Jesus taught that His life and teachings were the fulfillment of Torah. Instead of obeying Torah, Jesus’ called his disciples to obey Him, and he summed up all the 613 laws in the two greatest commandments (“love God, love others”). Keep these two, and all the rest will follow.
I have written elsewhere that Jesus passed on to his disciples his very way of life as the perfect “embodiment” of Torah. I want to have some fun for a moment. The Mishnah is a collection of early rabbinic sayings of the sages around the time of Jesus (published ca 200 CE), and one entire section is devoted to the celebration of the Torah.
If Jesus is the perfect embodiment of Torah, what happens if we insert “Jesus” or “Jesus’ Way” every place we find “Torah” in the Mishnah’s ‘Sayings of the Sages’? I think you’ll find it quite fascinating.
Below I’ve included the original saying followed by my new “Christianized” variation in BOLD. In a couple cases I have included other scriptures for comparison.
Are you ready? Watch this.
1:4 — “Let your house be a gathering place for sages, wallow in the dust of their feet, and drink in their words with gusto.”
Let your house be a gathering place around Jesus, wallow in the dust of His feet, and drink in his words with gusto.
1:6 — “Set up a master teacher for yourself, and get yourself a fellow disciple.”
Set up Jesus as your master teacher, and find yourself a fellow disciple.
1:12 — “Be disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving people and drawing them near to the Torah.”
Be disciples of the Kingdom, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving people and drawing them near to Jesus.
2:2 — “All learning of Torah which is not joined with labor is destined to be null and cause sin.”
All learning of Jesus’ teaching which is not accompanied by good works is destined to be null and cause sin.
2:7 — “Lots of Torah, lots of life; lots of discipleship, lots of wisdom; lots of counsel, lots of understanding; lots of righteousness, lots of peace.”
Lots of Jesus, lots of life; lots of discipleship, lots of wisdom; lots of counsel, lots of understanding; lots of righteousness, lots of peace.
“If one has gotten teachings of Torah, he has gotten himself life eternal.”
If one has gotten the teachings of Jesus, he has gotten himself eternal life.
2:8 — “If you have learned much Torah, do not puff yourself up on that account, for it was for that purpose that you were created.”
If you have learned much of Jesus’ Way, do not puff yourself up on that account, for it was for that purpose that you were created.
2:12 — “Get yourself ready to learn Torah, for it does not come as an inheritance to you.”
Apply yourself to learning Jesus’ Way, for it does not come automatically as an inheritance.
2:14 — “Be diligent in learning Torah, and know what to reply to an Epicurean.”
Be diligent in learning Jesus’ Way, and know how to answer skeptics/unbelievers.
3:2 — “If two sit together and between them do not pass teachings of Torah, lo, this is a seat of the scornful…but two who are sitting, and words of Torah do pass between them—the Presence is with them.”
If two people sit together and don’t talk about Jesus, this is a shame…But whenever two are sitting together and discussing the words of Jesus, the Divine Presence is in their midst.
Jesus said, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am present among them” (Matt 18:20).
3:3 — “Three who ate at a single table and did not talk about teachings of Torah while at that table are as though they ate from dead sacrifices (Ps. 106)…But three who ate at a single table and did talk about teachings of Torah while at that table are as if they ate at the table of the Omnipresent, blessed is he.”
Whenever three eat together at the same table and talk about the teachings of Jesus, they sit at the table of the Almighty, blessed is He.
3:7 — “He who is going along the way and repeating [his Torah tradition] but interrupts his repetition and says, ‘How beautiful is that tree! How beautiful is that plowed field!’—Scripture reckons it to him as if he has become liable for his life.”
Here Jesus stands in sharp contrast with the sage by encouraging his disciples to let nature be a teacher: “Behold the flowers of the field” or “Look at the birds of the air” or “Consider the mustard seed” or even cursing the fig tree.
3:16 — “If there is no learning of Torah, there is no proper conduct. If there is no proper conduct, there is no learning in Torah. If there is no wisdom, there is no reverence. If there is no reverence, there is no wisdom.”
If there’s no learning of Jesus’ Way, there’s no Kingdom conduct. If there’s no Kingdom conduct, there’s not knowledge of Jesus’ Way….
4:6 — “He who honors the Torah is himself honored by mankind. He who dishonors the Torah shall himself be dishonored by mankind.”
He who honors Jesus is himself honored by mankind. He who dishonors Jesus shall himself be dishonored by mankind.
Jesus said, “Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mk 8:38).
4:10 — “Engage little in business but occupy yourself with Torah. Be humble in spirit before all men. If you neglect Torah many causes for neglecting it will present themselves to you; but if you labor in Torah then God has abundant reward to give you.”
“Don’t get distracted but seek first Jesus’ Kingdom Way. Be humble in spirit before all. If you neglect Jesus, many other distractions will present themselves to you; but if you seek first Jesus, then God has abundant reward to give you.
5:8 — “A sword comes into the world because of the delaying of justice and perversion of justice, and because of those who teach the Torah not in accord with the law.”
Violence comes into the world because of the delaying of justice and perversion of justice, and because of those who don’t teach the Way of Jesus accurately.
5:22 — “Delve and delve into [Torah], for all is in it; see with it; grow old and worn in it; do not budge from it, for there is nothing better.”