I Came to Fulfill the Law
The Sermon on the Mount progresses from one truth to the next. Jesus stated emphatically His followers were the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Our lives impact the world in a powerful way when we let Him express Himself through us.
Matthew 5:17-19 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.
It begins with the negative command, “Do not think!” The implication being the crowd misunderstood Jesus and thought He was coming to overthrow the law given to Moses.
Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law or prophets. To abolish was to utterly destroy or throw down. It is the same word he used later in reference to the Temple. The basic idea was tear it down, smash it to the ground, and obliterate completely. Jesus was accused of not following the Law because He rejected the traditions of the religious elite. However, His purpose wasn’t to destroy the law – only to fulfill it. The same is true today, anytime you reject a legalistic standard you may be accused of trying to destroy the Law.
I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
The Law is good and pure and a perfect reflection of the holiness and justice of God. The Law didn’t need to be destroyed by Jesus or the Apostles; it is always affirmed. The only thing destroyed were the false interpretations and traditions of the Law by the religious elite. The purpose of the Law was never to save or make mankind righteous, but to reveal his great need of a Savior.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law. He was born in the flesh, under the Law, and followed all of its requirements. Only He did more than just obey it perfectly. His life’s mission was to go to the cross to fulfill all the judicial requirements of the Law and pay for the sin of mankind.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the Prophets. Jesus satisfied the demands of the Law by going to the cross. He fulfilled every prophecy regarding the coming Messiah. He fulfilled all the Old Testament types. He is the High Priest, the offerings, the sacrifice and He presented His blood in heaven so the whole of the law was fulfilled in Him. By His death and resurrection, and the presentation of Himself in heaven, He has done all this. Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” The veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom. Jesus fulfilled all.
Romans 8:3-4 “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin:He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might befulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Jesus is our fulfillment. He came into the world and took on human flesh because of our sin. He dealt with sin forever by going to the cross so sin would be removed and righteousness put in its place. The Law was effective in revealing our sin but offered no solution, merely condemnation. In Christ, the just demands of the Law are satisfied and we are the recipients of His life!
For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Jesus speaks assuredly, truly emphasizing the importance of His words to the listeners. He’s calling to us to listen up and pay attention.
God’s Law can’t be changed. First, God’s law is absolute and can never be changed, not even modified to the slightest extent. It is absolute and eternal. The “jot” refers to the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. The “tittle” is a small punctuation mark. Every minute detail of God’s word is important and will be fulfilled.
Heaven and earth are signs of permanence. The word of God is permanent and will be in effect until time, as we know it, ceases to exist. At the end of this age our Heaven and Earth will be destroyed and all remnants of sin will be removed. However, until that time every aspect of God’s word remains.
Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
No one has the right or authority to annul any aspect of scripture. Here, Jesus was speaking to Jews. There is no such thing as an insignificant aspect of God’s word. Even Jesus said the greatest command was to love the Lord but it doesn’t mean we can simply choose to ignore what isn’t pleasing to us. We need to understand the word and keep in its context – never ignore or dismiss it.
The least in His kingdom: God has a ranking system in His kingdom and I’m not certain how it works besides as it relates to our faithfulness in this life. Those who disregard the word and teach others to disobey the word of the Lord are least in the kingdom. They are in the kingdom but suffer loss of position for their disobedience.
The great in His kingdom: Greatness in His kingdom is for those who yield themselves to Him and humbly walk in obedience as He lives through us. We don’t boast of our achievements because it is God living through us. Greatness in God’s kingdom isn’t because of talent or self-effort but from yielding to His indwelling life. Our attitude toward God’s word is a barometer of our attitude toward God Himself.
I hope you have a blessed week.
You are loved!