October 12, 2021

Fulfillment of the Law

Matthew 5:17-20

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. . . .”

—  Matthew 5:17-20

Imagine that you were living in the first century and Jesus had just come to your village. If you heard Jesus claim to be “one with the Father,” or if you heard him challenge the religious leaders, how do you think you would have reacted?

Would you be interested—or perhaps even excited—by Jesus’ teachings? Would you be delighted to see the Pharisees (the religious leaders) put in their place?

Or would you have been skep­ti­cal of this stranger who claimed to speak for God?

As Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, he understood that he was speaking to a mixed crowd. Many of the people in the crowd were Jewish, while some came from other cultures and traditions.

In this passage Jesus shows that he wanted everyone to understand his right to teach and to gather followers as the promised Messiah.

The entire Old Testament story, from Genesis to the Ten Commandments, and from the time of the kings to the exile and beyond, pointed to the Messiah who would come to restore God’s people and God’s world. Jesus had come to bring life as it was always meant to be lived in relationship with God.

Today we still have to decide if Jesus can be trusted to bring us the words of life. Has he come in fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets? Or does he merely speak for himself?

Father, help me to trust in Jesus as your Son, the Messiah. Give me the courage to trust and obey, wherever he leads. Amen.

About the author — A.J. Gretz

Anthony Joseph (A.J.) Gretz is a pastor in Grandville, Michigan. He has also served churches in Ohio and in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He and his wife, Anna, have three children.

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