Summary: Jesus said that He had come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. How has He fulfilled the Law? These are just two great examples; great because of how He accomplished it and great because it is faithfully revealed in the Holy Bible.
Fulfilling The Law
Please stand with me as we go over our current memory Scripture:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
“Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets who were before you in the same way.”
And our memory Scripture “refresher” verse(s) is(are):
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.
“If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
“If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.”
Today we will be reading from Matthew 5:17-20
Last week we took a look at the seventh and final Beatitude found in Matthew 5:9 and we heard the testimonies of some who were willing to lay down their very lives for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Today we will be looking at Jesus and His connection with the Old Testament Law of Moses and the writings of the Prophets.
As you look into your Bibles you may notice that we seem to be skipping over Jesus’ teaching on “Salt and Light”, but rest assured, we will return to that important teaching at a later date.
But, for today we want to look at Jesus and His fulfillment of the Law.
With that in mind let’s go ahead and read Matthew 5:17-20
(Prayer for help)
“Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets …”
In Jesus’ day there were giants in the land. Not giants as we read about in the days of Noah. Not giants like Goliath, but, there were giants.
The giants were the Law and the Prophets. The first five books of the Old Testament were considered to be the law; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. And, although there is a great deal of history in these books, they are where the Law of God was laid down through Moses.
And the Prophets were all of the books in the Old Testament following the Song of Solomon; starting with Isaiah.
These were the giants in the land. The Scribes, known as the teachers of the Law, the Rabbis, the Priests, the Saducees and the Pharisees all claimed to be followers of the Law and the Prophets.
So, here comes Jesus saying, blessed are you if you are poor in spirit, if you are mournful, if you are meek, if you are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, if you are merciful, if you are pure in heart, if you are persecuted for being righteous, THEN you are blessed!
On the other hand all of the Jewish leaders said that you just might be blessed if you were able to keep the law well enough.
Now remember, Jesus is saying all of these things about having a humble attitude in front of those teachers who were proud of their arrogance! And, in front of them He says, “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets …” and they are thinking, “Who does He think He is? He’d better not try to abolish the Law and the Prophets!”
But then Jesus goes on and says something even more astounding to them when He says, “I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them!”
Jesus is going to be the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets?
Who does He think He is, the Messiah?
So, let’s skip past what the Jewish leaders thought about Jesus and go on to the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.
Jesus Himself stated that the greatest commandment was to,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And, the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”
But the Jewish leaders took a different approach. Instead of seeing that loving the Lord was the way to obedience, they saw self-driven, self-motivated obedience to the law as the way to God.
Let’s take the Ten Commandments as an example.
The Ten Commandments in actuality had become their god.
Let me explain this. We know the Ten Commandments or at least we should. In short, they are: