What is Jesus talking about in Matthew 5:17-18?

“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. I tell you the truth, 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. (Matthew 5:17-18)

The way I have always interpreted Matthew 5:17-18 (in context) is that we can’t shun or disregard the Old Testament (the law and the prophets) simply because we now know Jesus and have the New Testament. Rather, in Jesus, the Old Testament is fulfilled.

Jesus would quite often refer to an Old Testament law and then expand it further in meaning and scope.

For example, further down in Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” Jesus makes reference to one of the Ten Commandments that talks about not committing murder (Exodus 20:13) but goes on to expand that and say that anyone who is angry (or hateful or unloving) towards his or her brother (in Christ) is just as guilty. So, we can see that Jesus did not abolish the OT law, but went farther than the Pharisees in fulfilling it in Himself, through what He is teaching us and showing us through the example that He Himself set. The Pharisees and the people would go on to murder Him, but even on the cross, He asked the Father to forgive them.

Many Christians don’t pay much attention to the Old Testament today and think that it’s not relevant. Nothing could be farther from the truth! To fully understand and appreciate the New Testament and Jesus, Christians ought to read and study the Old Testament and know the laws and words of the prophets that has been recorded in it.

Jesus did not have to repeat all the laws and writings from the Old Testament because Moses and the prophets got everything from God, that is, from Jesus Himself (who is the image of the eternal invisible God – Colossians 1:15).

There are many things God has declared in the Old Testament that He approves and disapproves of and the same is true for Jesus. If Jesus was to disagree with even the slightest point in the Old Testament, then it means that Yahweh, the great I AM, of the Old Testament and Jesus of the New Testament are not One and the same! Of course, this is not possible! If it were so, Christianity as a faith falls apart! We know this is not the case because Jesus declares in John 10:30: “I and the Father are one.”

Jesus never disagreed with the Old Testament, nor did He just throw it aside. He made it clear that the Old Testament is important and cannot be ignored, that it will not simply disappear, “until everything is accomplished”.

The Pharisees were very good at obeying the law to the letter, but their heart was not in it. They only did it for show, but they had no love for God or relationship with Him and caused everyone else to be like them.

As Christians, we should obey the law out of our love for God. We should study and live according to the Bible, because of our love for Jesus. This is why Jesus said: “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.” (Matthew 5:20)

So, anyone who does good, lives right, obeys the law, gives to charity, helps others and is an overall good person, is also just like the Pharisee. For without the love of God, without Jesus in their hearts, their motivation is coming from themselves and not from God.

If you think “I should go to heaven because I am a good person. I don’t need God to be a good member of society.”, you are only fooling yourself.

Jesus says: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Do not be decieved my dear friends. Without salvation in Christ and without a relationship with Jesus, you cannot enter heaven!

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Don’t wait till it is too late. He is patiently waiting for you now, so that you will turn to Him and be saved! He does not want you to perish because He loves you!

Jesus is coming back. The choice is yours: Will you be for Him or against Him?

God bless you all.

Thank Sri with a coffee :)Thank Sri with a coffee 🙂

2 thoughts on “What is Jesus talking about in Matthew 5:17-18?”

  1. Hey Sri, Love it… Why do so many christians think that we dont need to fulfill the law, when Yeshua did not come to destroy but to fulfil?? He is the same yesterday,today, and forever right?? John 14:6 says “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” What did Yeshua mean by saying Through me?? there are some Keys here that we can understand…

    Reply
    • Hey Curtis,

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂 Yes, indeed, we are called to accept the whole Bible if we love Jesus and because of Jesus and through the Holy Spirit working in us, it IS possible for us to fulfill the whole law, not just the bits and pieces that we like and agree with.

      We can only do this if we have Jesus in our hearts and ruling our mind, body, spirit and every area of our lives!

      God bless.
      Sri

      Reply

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