Matthew 5:17-20 Living Bible (TLB)
17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come—it isn’t to cancel the laws of Moses and the warnings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them and to make them all come true. 18 With all the earnestness I have I say: Every law in the Book will continue until its purpose is achieved. 19 And so if anyone breaks the least commandment and teaches others to, he shall be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But those who teach God’s laws and obey them shall be great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
20 “But I warn you—unless your goodness is greater than that of the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders, you can’t get into the Kingdom of Heaven at all!
Today’s passage talks about Jesus fulfilling the Law and the Prophets.
I love how the Living Bible says that He didn’t come to cancel anything but to “make them all come true.”
I once read that the odds of one man fulfilling just 8 of the prophecies about the Messiah could be demonstrated by this visual:
Take silver dollars and cover the state of Texas two feet deep. One of the silver dollars has a big “X” on it. Blindfold a man in Texas and ask him to walk as long as he wants to walk in whatever directions he wants to go and then to pick up one silver dollar.
The odds of him picking up the one silver dollar with an “X” on it are the same odds of any man fulfilling just 8 of the many Old Testament prophecies pointing to the Messiah.
And yet Jesus fulfilled all of them. He made “them all come true.”
He also fulfilled the Law.
The Law was given to mankind to show us that there is no way we can ever be good enough to be ‘right with God.’ Galatians 3:21 says, “For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.” Jesus came and showed us what real ‘right standing with God’ looks like and in the process followed the Law perfectly.
But Jesus also warns us in this passage that living life focused on the Law is not what God is looking for. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were doing that and Jesus tells us that our righteousness has to be better than theirs or we can forget about entering the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus didn’t live His life focused on the Law. He lived it focused on an intimate relationship with His Father. Numerous times He said that He only did what He saw His heavenly Father doing. And He only said what He heard His heavenly Father saying.
And by doing that, He kept the Law perfectly.
The Pharisees lived their lives focused on keeping the Law and ended up living in opposition to God. In fact, they killed Jesus–who was following the Father’s Law perfectly.