Christ Came to Fulfill the Law
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. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:17-20
I’m looking forward to next week, the mission team being home, and the family back together. Still, it was another blessed Sunday at Ridgeview and I’d like to share three things that stuck with me from Pastor Mike’s message (click here to listen):
- I could see how highly God regards his Word.
- I gained a greater appreciation for what it means that Jesus fulfilled the Law and Prophets.
- I was challenged to believe in Christ, follow him in obedience to his commands, and teach others to do likewise.
Jesus mentions iotas, dots, and least commandments as being significant! He said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.” – John 8:31. And Paul tells Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17.
As Mike said, “We need all of the Bible for all of life.”
Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. It was helpful for me to think about synonyms to the word fulfill. Satisfy, complete, and make whole all came to mind. So, the Law and the Prophets are satisfied in Christ, they find completion in him, and his coming has made them whole. Apart from him, the Law and the Prophets remain unfulfilled. It’s easy to see then, that the entire Old Testament is pointing us toward Jesus. The Law and the Prophets are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. That brings simplicity and clarity. We need to look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.
This text would have been one more straw on the camel’s back for me when I thought being a Christian was do’s and don’ts. Back when I mainly wanted Jesus just to escape hell. Back before I knew true freedom. Back before I understood that “this is the love of God that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3. Back before I understood grace and the righteousness of Christ are imputed by faith. Back before I realized the most loving thing I could do for others was to teach them to follow Christ. Christianity seemed heavy to bear back then.
Not so much now.
I know I said three things stuck with me from last Sunday but there is one more. I was struck by how blessed we are as a church to have a pastor that loves God’s Word and is diligent in preaching and teaching. Two examples from Mike’s brain-breaking work last week made me think about this. First, his emphasis on the importance of Christ fulfilling the Law and the Prophets may seem like a small thing but it has massive implications. It frees me up to fully embrace the Old Testament and regard it very highly, as I should, but to do so through the lens of the life, death, resurrection, and eternal priesthood of Jesus. Second, seeing that the “commandments” in verse 19 are the commands of Jesus is so helpful to me so that I won’t be pulled back to Moses and it ensures that I won’t miss Jesus.
It has been good for me to write this column for the last two weeks. It required that I take notes and continue to meditate on the message for a few extra days. I would encourage everyone to do something similar and make the most of the grace given to us.
That you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God… – Colossians 1:9-10