Why was Jesus such a threat to religious people? A lot of it was because He seemed to be breaking the rules of their religion. God said, “Don’t do any work on the Sabbath.” Religious people were very strict in deciding what actions constituted work, so they could be sure they didn’t break that rule.
They still are, today! In Jerusalem, Orthodox Jewish leaders have decreed that pushing elevator buttons is work. Consequently, the hotel elevators are programmed to stop at every floor on the Sabbath. But Jesus didn’t seem to care about or obey their rules about the Sabbath. There were no elevators, but Jesus sure pushed a lot of buttons, especially on the Sabbath – healing people, walking too far, and picking grain to eat.
When religious people are threatened by people who don’t obey their rules. If they can’t make them conform, they throw them out and badmouth them so others won’t be corrupted. That’s what they did to Jesus (and much worse).
You can see why they got the idea Jesus didn’t respect the Scriptures. But they were wrong – wrong about the rules and wrong about Jesus’ attitude toward the Scriptures (in those days called “The Law and the Prophets).
That’s why there was much scratching of heads when Jesus said:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 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.” (Matthew 5:17-18)
How could this teaching fit with Jesus’ apparent disregard for the rules of the religious? Chew on that and try to figure it out. Next time we’ll try to unpack what it means to “fulfill” the Law.