Jesus, the Law, and Us

Jesus, the Law, and Us

     The introduction to the Sermon on the Mount is now concluded and Jesus moves into the purpose statement. This is the beginning of the major body of the sermon that ends at Matthew 7:12 –“So in everything; do to others what you would have them do to you for this sums up the law and the prophets.” Notice the direct statement of Jesus-He did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but fulfill them. Christians agree in principle with the Scripture but do not fully understand its meaning. Put yourself in the place of the audience who heard this statement.  

1.  Some hoped Jesus would terminate the Law. 

2.  Some may have hoped He would enforce it more. 

3.  Some may have wanted an ease of its rules.

Some Christians may also want Christianity to follow a similar path. Reject the Law, include it, or modify it. Have you ever heard someone say, “I am not under the Law, but under Grace.”? This is not the meaning here. The 10 commandments were written on two tablets (first 4 directed to God and the next 6 were directed to relationships). There were 613 commandments interpreted by the Rabbi based upon the law (248 Regulations & 365 Prohibitions).

 The What and the Why

     The problem with the Scribes and Pharisees was not that they didn’t obey the law, they didn’t understand it. What are the key words to understanding this text? “fulfill” meaning to satisfy, finish or complete. It is used very commonly in the NT. v. 18 The other word here is the word “accomplished” meaning for something to arrive or become. Jesus was saying that He was not trying to destroy or undermine the Law but to satisfy, finish and complete it. How did Jesus fulfill and accomplish? Ceremonial and legal law are fulfilled because they point to Jesus as the only permanent sacrifice for sin (2 Cor. 5:21, Rom. 8:3)

From our text, there are three things functions that surface concerning Jesus, the Law, and us.

1.  Jesus said The Law stays (endures) v. 17-18 Note the emphatic ‘until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter…”. The Word of God is protected and preserved by God. Note the care of God concerning the extent of the law (Matt. 24:35) The gospel is the time of reformation but not the repeal of the law. It establishes it completely.

2.  Jesus said The Law searches v.19. Who is Jesus talking to now? The Pharisees demonstrate the danger of the neglect and making their personal choices on the Law (neglected the weightier matters of the law) by their traditions (Matt 15:3). You only create an appearance of holiness. Those are truly honorable in hungering after righteousness or live what they preach are truly great.

3.  Jesus said The Law sifts v. 20 unless your righteousness “exceeds” (KJV). If v. 19 offended the Pharisees, take a look at v.20; “unless your righteousness surpasses” Gr. (superabounds). Righteousness does not calculate how little it can do for God, but how much. With Jesus and the law, there is no room for legalism or a libertinism. How does our righteousness superabound (surpasses or complete) today?

  1. We focus of the intent of the Law-Principles not legalism
  2. We focus on the spirit of the Law-Spiritual not religious
  3. We focus on the fulfillment of the Law-Righteousness is first inward then outward


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