"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"
Jesus And The Law (Mt 5:17-19)
2. The next section details the "righteousness" of the kingdom…
a. The righteousness conduct Jesus would expect of His disciples
b. In contrast with the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees
3. He begins by correcting any false impression some may have had about
His relationship with the Law of Moses and the Prophets…
a. Had He come to destroy the Law and the Prophets?
b. Are His teachings contradictory to the Law and the Prophets?
[In Mt 5:17-19, we find His answer to such questions. Our first
observation is that…]
I. HE CAME NOT TO DESTROY, BUT TO FULFILL
A. SOME MAY HAVE THOUGHT JESUS INTENDED TO TOTALLY DISREGARD THE
1. That His coming and teaching would regard the Old Law in a
2. For the expression "to destroy" means literally to "to destroy
utterly, to overthrow completely" (VINE)
B. ON THE CONTRARY, HIS PURPOSE WAS TO "FULFILL" THE LAW AND THE
1. For they foretold the coming of the Messiah (Christ)
a. There are approximately 330 prophecies concerning the
Christ found in the Law and the Prophets
b. For example, Deu 18:15; Deu 18:18-19; Isa 53:1-12
2. For they foretold the coming of the kingdom of God
a. One example is Dan 2:44
b. Jesus proclaimed the fulfillment of that prophecy was now
at hand – Mk 1:14-15
3. For they also foretold the establishment of a new and
different covenant for the people of God
a. See Jer 31:31-34
b. That Jesus brought in this new covenant is confirmed in
C. THEREFORE, UNTIL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS WERE FULFILLED, JESUS
1. The Law would be as permanent as the heavens and the earth
– Mt 5:18
a. As He said in Lk 16:17 , "It is easier for heaven and earth
to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail."
b. There would be no change at all, until it was fulfilled
c. Not even a "jot" or a "tittle" (Hebrew grammatical
markings, similar to the dotting of an "i" or the crossing
of a "t")
2. A person’s treatment of the Law (while still in force) would
affect their standing in the kingdom – Mt 5:19 How so…?
a. Remember that the kingdom has a future aspect – Mt 7:21-23
b. Those who lived before the coming of the kingdom in its
present sense (i.e., the church) could still be in the
kingdom in its future sense
1) Note what is said about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob – Mt 8:11
2) But then notice what was said about the "sons of the
kingdom," those Jews who by the Law had the right to
inherit the kingdom but did not appreciate its
fulfillment in the coming of Jesus Christ! – Mt 8:12
— Thus, one’s standing in the kingdom (in its future sense)
would be affected by their treatment of whatever Law of God
was in effect when they were alive!
D. AN IMPORTANT QUESTION: "DID JESUS FULFILL THE LAW?"
1. If He did not…
a. He failed His purpose in coming to this earth! – Mt 5:17
b. We had better observe the Law in its strictest sense!
– Mt 5:18-19 (including circumcision, and not eating
2. If He did…
a. He accomplished His purpose! (notice Jn 17:4 )
b. We should not be surprised to find a NEW Law or Covenant
governing God’s people today
3. Indeed, Jesus must have fulfilled the Old Law…
a. For there has been changes:
1) In the priesthood – Heb 7:11-14
2) In the Law itself – Heb 7:18-19; Heb 7:18-19 Heb 7:22
b. As the Law itself foretold, it has been replaced by a New
Law – Heb 8:6-13
[Though Jesus ultimately fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, at the
time He was preaching this sermon they had not been fulfilled. So,
true to His statement in verse nineteen, He taught His disciples to be
faithful to God’s Law as it then stood.
But what about the contrasts found in Mt 5:21-48? Are not these to be
viewed as comparisons between the Old and New Law? Here are some
thoughts along these lines…]
II. THE CONTRAST MADE BY JESUS
A. MANY UNDERSTAND JESUS WAS CONTRASTING THE "OLD" AND "NEW"…
1. I.e., comparing the "Law of Moses" with the "Law of Christ"
which would govern His kingdom
2. This in essence has Jesus teaching:
a. That the "Old Law" only condemned the outward actions
b. But that the "New Law" introduced by Jesus condemned the
inner conditions which lead to the outer actions
B. HOWEVER, I UNDERSTAND THE CONTRAST TO BE DIFFERENT…
1. It was a contrast between:
a. The "traditional interpretation and application" of the Law
b. The "righteousness of the kingdom" Jesus would require of
2. In fact, Jesus demonstrated that the righteousness of the
a. Was not only contrary to the manner many had interpreted
and applied the Law
b. But was in harmony with the original spirit of the Law as
given to Moses and the Israelites
C. REASONS FOR SUCH A VIEW…
1. The other view would seem strange in light of verse 19
a. Jesus had just warned against any alteration of the
commandments of the Law!
b. The first view has Jesus doing the very thing He had just
2. If Jesus was referring to what Moses had commanded in the Law
itself, it is likely different wording would have been used
a. At other times, when Jesus was definitely referring to what
the Law actually said, He prefaced it with things like:
1) "Moses commanded" – Mt 8:4
2) "It is written" – Mt 4:4; Mt 5:7; Mt 5:10
b. Instead, we find Jesus repeatedly using phrases more likely
to refer to ORAL teachings and interpretations rather than
the WRITTEN Word of God:
1) "You have heard that it was said to those of old"
– Mt 5:21; Mt 5:27
2) "Furthermore it has been said" – Mt 5:31
3) "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old"
– Mt 5:33
4) "You have heard that it was said" – Mt 5:38; Mt 5:43
3. In two of the contrasts, Jesus refers to statements not even
found in the Law of Moses!
a. "…and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment"
– Mt 5:21
b. "…and hate your enemy" – Mt 5:43
— Here, Jesus reacted, not to the Law itself, but to the way
it was often used!
4. We should also remember that the "Law and the Prophets" were
just as concerned with the inner thoughts of the heart as the
Law of Christ is – cf. Deu 6:4-7; Isa 29:13-14
1. So Jesus came…
a. Not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill the Law
b. Which He did, by fulfilling its many prophecies
— That Law has now been replaced by the New Covenant of our Lord
2. In illustrating the righteousness expected of those under the New
Covenant, Jesus will…
a. Contrast it with the traditional interpretations and applications
orally handed down
b. Demonstrate how our righteousness must indeed exceed that of the
scribes and Pharisees!
In our next lesson, we shall begin looking at the righteousness Jesus