Matthew 5:17-19. Jesus As the Fulfillment of The Law.
Jesus As the Fulfillment of The Law.
In Matthew 5:17-19, during the sermon on the mount, Jesus tells the crowd and His disciples that they should not think He has come to abolish the law or the prophets.
The major reason that He came is only to fulfil them. And until the earth passes away, not even a single stroke of the law will pass from it until it is achieved.
Jesus continues to say that whoever keeps and teaches the law to others will be considered great in the Kingdom of God.
The greek word uses plērōsai (πληρῶσαι), from the word “pleres” meaning to level up, to execute, to bring something to completion and to carry out a task.
What Jesus is saying is that His coming is not to render the law and the prophets null and void as the Pharisees thought.
His coming is to bring to completion the sayings of the prophet. Hence, the coming of Jesus is to show the true meaning of the law. He has also come to make sure that all that the prophets said comes to completion.
Every law and words of the prophet come to completion through Jesus. So, in Matthew 5:17,-19, Jesus teaches that the law is not bad in itself. But the law has something that it portrays.
This is against the Pharisees, who are only interested in keeping the letters of the law without the spirit. The spirit points to what the laws signify, and this Jesus has come to fulfill.
Hence every law points towards two things: the love of God and the love of neighbour. This Jesus has shown through what He does and teaches. He is not hence abrogating the law when it looks as if He does, but teaching the people the true significance of the law and what the prophet says.
In simple understanding, Jesus is coming to make sure that what the law and the prophets said will come to fulfillment through Him. He is also coming to show the people the message inherent in the laws.
The Authority of God’s Word.
Through Jesus’ statement in the gospel of Matthew 5:17-19, He asserts the importance and authority of the law and the prophets. The law and the prophets sum up the authority of God’s word.
This is why in Matthew 23:3, Jesus tells His disciples not to disobey the law. He told them to do what the Pharisees teach but not what they do.
Secondly, Jesus commends anyone who will live according to the word and hold it in reverence. Such a person would be considered great in the Kingdom of God.
Hence to live according to God’s word is a sure way to eternal life. So, the word of God should be our guide. In John 2:5, Virgin Mary reveals this mystery when she tells the servants at Cana “Do whatever He tells you”.
The Nature of the Word.
In today’s gospel of Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus shows that the word of God is eternal. The word lives until it achieves its purposes. It teaches us to know that God does not disappoint.
Whatever God promises always comes to pass. Whatever God says, even the smallest part of it must one day come to fulfillment.
God says in Isaiah 55:10–11 that just like the rain and snow come down from heaven and will not return unless they accomplish their purposes, so also the word that Goes out from God.
This is the reason Jesus reminds us that man should not think of living by the bread alone but by every word that comes from God. So let us trust whatever God says.
Once God has said, we should not disobey. Also, when God promises, we should not doubt. He is not a man who says one thing and does another thing. Always trust Your God.
Look Unto Jesus.
Hence Jesus is the culmination of the law (Roman 10:4), He is the word of God (John 1:1-3), He is the fulfillment of the law. The voice at the transfiguration says “listen to Him. (Luke 9:35).
Therefore, It is no longer living our lives by mere ceremonial observances, but closeness with Jesus. In essence, our focus should be on Jesus, and not on the mere observance of the law.
When we remain close to Him, we will develop a sincere love for God and true love for our neighbour. Hence we would not like to do anything that will make God angry. Therefore, doing this, is keeping the law still.
May God help us to remain close to Him. May He never forsake you. Amen.