So my wife and I have been watching ‘The Chosen’, which just finished season 3. One of the characters is Shmuel, a Pharisee stationed in Capernaum. He is antagonistic toward Jesus from the very beginning. He is obviously one of the bad guys. He’s a guy you want to dislike. But in the season 3 finale, we see a side of Shmuel that was previously undisclosed: he’s not purposely trying to be the villain. He’s not a nasty guy or a creep. So what’s the deal?
As a Pharisee, the Jewish law is all Shmuel has ever known. He sincerely believes it and does his best to follow it. He isn’t opposed to Jesus as a person; he’s only opposed to what he believes are teachings and actions that run contrary to the law. In Shmuel’s last scene in the finale, he is observing the aftermath of the feeding of the 5K. He realizes that what Jesus has done, and is doing by the way, is good. And he’s suddenly presented with the idea that everything he has always believed in is on the verge of being lost.
Hopefully, Shmuel finds redemption in season 4. At any rate, his story perfectly illustrates today’s lesson: there is something better than the law. The law is good as a means of teaching us about Jesus. It’s good for maintaining order and discipline. But there is something better. That something is actually a someone: the Holy Spirit.