Sermon on the Mount – Fulfilling the Law
The Fulfillment of the Law
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20, NIV)
A mission statement tells the public what a company or organization believes, its purpose, and its intent for the services and products they provide. Our first verse today can serve as the mission statement of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus came to earth to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.
Beginning with Adam and Eve, we learn that the consequence of sin is death. An animal was killed, blood was shed, to cover their nakedness. The first sacrifice. Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden. We see through their sons, Cain and Able, that sacrifices, blood sacrifices, were a necessary part of life to seek forgiveness for their sins. Sin brings death, including the eventual death of the sinner. Blood sacrifices were made to cover the sins, so that we could one day spend eternity with God.
When God delivered His people out of the hands of the Egyptians, He established the Old Covenant with them. Through Moses, God told the Israelites the laws they were to follow, and the consequences for not following the laws. Animal blood sacrifices were an integral part of the law. The shedding of the blood of a mostly perfect, innocent animal provided temporary atonement for their sins and served as a way to draw His people near to Him.
But no animal was completely perfect. No sacrifice could completely wipe away the sins committed, because all sacrifices were tainted with sin, with imperfection. And so, the Son of God volunteered Himself to be the perfect sacrifice. The shedding of His perfect, innocent blood would cover all the sins of the world: past, present, and future.
For centuries, the prophets predicted His coming. Hundreds, of prophecies were given foretelling of His coming. The Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior, would fulfill these prophecies. And Jesus did! Nearly all the prophecies made about Him were fulfilled. Those that were not fulfilled, were not fulfilled yet. They will be fulfilled with His second coming.
Jesus fulfilled the Law through His life and death. He lived a perfect life, upholding the Law of God. He committed no sin. But the law required a sacrifice, required a death, the shedding of blood. Jesus fulfilled the law. He died. He shed His blood, His perfect, innocent blood for the sins of mankind. Animal sacrifices were no longer needed. Jesus’ sacrifice covered all sins. Jesus fulfilled the law.
By fulfilling the law, Jesus established the New Covenant. While we are no longer held to the rigors of the Old Testament law, we are still held to the Law of God. Our lives must reflect that! By accepting Jesus’ sacrifice, the cover of His blood, we are accepting that the Lord God is in charge of our lives. We are to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him. We will fail. But we are not to give up. Jesus sacrificed His life because of His love for us. How does your life reflect Jesus’ sacrifice?
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