Summary: How do we obey the commands and teachings of Jesus? Jesus declares that He fulfilled the old covenant from the laws to the prophets. We must ask the Holy Spirit to help us do everything the law says.
In my last post, I talked about being salt and light in the world. In this post, we continue in the Sermon on the Mount by talking about Jesus’s teaching on fulfillment of the law and prophets.
I don’t know who doesn’t want to become great in God’s Kingdom. We all want to be God’s servants and to make Him proud. So, we must understand Jesus’s teaching on fulfilling the law and prophets.
Jesus gives us the key to how to be great in God’s Kingdom by talking about how He fulfills the law and prophets, and how we can be great in His Kingdom. Let’s take a closer look at this teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. Let’s get started.
The Old Continued in the New (Matthew 5:17-18)
After teaching us how to be salt and light in the world for Him, Jesus moves to explain His role in the law and prophets. Many people focus on the law, the 613 laws of the Old Testament without realizing that the law and prophets refer to the whole old covenant (Old Testament).
Jesus mentions the law and the prophets together, starting with the law and ending in the prophets refers to everything between them, including the writings, or the historical books, Psalms, and wisdom literature. Jesus proclaims He fulfills the entire Old Testament.
This is how we see Jesus on each page of the Old Testament. He is the ultimate fulfillment of everything in the Old Testament. He fulfills it by being the Messiah it points forward to. The whole Old Testament looks forward to Jesus and prophesies about Him.
It is full of types of Christ, prophecies about Him, and foreshadows His arrival and mission. So, Jesus does not break from the Old Testament in the New Testament. He fulfills the old covenantb by being the mediator of the new covenant.
Instead of abolishing the Old Testament with the new, Jesus continues the old covenant with the new covenant. Everything the Old Testament looked forward to Jesus institutes by His Kingdom., Throughout the Sermon on the Mount and all His teachings, Jesus shows how the old covenant is fulfilled in the new covenant.
Some people think the old covenant no longer has any bearing on us. Jesus will show through the rest of His sermon the fulfillment of the old covenant through Him. After this section, Jesus talks about the Ten Commandments by internalizing them and showing the spirit of the law.
He goes on to say how powerful and each covenant is. Through fulfilling the law and prophets, Jesus shows that they are obsolete, but still in place. Not one letter of the old covenant has been abolished. Jesus talks about the iota, the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, will drop out of Jesus’s fulfillment.
Jesus accomplishes everything the law through the prophets proclaims and prophesies. Jesus embodies everything you read in the old covenant. This is what Jesus means when He says He fulfills it..
Least in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 5:19)
How do we teach the law through the prophets of the old covenant? We do the same Jesus did and His great sermon. We show how Jesus fulfills them. Teach Jesus, and you fulfill the old covenant. Do let Jesus commanded and taught, and you fulfill the old covenant through Him.
Jesus challenges us to obey the old covenant by showing how God intends its laws to affect us. Each example He gives of the law shows how we cannot simply say we have obeyed the whole law. But by coming under Jesus’s banner and being His disciples who follow His teachings, we obey the whole law.
That’s why Jesus says, “You have heard it said,” and completes it with telling us how You
fulfilled it and how we must live out His Commandments and teachings. When we obey Jesus completely, His fulfillment covers us. We learn how to put the law through the prophets on our hearts.
Those who speak only of the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law think they have obeyed the whole law. None of us have ever done it. Jesus fulfilled the law, completed and brought an end to it through Himself. All who trust in Jesus as the Messiah (Anointed One of God) come under His perfect fulfillment of the law.
By living down for Jesus, we fulfill the old covenant with its laws and prophetic words. The laws are types of Christ and look forward to His arrival. The prophets .2 Jesus as the Messiah. They write prophecies about Jesus and how He perfectly fulfills the whole law.
All His actions and teachings fulfill the law. As Paul says, Jesus is the end of the law (Romans 10:4). So, how do we obey all Jesus’s teachings and commandments? The Holy Spirit helps us do what Jesus said to do.
