Summary: Why did Jesus come to Earth? What difference did it make if He fulfilled the Law and the Prophets or not? In what way(s) did He fulfill the Law and the Prophets? Since the law was not abolished what does that mean to us today?
The section of Scripture that we’re looking at today comes from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus taught:
Salt and Light
The fulfillment of the law
Murder, adultery and divorce
Taking oaths, an eye for an eye and loving your enemies
Giving to the needy, prayer and fasting
Treasure in Heaven
Do not worry
Ask, seek and knock
The Narrow and Wide gates
True and false prophets
True and false disciples
The wise and foolish builders
And, then we come to His fulfillment of the law!
Wow, that’s some sermon and what a range of topics!
Two weeks ago we talked about the great declaration from God the Father through Peter that Jesus is, “the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” and as such He is the foundation of the church.
Last week we started taking a look at various aspects of why Jesus came to earth; specifically where Jesus makes the declaration Himself about why He came to earth and last week’s declaration was:
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
And, today we’ll be looking at another reason Jesus came to earth.
To fulfill the Law and the Prophets.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
“For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
“Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Jumping back to Matthew 5:17 Jesus says,
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
The people at the time of Jesus had been saturated with the law.
The 10 commandments: (List them on white board as people in the congregation shout them out. Have them memorized in case someone challenges you … you should know them anyway.)
The Jewish scholars have found 613 laws in the Torah, both do’s and don’ts
Do not profane the name of the Lord. (Leviticus 22:32)
Do not do prohibited labor on the eighth day of the Festival of Succoth. (Leviticus 23:36)
Do not take the mother bird from her young. (Deuteronomy 22:6)
Do prepare the anointing oil. (Exodus 30:31)
Do slaughter the second Paschal lamb. (Exodus 12:6)
Do not to allow a non-Jew to work him (a Jewish servant or slave) oppressively. (Leviticus 25:53)
Appoint a priest to speak with the soldiers during the war. (Deuteronomy 20:2)
There are numerous volumes written on and about the Jewish OT law.
Let’s just take the fourth commandment and come up with a few regulations governing how to keep that commandment: write them on the white board.
OK. So we can see how these rules were intended to help us protect the Sabbath.
These extra rules are like a fence. If you have a favorite bush or a vegetable garden and you want to keep the rabbits and woodchucks and deer out of it you might build a fence around it, right?
In the same way, these extra rules by the Jews were intended to protect the Sabbath but they had an unintended consequence. The "invented" rules became the focus instead of the Law of God and His intentions and plans for obedience.
There was and is a better way to protect the Sabbath and Jesus showed us how.
So, how did Jesus fulfill the law?
First of all, He kept the Law. Not some of it but all of it. Even though He was tempted to break the law He never did.
Hebrews 4:15 says,
“We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet He did not sin.”
Aren’t you glad for that?
Here’s how temptation goes in some of our lives. Now, let’s assume that eating candy is a sin. We know that eating candy is not necessarily a sin but for the purpose of the illustration …
I will take a drive, but won’t go near the grocery store.
I will drive by the grocery store, but will not go in.
I will go in the grocery store, but will not walk down the aisle where the candy is on sale.