and its dominant thinking, culture and values, rebels at that notion.
For me, this blog immediately brought to mind Pope Benedict XVI's words in his excellent exposition of the person of Christ Jesus of Nazareth, Volume I where he discusses the exposition of Jesus in the Jewish scholar Jacob Neusner's book A Rabbi Talks with Jesus.
"The conventional interpretation is that Jesus broke open a narrow-minded, legalistic practice and replaced it with a more generous, more liberal view, and thereby opened the door for acting rationally in accord with the given situation. Jesus' statement that "the sabbath was made for man not man for the sabbath" (Mk 2:27) is cited as evidence, the idea being that it represents an anthropocentric view of reality, from which a "liberal" interpretation of the commandments supposedly follows naturally. It was, in fact, the Sabbath disputes that became the basis for the image of the liberal Jesus. His critique of the Judaism of his time, so it is said, was a freedom-loving and rational man's critique of an ossified legalism--hypocritical to the core and guilty of dragging religion down to the level f a slavish system of utterly unreasonable obligations that hold man back from developing his work and his freedom. It goes without saying that this interpretation did not favour a particularly friendly image of Judaism. Of course the modern critique--beginning with the Reformation--saw in Catholicism the return of this supposedly "Jewish" element...
...The issue that is really at the heart of the debate is thus finally laid bare. Jesus understands himself as the Torah--as the word of God in person...The heart of the Sabbath disputes is the question about the Son of Man--the question about Jesus Christ himself."

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