April 19 – Sermon on the Mount – Law Fulfillment

Read Matthew 5:17-20

In 2018, Hasbro did a study on the play habits of 2,000 Monopoly fans.  They discovered that half of them admitted to some form of cheating: stealing from the bank, making up their own rules, skipping spaces on the board. Hasbro then decided to make a Monopoly Cheater Edition which coaxed people to cheat. In today’s reading, Jesus challenges those listening by telling them He has fulfilled the law. He also condemns the Scribes and Pharisees who chose to “make up their own rules.”  Jesus gives three points about the law:

  1.  vs. 17 – The Law is Fulfilled

The Scribes and Pharisees thought that Jesus came to destroy the law.  He seemed to defile it; healing on the Sabbath, being a friend to publicans and sinners, etc.   Meanwhile, the Pharisees were the ones destroying the Law with their own rules and hypocritical lives.  The Law was a shadow pointing to the good things to come (Hebrews 10:1).  Jesus was born under the law (Galatians 4:4), His death and resurrection fulfilled the law in that He bore the curse of the law on the cross (Galatians 3:13). Jesus protests, at the thought of canceling or weakening the law “Do not think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets…”  The Savior of our souls is a destroyer of nothing, but the works of Satan.

What rules have you put in place “to appear” more Christ-like?

  • vs. 18-19 – The Law is Eternal

After declaring He came to fulfill the law, He now proceeds to affirm the value of the Law.  Jesus declares that till heaven and earth pass, the smallest letter or stroke of a pen, will never disappear until ALL is accomplished.  Whatever belongs to God and bears His stamp, will be preserved.  He gives charge to His disciples to preserve the Law, and shows them the danger of neglecting it.  Jesus condemns those who set the Law aside, and those who encourage others to do so. The truly honorable are those who promote correct doctrine.  He will honor those who honor Him (1 Samuel 2:30).  Jesus proclaims the enduring quality of the Law. 

What plans will you make to pass on His enduring Word to future generations?

  • vs 20 – The Law Reveals the Heart

“…unless your righteousness surpasses theirs… you’ll not enter Heaven”

Is Jesus referring to some kind of obedience to the law as a means of salvation in this verse?  NO!  He is focusing on heartfelt obedience vs self-justifying righteousness.  Jesus’ focus is on those who thought their self-righteousness would gain entrance into Heaven because of their works.  Deuteronomy 6:4-6,

“Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength, these commandments are to be on your hearts.”

Through the Law, the Scribes’ and Pharisees’ true hearts were revealed:  the love of man rather than the love of God.

The Scribes and Pharisees were trying to fulfill the Law with their own rules.  But there was only One who truly fulfilled the Law, Jesus.  The purpose of the Law was reconciliation to God through the coming Messiah. Only Jesus could fulfill that purpose.

Is your life characterized by a righteousness that comes from the heart?  Or are you justifying yourself, lowering God’s standard or creating your own rules to live by?

Janene Nagel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s