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Wednesday, June 9, 1999

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St. Ephrem

2 Corinthians 3:4-11
Psalm 99
Matthew 5:17-19

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jesus' impossible demands

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets." —Matthew 5:17

In the Old Testament, the Lord told us to obey 612 commandments. In the New Testament, Jesus did not abolish even the smallest part of any of the letters of these commandments (Mt 5:18). In fact, Jesus added several hundred other commandments which we are now responsible to obey. Moreover, we must obey both the letter of these commandments and their spirit (2 Cor 3:6). We must obey not only because of fear, but also because of love.

There is no way we can obey all these commands in the spirit which Jesus expects. We would have to be a new person to meet Jesus' standards. Only God can do what Jesus expects. Therefore, God became a human being. He died and rose to give us a new nature and make us new creations (see 2 Cor 5:17). He lives within us and gives us His divine power.

Only because of this, we can obey and fulfill all the commands of both the Old and New Testaments. Only in Christ is there no condemnation (see Rm 8:1). Only in Christ are His commandments not burdensome (1 Jn 5:3). Only in Christ is there obedience and fulfillment.

Prayer:  Father, may I obey, do, and live the impossible.

Promise:  "If the ministry of the covenant that condemned had glory, greater by far is the glory of the ministry that justifies." —2 Cor 3:9

Praise:  St. Ephrem was a poet, Bible teacher, preacher, and composer of hymns.

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Obedience School.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 28, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 1, 1998