Jesus showed His critics that the Old Testament was focussed solely on relationship; the “weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith.” Matthew 23:23.
Unlike Jesus, Islam and the Pharisees focussed on ceremonial purity. Those who keep the laws regarding washing and avoiding certain foods are to keep strict separation from those who don’t do those things.
“Take not the Jews and Christians for friends ... slay the idolaters [infidels] wherever ye find them. ...Fight against those who believe not in Allah” (Sura 5:51; 9:5,29,41). “Seize them and slay them wherever you find them: and in any case take no friends or helpers from their ranks” (Sura 4:89).
Sin for Islam and Pharisees COMES from the outside and so the focus was and still is on externals. For example, on Islam, if I’m struggling with lust, then forcing women (the external) to completely cover themselves makes sense.
Unlike Jesus, Atheism and the Pharisees worked toward solidarity with the educated elite and showed utter contempt for the rest.
“Thinking is anathema for Christians,” Richard Dawkins.
Those most learned are most revered; the unlearned are most despised.
Unlike Jesus, neither Islam, atheism nor the Pharisees have any gospel for the lost. Jesus relentlessly preached a gospel that eschewed religious busyness and showed that the only way to please God was through proper relationships. In Jesus’ way of seeing things, the human cause is also God’s cause.
"Love God - Love your neighbour."
Unlike Islam, atheism and the Pharisees, Jesus identified with the weak and poor and powerless and sinful. Jesus came to live among those of us who admit that we need saving. Unlike Islam, atheism and the Pharisees, Jesus showed disdain for power while uplifting the powerless.
Some have tried to liken the Levitical code with Islamic law. I for one don’t see it and neither did the author of the Law - Jesus.
Leviticus 19 begins with “You shall be Holy; for I the Lord your God am holy” (v 2). Leviticus 20 ends with, “You shall be Holy to Me; for I the Lord am Holy.” (v26).
And what’s in the middle?
. Revere your parents.
. Do not steal or lie
. Be a good neighbour
. Pay proper wages
. Be reasonable in your relationships
. Do no injustice
. Show no partiality because of poverty or wealth
. Be honest in your business dealings
That is what it means to be Holy; holiness deals with the “weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith.” In God’s eyes Holiness is lived out in our relationships, in the way we treat other people.
Islam, atheism and the Pharisees concern themselves with externals; either in ceremonial activity or in keeping the law. Blaming the external object for causing my sin is the opposite of Jesus who recognised that sin is an inside job.