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Christ as the Fulfillment of the Law and Prophets – Matt 5:17-26 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Tsang   
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 09:08

 

In this portion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained his relationship to the Law and Prophets and then gives an example of how to interpret the Law, Thou Shall Not Murder.

 

Jesus declared that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (5:17).

 

We can understand how Jesus fulfilled the law in at least three ways. Firstly, Jesus was the only one who was able to completely fulfill the law. Writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way but He did not sin (Heb 4:15). Secondly, Jesus fulfilled the law in that He embodied everything that the Law and Prophets pointed to. The OT system of sacrifice and atonement of sin was fulfilled in Christ (Heb 7:27). Jesus was the suffering servant of Isaiah, the promised salvation in Hosea, the coming Messiah in Malachi, and many other prophecies. Finally, Jesus fulfilled the law in that He taught the original intent of the God’s command (murder, adultery, divorce, oaths, revenge, and loving enemies).

 

 

Jesus then explained the original intent of the 6th Commandment – Thou Shall Not Murder. If our anger towards someone has gotten to the point of harsh words, personal attacks, or desire for vengeance, then in our hearts, we have violated the spirit of this commandment. So we are called to reconcile. This is so important that we ought to do this before we go to offer our gifts to God in worship.

 

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. (5:23-24)

 

For the longest while, I thought the passage meant that if you have something against a brother or sister, you should go and settle matters before continuing in worship. This would be in the spirit of the teaching here but note the wording. The challenge and even higher demand is to the one whom a brother or sister has something against. It is he who should take the initiative to reconcile and settle matters.

 

In this way, we serve as salt and light of the world. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons and daughters of God.

 

Peace and grace, John

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 June 2018 09:13