Summary: Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant on behalf of the unfaithful Israelites


This message is part of a series of 90 sermons based on the title, “In God’s Image – God’s Purpose for humanity.” This series of free sermons or the equivalent free book format is designed to take the reader through an amazing process beginning with God in prehistory and finishing with humanity joining God in eternity as His loving sons and daughters. It is at times, a painful yet fascinating story, not only for humanity, but also for God. As the sermons follow a chronological view of the story of salvation, it is highly recommend they be presented in numerical order rather than jumping to the more “interesting” or “controversial” subjects as the material builds on what is presented earlier. We also recommend reading the introduction prior to using the material. The free book version along with any graphics or figures mentioned in this series can be downloaded at - Gary Regazzoli

We have been looking at the tasks Jesus has been accomplishing as He begins his official ministry. These tasks are outlined in the early chapters of Matthew.

• He is baptised to identify with us as sinners and to represent us and begins the task of overcoming our fallen human nature and to live the perfect life we fail to live (Matthew 3:13-17).

• He confronts and overcomes the devil in the wilderness wrenching back the role of King of Kings the devil has usurped (Matthew 4:1-11).

• We see the embryonic formation of the early church when Jesus chooses twelve disciples to follow his every move for the next three and a half years (Matthew 4:18-22).

• We see him beginning the redemptive process of healing mankind both physically and spiritually through His healing ministry. He healed the sick and forgave sins (Matthew 4:23-25).

• And He begins His preaching ministry about the kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17).

• Last time we looked at four points to help us understand the context of Jesus’ teachings.

Today we are going to look at another important aspect of Jesus’ ministry, the fulfilling of the Old Covenant on behalf of Israel by introducing a New Covenant.

• We looked earlier at the failure of the Israelites to uphold their side of the Mosaic Covenant through their unbelief.

• God however remained faithful to His side of the covenant agreement.

• Now in a remarkable display of grace, we see Jesus taking on Himself the task of accomplishing for the Israelites what they could not do for themselves.

• In other words, He fulfils the covenant relationship from both the side of God and the side of the Israelites.

• Again we see the “representation” principle in effect.

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

• We need to notice a few things about this verse.

• First, God the Father has a timetable for the salvation of mankind and it is has been carefully planned out to maximise His goal of redeeming as many of his children as possible (2 Peter 3:9).

• Christians rightly mourn for the condition of this world and pray for Christ’s return, but we should remember it is God’s timetable not ours.

• Second, Paul reaffirms both the deity and the humanity of Jesus.

• Third, Jesus was born at a time when the Mosaic Covenant was still in effect.

• Fourth, why was He born at this particular time? To redeem those under the law, Israel, and restore them as His children.

• Rather than being resentful and bitter about Israel’s unfaithfulness, God is the one who takes the initiative in the redemptive process.

• God is an inclusive, not an exclusive God.

I mentioned Jesus was to fulfil the requirement of the Mosaic Covenant from both the side of God and the side of Israel.

• When the covenant was presented to the Israelites at Sinai, they had agreed to uphold their side of the arrangement (Exodus 24:1-8).

• Despite their good intentions, the Old Testament is a sorry chronicle of their repeated failures.

• However, God had anticipated their failure and in His mercy made provision for their disobedience through the sacrificial rituals associated with the tabernacle.

• These sacrifices, both the daily and the annual Day of Atonement sacrifice, allowed a holy God, although at a distance, to maintain His relationship with His chosen nation.

• We should mention that these sacrifices were not designed to placate an angry God, but a reminder to the Israelites of the mercy and forgiveness offered to them by a graceful God and to point them to their need for a Redeemer.

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