Reading the Word
Matthew 5:17–20 (ESV) — 17 “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. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Understanding and Applying the Word
What did Jesus mean when he said, “I have not come to abolish them [the Law or the Prophets], but to fulfill them?” This statement has been interpreted in different ways through the years, but when we understand that the entire Old Testament served a prophetic role, this statement becomes quite clear. The Old Testament scriptures all pointed to a coming Savior. That Savior is Jesus Christ. So, when Jesus said he did not come to abolish the Law and Prophets, but to fulfill them, he was saying that he was the One the Scriptures were pointing to. He was not going to lay aside any of their prophetic voice, but it would all be fulfilled in him.
As Christ continues to speak, he says, “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” We must ask, what commandments is Jesus speaking of? He is not referring to the Old Testament law as many assume. He is speaking of the commandments that are included in this sermon, the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7. We will be looking these in the days ahead.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures. They were pointing to the One who would come and save us. As the One, Jesus as all authority and we must listen to and obey him because of who he is: the Savior, the Messiah, the Son of God.
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