The Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17-20)

Sunday 11/10/2020

What do you think about the Old Testament? Do you think of yourself as more of a New Testament believer? Do you think the NT is more about grace, and the OT is more about rules? And isn’t Christianity all about love, not law?

Well, Jesus did speak a lot about love. In fact, later in this chapter, He summarises the Law by quoting two statements from the Old Testament about love:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all you soul, and all your mind, and your strength,” and “You shall love your neighbour as you love yourself,” (22:37, 39). That’s a description of total obedience, stated in terms of love.

Jesus tells us that our failure to obey the Law is a failure to love. We must love to keep the Law. But His demand that we love does not replace the requirement to keep the Law. Obedience to the Law is how we love God and love our neighbours. So, it’s wrong to set the Law against love and say that love wins. Love is keeping the Law.

In Jesus’ day, it was expected not that the Messiah would abolish the Law but that He would add to it. But here, Jesus tells us He didn’t come to do that either. Matthew shows us:

  1. Jesus Fulfils the Old Testament (v17)
  2. Jesus Upholds the Old Testament (v18-19)
  3. Jesus Requires and Gives a Greater Righteousness (v20)

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Published by Stephen McDonald

Broadcaster, teacher, bibliophile, armchair political commentator, theologue, Christian (still in beta)