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Jesus Mastered Sin

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Jesus came to earth as the Son of Man and He who is without sin sinned so that He became the sin offering to establish the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins.

Jesus was born on earth as the Son of Man.  Since Mary who gave birth to Him was a Jew, He was born a Jew.  Therefore, He was under the Law of Moses.

Moreover, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” [Matthew 5.17]  He cannot fulfil the Law if He was not under the Law.

Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses before His baptism of water and of the Holy Spirit.  This is partly why He said to John the Baptist, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.” [Matthew 3.15]  He fulfilled the Law of Moses to show the Jews that it could be done.

Jesus was born again of water and of the Holy Spirit so that He could see and enter the Kingdom of God, which He came to establish.  For He said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again… [John 3.3]  I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” [John 3.5]

After His baptism of water and of the Holy Spirit, He started breaking the Law of Moses.

For example, He worked on the Sabbath.  For He healed the sick and drove out demons on the Sabbath.  It is written:  So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute Him.  In His defence Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.” [John 5.16-17]  So Jesus did not deny working on the Sabbath.

It is written in the fourth article of the Ten Commandments:  “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.” [Exodus 20.8-11]

Jesus broke that law:

  • When He drove out a demon on a Sabbath in the synagogue in Capernaum. [Mark 1; Luke 4]
  • When He healed the invalid on a Sabbath at the Bethesda pool in Jerusalem. [John 5]
  • When He healed a man’s right shrivelled hand on a Sabbath in a synagogue. [Matthew 12; Mark 3; Luke 6]
  • When He healed a crippled woman on a Sabbath in a synagogue. [Luke 13]
  • When He healed a man suffering from dropsy on a Sabbath in a house of a prominent Pharisee. [Luke 14]

Another example of Jesus breaking the Law of Moses:  He touched two dead girls and therefore became unclean, [Matthew 9.20; Mark 5.25-28; Luke 8.43-44] but He did not purify Himself with the water of cleansing on the third day and on the seventh day of His uncleanness.

It is written in the Law of Moses:  “Whoever touches a human corpse will be unclean for seven days.  They must purify themselves with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then they will be clean.  But if they do not purify themselves on the third and seventh days, they will not be clean.  If they fail to purify themselves after touching a human corpse, they defile the Lord’s tabernacle.  They must be cut off from Israel.  Because the water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on them, they are unclean; their uncleanness remains on them.” [Numbers 19.11-13]

Another example of Jesus breaking the Law of Moses:  He deceived the twelve apostles into drinking His blood at the last supper.  For it is written:  …after the supper He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you,” and they all drank from it.  “This is My blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you,” He said to them. [Matthew 26.27-28; Mark 14.23-24; Luke 22.20 The Testimony]  Basically He deceived the twelve into drinking His blood before telling them what it actually was.

It is written in the Law of Moses:  “Do not deceive one another.” [Leviticus 19.11]

One more example of Jesus breaking the Law of Moses:  He kept quiet and did not speak up when two false witnesses came forward and declared, “This Fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.'” [Matthew 26.61]  What Jesus actually said was, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” [John 2.19]

It is written in the Law of Moses:  “If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.” [Leviticus 5.1]

Not only did Jesus break the law of Moses, but He also taught the Jews to do the same.  For example, He taught the Jews to drink His blood.  He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.  For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink.  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in them.  Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me.  This is the Bread that came down from Heaven.  Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this Bread will live forever.” [John 6.53-58]

It is written in the Law of Moses:

  • “This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live:  You must not eat any fat or any blood.” [Leviticus 3.17]
  • “Anyone who eats blood must be cut off from their people.” [Leviticus 7.27]
  • “I will set My face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people.” [Leviticus 17.10]

By teaching the Jews to drink His blood, Jesus was teaching them to break the Law of Moses.  Therefore, by His own words, He is called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.  For He Himself said, “I tell you the truth, until Heaven and Earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.  Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven, but whoever practises and teaches these commands will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” [Matthew 5.18-19]

So why did Jesus break the Law of Moses?

On one hand, it was to be obedient to His Father.  Jesus said:

  • “…I love the Father and do exactly what My Father has commanded Me.” [John 14.31]
  • “…I do not speak on My own accord, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it.  I know that His command leads to eternal life.  So whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say.” [John 12.49-50]

Jesus had to be perfectly obedient to His Father so that They could establish the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins.

On the other hand, Jesus broke the Law of Moses to master sin.  One cannot master sin unless one sins, just like one cannot master tennis unless one plays tennis.  Jesus mastered sin to show Cain and his descendants that it could be done.  The Lord said to Cain, “…if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” [Genesis 4.7]

Jesus showed and explained the mastery of sin through the breaking of the fourth article of the Ten Commandments, which is, do not work on the Sabbath.

While He was teaching in a synagogue one Sabbath, a man was there whose right arm was shrivelled. Some of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law asked Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” [Matthew 12.10]  Jesus said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?  How much more valuable is a man than a sheep!  Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. [Matthew 12.11-12]  Which is lawful on the Sabbath:  to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill? [Mark 3.4]  I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath:  to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” [Luke 6.9]

Therefore, it is lawful to do good and to save life on the Sabbath even if it means working on the Sabbath.  It may sound contradictory.  On one hand you are breaking the Law, but on the other hand it is lawful to do good and to save life.

The mastery of sin is to fulfil a greater purpose.  It is not a license to sin.  It is not practising sin to master sin.  It is breaking the law to fulfil a greater purpose.  Without the greater purpose, there can be no mastery of sin.

In the case of Jesus breaking the Law of Moses regarding the Sabbath, He did it to do good and to save lives and to heal.  He did not break the Sabbath without reason.  He broke the Sabbath to drive out an evil spirit from a demon-possessed man, [Mark 1; Luke 4] to heal a man who had been an invalid for 38 years, [John 5] to heal a man with a shrivelled hand, [Matthew 12; Mark 3; Luke 6] to heal a man’s whole body, [John 7] to set free a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years, [Luke 13] to heal a man suffering from dropsy, [Luke 14] etc.

Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” [Mark 2.27-28]  Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath because He has mastered the sin of working on the Sabbath.

One cannot start to master sin until one has fulfilled the law first.  That is why Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses before His baptism of water and of the Holy Spirit.  For soon after, He started breaking the Law of Moses, that is, He started mastering sin.

Despite Jesus breaking the Law of Moses, He is still a Man of truth, for He said, “…he who works for the honour and glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” [John 7.18]  Jesus works for the honour and glory of His Father who sent Him.

Nevertheless, the mastery of sin is not without consequence, for there is punishment for disobedience.  The Lord said, “…if you will not listen to Me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject My decrees and abhor My laws and fail to carry out all My commands and so violate My covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength.  You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.  I will set My face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.” [Leviticus 26.14-17]

Since Jesus broke the Law of Moses and did not repent, He had to be punished for breaking the Law of Moses.  That is how He was defeated by His enemies who crucified Him.  And that is how He could die, for the wages of sin is death. [Romans 6.23]  Yes, on one hand He did lay down His life on His own accord, but on the other hand the word of God applied to Him, for He was still under the Law of Moses then.  It is two sides of the same coin.

The Father did set His face against Jesus.  For at the end of the three hours of darkness on the cross, Jesus said, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani” (which means “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”) [Matthew 27.46; Mark 15.34]

Jesus was cut off from the Law of Moses at His death.  He was raised from the dead and declared as the Son of God by the Holy Spirit. [Romans 1.4]  And He is coming back as the Son of Man.

By Jocelyn Wee

Copyright Information:  NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION [NIV]  All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®,
NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved worldwide.  www.zondervan.com

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