Sunday, September 23, 2007

Part 4 - Jesus and the Law


Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with giving us a description of the way those who belong to the Kingdom should behave.

He explains that a New Birth is absolutely necessary to enter the Kingdom, which is a spiritual kingdom right now.

Jesus explains that we are the salt, and must remain pure, so that we are useful to God. Jesus said if salt was to lose its saltiness, it would be thrown on the ground for men to trample upon, and be of no good to anyone.

Jesus also explains that we are to be the light of the world. Once we have been born again, we receive the Holy Spirit, act accordingly as members of the Kingdom, staying pure in God’s Word, and act as a light, to bring others to the Love of Christ.

This is Christianity made basic, to become members of the Kingdom through salvation. Keep the Word of God pure in us, and to share the Light of Christ with the World.

Jesus continues His sermon by explaining His stand on the Law.

Matthew 5:17 : Jesus and 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.


a. Law

The Pentateuch was the first 5 books of the Jewish scriptures, which are the first 5 books of our Old Testament. This was also called the Law of Moses.

b. Prophets

The prophets Jesus was referring to was what we would call the Major and Minor Prophets. This, included with the writings of the first 5 books, would comprise the whole of Jewish scripture, or what we call the Old Testament.

The scriptures that Jews read today are the same as they were as given by God thousands of years ago.

c. Jesus fulfilled

Jesus said, “I have not come to abolish them {the Law & Prophets}, but to fulfill them.” Jesus fulfilled the law by meeting its just demands with a perfect life, and satisfying its curse by dying on the cross.

Jesus fulfilled the Law, being perfect. And Jesus also fulfilled the writings of the Prophets, because they prophesied of His coming, His life, and His crucifixion.

Jesus is not speaking against the Law, but against the hypocrites, and the Pharisees legalism.

Their legalism was not the keeping of all details of the law, but the hallow sham of keeping the laws externally, to gain merit with God, while breaking them inwardly.

They followed the letter of the law, while ignoring the spirit.

Jesus rebukes the Pharisees’ interpretation of the Law and their view of righteousness by works.

Jesus preaches that righteousness comes only through faith in Him and His work.

Jesus then gives examples of this externalism of the Law.

Matthew 5:18

18 I tell you the truth, 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.


a. Smallest Letter

“pass away” is not a good translation for #3928 par-er'-khom-ahee, a better translation would have been “arrive”, Until Heaven and Earth Arrive. Jesus speaking of the New Heaven and New Earth.

After judgment, there will be a new heaven, and a new earth, and a new Jerusalem.

Because the heaven and earth and Jerusalem that is here now, has been touched by sin.

b. Least Stroke of a Pen

The Greek word here is “iota”. It refers to the little horn or mark one would put as a horn on a Hebrew letter.

I believe Jesus is saying a few things in this statement.

1. The written Word IS the Word of God.

2. Every mark in the Word was guided by the Holy Spirit and matters.

3. Every part of the Word of God is important, and counts until it has all been accomplished.

c. Until everything is accomplished

The Law accomplished what it was written for!

The Law and Prophets was fulfilled by Christ.

The law was meant to be fulfilled by Christ, in His life, Death, and resurrection, which brought about a New Covenant.

Matthew 5:19

19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same 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.


From the literal, the word loo'-o was translated into break. But loo’-o does not really mean break. It means “loosen”.

The scripture should read, “Anyone who loosens even the least of these commands…”

Jesus is speaking to those who teach the Word to others.

In the New Testament, all believers are considered priests, or saints, who are to share the Gospel, Word of God with others, with Jesus as our High Priest.

If you loosen what the Lord commands, and teach others to do so, you will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Those who are disloyal to the authority of the Word of God will be judged.

He shall be called least in the Kingdom, means that such a person will not be allowed in.

You can not make your own rules and call yourself a citizen.

Jesus says that anyone who lives by the Lord’s commands, and teaches them as they are written, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus, our Lord is setting the BIBLE, the written Word of God as the standard of all righteousness, and He recognizes no other.

Matthew 5:20

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.


Jesus is making it clear what being the least means.

Our righteousness must be the standard of righteousness set forth by the Word of God, not a loosened version set forth by slackers.

The Pharisees and teachers of the Law had their righteousness, because they were outwardly obedient to the Word of God, but ignored the Spirit of the Word.

They were “self-righteous”.

Thinking they could meet with relationship with God on their own terms.

But the Bible is the standard for righteousness, and the only way to meet with God, is on His terms alone.


How are we to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

Not by our righteousness but His.

A Jesus taught, we must be born again!

According to the Word, not man…

It’s not words.

It’s not dunking in the water three times and your safe.

It’s not going to church every Sunday.

It’s not owning two Bibles, a Jesus bumper sticker and your own copy of the Passion of the Christ.

How can we enter the Kingdom of Heaven in our un-righteouness?

Easy, because Jesus is the gatekeeper.

And He knows His sheep by name, and they know His voice.

Listen to God’s voice.

Listen to your Good Shepherd calling you.


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