Community in Action February 5, 2021

“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.”

Matthew 5:17

    In the Sermon on the Mount we have a compilation of many of the teachings of Jesus. It is like the Gospels in a nutshell. This verse, though, is key not only to the nutshell, but the entire New Testament. This verse is the key also to the intent of the Old Testament. The Old Testament, referred to by the Hebrews as the Tanakh, which includes the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings.

    The Hebrew Bible is the same as our Old Testament. The three sections have also been referred to as the Law, the Prophets, and Writings. You will notice that the Torah and the Law are actually the same section. Another translation of Torah is “The Instruction.” That is this is something to guide us. This is something which is given to us to direct us in our relationship with God and with others.

    When Jesus mentions the Law and the Prophets, even though it is only two thirds of the Old Testament, it is really a short hand for saying the entire Hebrew Bible. Jesus is saying he did not come to stop us from using the Old Testament to guide us in our relationships, but he came to fulfill what is written in it.

    How does Jesus fulfill the Old Testament? Just as we understand that language is used to convey one’s thoughts or understanding, so we know that language can not fully convey the message which is being spoken. 

    We are not only bound my our culture, but by our words. We also know that the meaning of words change. In the King James Version of the bible Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:14 are “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus didn’t mean for the little children to suffer, the more modern translation in the New International Versions says, “Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

    So there is a message in the words of Jesus above which the translator is trying to convey. The understanding that I have learned is that Jesus is saying he has not come to abolish the words in the Old Testament, but to show what it means to live out the words of guidance, instruction, or, sometimes translated, as law.

    Jesus is the example of what it means to live out the way God longs for us walk in his creation. This is also support by Matthew 22:34-40, the two greatest commandments which verse 40 says, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    So I love this verse above because it reminds me that when ever I am not sure what I should do or how I should act or even what kind of person I should be I can remember Jesus was the one who showed us in the Gospels how we should live. He showed compassion to all, cared for the needy, and challenged us to sacrifice ourselves for others. All these things of course are signs of our devotion to God, which is the number one commandment, according to Jesus in Matthew 22.

    So let us find ways we can help fulfill the Law and the Prophets by following the example of our Savior and Lord, Jesus.

    Blessings to you,

    Pastor Randy

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