|Replica of an ancient Torah scroll, from |
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place."
Matthew 5:17–18 (NET)
Jesus says that he hasn't come to abolish the Law, but neither has he come to preserve it -- he has has come to fulfill it. That can mean two things:
- The promises made in the Law and Prophets will come true in him.
- The reason the Law was given, to make people holy, will finally happen.
In some ways, verses 17-20 are Jesus' "thesis statement" for the rest of the sermon: no matter what you have heard about the Law before, it isn't enough to go through the motions externally. From now on, your righteousness must exceed even that of those rule-keepers, the Pharisees -- it has to come from inside you. In other words, keep the spirit of the Law, not just the letter.
What are some of your questions about the Sermon on the Mount? Comment below, or come share them this Monday, 6:30pm at Berthusen Park!