"THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT"
Jesus And The Law (Mt 5:17-19)
1. Having described the CITIZENS of the kingdom, Jesus now proceeds to
describe the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the kingdom, which takes up the bulk
of His sermon
2. He begins by correcting a false impression some may have had about
His relationship with the Law of Moses and the Prophets...
I. "I DID NOT COME 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 annihilate, bring about destruction, to overthrow completely"
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, De 18:15, De 18:18-19; Is 53:1-12
2. For they FORETOLD THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
a. One example is Da 2:44
b. Jesus was preaching that 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 (LAW) 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 -
cf. Mt 8:11 (e.g., Abraham, Isaac, Jacob)
c. Their standing would be affected by their treatment of
whatever Law of God was in effect when they were alive!
d. For example, notice what Jesus said would happen to 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
D. AN IMPORTANT QUESTION TO CONSIDER: "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 unclean
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 have been changes:
1) In the PRIESTHOOD - He 7:11-14
2) In the LAW ITSELF - He 7:18-19, He 7:22
b. Even as the Law itself foretold, it has been replaced by a
New Law - He 8:6-13
[Though Jesus ultimately fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, at the
time He was preaching the 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 Law and the NEW Law?
Here are some thoughts along these lines...]
II. THE NATURE OF THE CONTRASTS MADE BY JESUS
A. MANY UNDERSTAND JESUS TO CONTRAST THE "OLD" WITH THE "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 led to the outer actions
B. I UNDERSTAND THAT THE CONTRAST JESUS MADE IS DIFFERENT...
1. Rather, it was a contrast between:
a. The "TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION" of the Law
b. And the "RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE KINGDOM" that Jesus would
require of His disciples
2. Jesus demonstrated that the righteousness of the kingdom...
a. Is not only contrary to the manner Jewish leaders of old
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 were referring to what Moses had commanded in the Law
itself, it is more likely that different wording would have been
a. At other times, when Jesus was definitely referring to what
the Law actually said, He would say things like:
1) "Moses commanded" - Mt 8:4
2) "It is written" - Mt 4:4, v7, v10
b. Instead, we find Jesus repeatedly using phrases more likely
to refer to "oral teachings and interpretations" rather
than the revealed 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 was reacting, not to the Law itself, but to the
way the Law 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. De 6:4-7; Is 29:13-14
1. In this study we have stressed two things:
a. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, and He did!
b. That the contrasts to follow in Mt 5:21-48 ...
1) Are between the traditional interpretations and applications of
the Law of Moses and righteousness expected of those in the
kingdom of heaven
2) Not between the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ.
2. Jesus has more to say about the righteousness of those in the
kingdom, which will be considered in our next study.
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