As I read the story of the woman accused of adultery, many questions came to mind. More specifically, what Jesus wrote in the sand, although it’s never explicitly cited, many scholars believe He wrote something related to Jewish law at the time and how this related to the accusers.
Researching this a bit further, I discovered that The Talmud states there are 613 commandments (mitzvot) in the Torah. These commandments are divided into two sets, 248 Positive Commandments (do’s) and 365 Negative Commandments (do not’s). However, the Talmud does not provide a list of these commandments. To organize these commandments, several great Jewish scholars have compiled a complete listing of these mitzvahs.
Although they all agree on the vast majority of the commandments, they tend to disagree on many of them. The disagreements are not about whether these mitzvahs are actual commandments but rather if specific commandments are independent commandments or part of another commandment. I then thought about all of the U.S. rules and laws. According to specialists, trying to tally the number of regulations is nearly impossible.
Most laws are in The Statutes at Large and the United States Code. The Statutes at Large includes all the federal laws passed by the U.S. Congress. However, it does not account for new laws, some amending existing laws; and others repealing old laws. It also does not include any case law or regulatory provisions that have the force of law.
The United States Code is a compilation of laws arranged by subject and arranged by Code, which has 51 titles in multiple volumes. Like Statutes at Large, it also does not include case law or regulatory provisions. The list is so exhaustive that in 1982, the Justice Department failed at its attempt to tally up the total number of laws for each specific subject area. Ronald Gainer, a Justice Department official, said, “you will have died and been resurrected three times, and still not have an answer.”
If all of these confusing and exhausting, it is. Trying to follow each of the 613 commandments or every written U.S. law is impossible by human standards. These stringent requirements by Jewish leaders were the issue in Jesus’ day. For this reason, Jesus said he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill the law. This, so that each of us may find the freeing grace and forgiveness only found in Him.
Answer and Journal the Following
Read and meditate on Mathew 5:17.
What rules or regulations do you live by in the hopes you will find favor with God? Pray and ask God for revelation.
Meditate / Memorize:
Determine how you will accept God’s grace and mercy of forgiveness. This does not call us to live recklessly but rather, doing our best to honor Him with our life.
Share what you’ve learned with someone else.