We must not relax and you commandments in our life, our speech and actions. But we don’t keep the old covenant as the Israelites kept it. For one, most of the old covenant laws apply to Israel. But we see how Jesus fulfilled them.
For example, Jesus embodies the priesthood, sacrifices, and messianic King of the old covenant. We see His priesthood in Melchizedek and how the writer of Hebrews explains Jesus’s Person and fulfillment. Jesus is the Prophet, Priest, and King.
He is the ultimate sacrifice for the sin of humanity. Through His Persson and actions, Jesus fulfilled every word from the old covenant. But He empowers us to follow its commandments through Him. Everything in the old covenant shows Jesus.
What makes a person least in God’s Kingdom is not following Jesus’s commands and teachings, oand even worse, teaching others to do the same thing. We must be examples of Jesus’s Kingdom to this world. They are watching every move we make. We must be Jesus’s ambassadors here.
We are responsible to obey Jesus and all He says in all His teachings. If we do everything Jesus said, we obey the old covenant laws. Even more, the New Testament is authored by God and written by His apostles and prophets, so we are responsible to obey the whole old covenant and new covenant.
Greatest in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 5:20)
We who do the law through Jesus with the Holy Spirit’s help are greatest in God’s Kingdom. Our obedience to Jesus is our requirement. Jesus makes us great because we are His lowly servants. We surrender ourselves to Jesus.
Christians who say they are “New Testament Christians” if they obey the New Testament actually obey the Old Testament too. They state this because they don’t want to be responsible for the old covenant laws.
Jesus fulfills the Levitical laws about sacrifice by becoming our sacrifice. Instead of offering animals as sacrifices for sins, we look to Jesus on the Cross dying for us. He only had to die one time. We don’t have to offer animal sacrifices anymore.
The Old Testament writings of history, poetry, and wisdom look forward to Jesus. Israel’s history shows how much they needed a Savior, and Messiah, or Anointed One of God to give them another way to have a relationship with God. They could not do all the law. Their constant cycle of sin shown in Judges proves that. They took the Promised Land in Joshua’s time. But they could not keep it.
Because they broke God’s covenant with them, they ended up in exile in foreign lands. They recant that of the land because of their sin. They idolized everything but Yahweh. The covenant starts with, “I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2-3). God obligates us keep this commandment. If we put anything so I put I prioritize anything above Jesus, we have idols.
Jesus tells us our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees. The Pharisees made the mistake of making the laws and the old covenant so specific that they didn’t see the spirit of the law. They made it specific enough to say they had done the whole law. They followed it to the letter. But the letter kills and the Spirit brings life (2 Corinthians 3:6). We must follow the spirit of the law of God, not the letter.
Our righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We cannot fulfill the law, and our righteousness doesn’t even come close. Paul says all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). We cannot do what God expects of us on our own.
Thanks to Jesus, who gives us His righteousness, God sees us in the light of Jesus, and His righteousness in us helps us to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees. We can’t make the same mistakes they made. Jesus railed against their interpretation and application of the old covenant.
The new covenant declares God will write His laws on our hearts. No one will need to tell his neighbor, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know Him. He forgives our sins and remembers them no more (Jeremiah 31:33-34). These are great promises from God to us.
We live under this new covenant. But it is prophesied in the old covenant. Jesus mediates the new covenant (Hebrews 12:24). All that He is and does for us falls under the new covenant. We serve Him and obey the old covenant laws through Him. He truly brings freedom to us (Galatians 5:1). Let us live up to the high standard Jesus calls us to live.
Read the New Testament in light of the Old Testament. Do what Jesus commands and teaches. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you fulfill Jesus’s high standards. As James says, do not only hear the Word, but do what it says (James 1:22).cancel
Now that we understand Jesus’s fulfillment of the law and prophets, we will talk about the law in more detail with Jesus’s teaching on murder and wrath.