Every minute of every day in Jersey we all live our lives on a quid pro quo basis. When buying food in the supermarket or convenience store, cafe or restaurant, we pay money for it. We give “this” for “that”. Exactly.
It’s rather amusing however to see that the “this” for “that” – when the “that” is of great value – becomes a very round figure. When Facebook bought Instagram (the app creator) earlier this week, it gave exactly “this” -$1,000,000,000 - for “that”. Not an iota more, not an iota less.
Despite using such exactness every waking moment of our lives, we somehow begin to hate it – unless it’s in our favour. Children in every family know from an early age what “tit for tat” means. They use it repeatedly. Parents then have to intervene because, inevitably, the “tit” becomes harsher than the “tat”. Every child wants a better deal for itself – and also wants (for that reason) a worse deal for others.
In fact, that’s why we have a real problem with quid pro quo. Things are often not fair, not just, not right, not exact enough. Bill Gates is an extreme example (to our minds). The “quid” we’ve all been forced to pay for the “quo” of Microsoft Office Suite must be excessive if Bill Gates is now so wealthy. And what about the “quid” we’ve paid for the “quo” of an iPad?
Even the supermarkets, after telling us that they’re giving us the very best deal, reveal each year end an amazing profit for their owners.
Take a fresh look at Jesus’ teaching in bold above about quid pro quo and its connection with all aspects of our lives. “Not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is exactly accomplished.”
He did not come to abolish or reduce or minimise that principle. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them…“
Moses, that ancestral figure, around 1350 BC, was given the Law from Almighty God, the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ – as set out in the well-preserved archives of the Jewish Nation. Fundamental to that Law was what became, in Roman Law, the lex talionis – the measure for measure, eye for an eye (and no more) that Moses was strictly enjoined to place before God’s people as the unfailing standard. It has also become part of the Jersey Law of Contract – part of our daily lives.
But Jesus said “I have.. come.. to fulfill [the Law].. Truly.. not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is exactly accomplished.”
Is that really so? Did Jesus exactly, even exactingly, fulfil the quid pro quo Law? Yes, in a most remarkable way.
In Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion he prayed to his Father, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be accomplished.” He wanted to avoid the quid pro quo of the cross. He could not do so without failing to accomplish his Father’s will – as disclosed so exactly to Moses in what later became the lex talionis.
What was Jesus’ quid pro quo? What “this” was Jesus giving for “that”?
He was drinking the cup of the measure-for-measure judgment of Almighty God his Father. This righteous judgment was upon the sins of others – the sins of his enemies who, wanting nothing to do with him destroyed him from the face of the earth.
Yes, he came, just as he said in AD 33, to accomplish every iota and jot of the righteous punishment due to be visited upon others who would do away with him – but later turn and change their minds.
Who would have thought that the Gospel was such a marvelous quid pro quo?