Original Intent

Have you considered how Jesus helped others to properly understand and apply the Law by looking at the original intent of the Law? Many times He was correcting how the Jewish leadership were applying laws on the Sabbath, marriage and staying away from unclean things.

Let’s look at a few examples today:

When the Jewish leadership was upset and disgusted that Jesus would eat with tax collectors and sinners, it seems they were looking at laws about staying away from unclean things. But Jesus corrected their application of those laws by looking at God’s original intent.

Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)

As the Pharisees were harshly judging Jesus and His disciples for plucking heads of grain on the Sabbath, Jesus pointed them to original intent. God did not design the Sabbath as a merciless way to punish men. He never intended to make hungry people starve and suffering people to keep suffering on the Sabbath. That was not the original intent. God did not make the Sabbath Law first and then make man, it was the other way around, Jesus pointed out.

And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27)

The Pharisees once again came to Jesus to challenge Him on marriage. They had many competing views on marriage, especially on what Moses said in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 about marriage and divorce. Jesus took them once again to the concept of original intent. What did God design for marriage from the very beginning? That should guide any understanding and application of any law on marriage, Jesus said.

“Have you not read? …but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matthew 19:8)

As we study, understand and apply the Word of God, we need to look at the “whole counsel of God.” We can run off and apply a passage incorrectly if we don’t consider everything God has to say on the matter. That’s why Jesus often in these discussions asked the simple question, “Have you not read?” (Matthew 9:13; 12:3,5,7; 19:4; 22:31-32). It’s up to us to keep reading, studying, searching and praying for God to help us see His heart so that we can properly understand and apply His word.