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)
This is Bible Study week in our 40 Days of Discipline journey. As a reminder, our theme this year is: Be like Jesus. In subsequent weeks we will focus on the actions of Jesus as we consider how Jesus practiced the Disciplines. This week though, we will focus on the mind of Jesus as we explore His thoughts about the Bible. Of course, during the time of Jesus the Old Testament was the Bible. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount provides excellent insights into what He thought about the Bible and also what He thought about how some people interpreted the Bible. Our study passages will, therefore, be taken from the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in the 5th, 6th and 7th chapters of Matthew.
Monday through Friday of this week we will consider a selected passage from the Sermon on the Mount. Saturday will be our review day. Each day you will be asked to think about the selected passage and answer a couple of questions. You can use the comments section of this blog to share your answers if you feel led to do so. Today’s passage is from Matthew 5 verses 17 – 20 (see above). Please prayerfully read and reflect on the passage and answer the questions below.
- Based on the passage, how would you describe Jesus’ relationship with the Bible (Law & Prophets)?
- How does this compare to your relationship with the Bible?
February 15, 2016 at 6:01 am
Jesus advocates keeping the laws and the Prophets here because the original aim of these laws were focused on the love of God. The civil., ceremonial and the moral laws were and still relevant even after Christ has come. So our righteousness must come from what God does in us, not self focused and have reverence for God.
February 15, 2016 at 7:41 am
Jesus’ relationship was respectful and reverential He knew the Law and practised it. His main purpose here on earth was to truly show us how to live (with love) and without the law being a burden to us.
I have great respect for the Bible as I was taught by elders and being older now, I see the word, put into action, is creative and truly comes to pass. Also that through time and experience God’s love endures when I rise and fall for sinner and saint.
God’s Laws are so innate to the earth and humankind.
February 15, 2016 at 8:12 am
Based on the passage, how would you describe Jesus’ relationship with the Bible (Law & Prophets)? His actions and words further solidified their importance and message. He wanted us to know He was the fulfillment of all the Law pointed to and the Prophets foretold.
How does this compare to your relationship with the Bible? My relationship with the Bible is still growing and evolving. With each stage of my spiritual walk I learn more, realize how little I know and understand of the Bible, it’s teaching, and its Author. My prayer is for that relationship to grow.
February 15, 2016 at 8:45 am
Jesus is making it clear that He respects, will uphold, and in no way, change the law. Eventually many believers became aware of the fact that Jesus Himself is the fulfillment of the prophesies.
When I was in college, I met a few people who thought the Bible was just a book of fictional stories, or mentioned that it was outdated. When it comes to my relationship with the Bible, it has been and will always be factual in every aspect, and seen by me as the most perfect manual, if followed and applied, for a life that leads to countless blessings and joy. Considering parts as not applicable to life today will lead to regrets. Thank God that any child of His can ask for repentance and live the life of fulfillment God intended for them in the first place.
February 15, 2016 at 2:02 pm
Thank you for these verses … they are so topical. Now I see Jesus directly answered that growing voice in our culture that Jesus overturned the old Testament. Indeed, the verse indicates that Jesus endorsed the Old Testament.
The more I read it again and again, the more the Bible evolves for me. At first I saw a distinct division between the Old and New Testament and could not reconcile the two – seemed like two different Gods to me. Over time however the Bible has consolidated in my mind and spirit as One Word…One Book…One God …
February 15, 2016 at 4:48 pm
The Bible is clearly important to Jesus. Its words are sacred -He says not even the smallest letter should disappear from it. This passage shows us how critical it is to Jesus that we uphold what the Bible teaches.
My relationship with the Bible is also growing. I still have a lot to work on, but I make it a priority now to be in the Word as much as possible, to make it a center in my life. I am working on understanding and practicing the commands so that they become second nature to me.
February 15, 2016 at 10:30 pm
Jesus embraced the Bible (Law & Prophets) fully. But being the fulfillment of the Law he pushes/points us to a bigger picture ie the Spirit of the law…that of Loving God wholly and our neighbor as our self (Matt 37:40) as on these two all the Law & Prophets hinge/depend. It will push us beyond the righteousness of the Pharisees as our righteousness is in Him. Therefore as I embrace the Bible fully as God’s word to me.. there is therefore no OT/NT conflict. As GSharpe said so well One Word…One Book…One God. The challenge is living it out daily. Thank God for his grace and mercy and help.
February 15, 2016 at 10:44 pm
As always, your comments are extremely insightful. Jesus the living Word is totally committed to the entire body of the written word. I desire the same level of passion for the Bible that Jesus so clearly displayed.
February 15, 2016 at 11:24 pm
Thank you all for sharing….truly encouraging.
When I read the passage, I see Jesus showing us the correlation between the relevance of His own walk and ALL of Holy Scripture. He reminds me also that I should steer clear of creating categories of bible teachings (i.e. the convenient, hassle-free and useful scripture, and the impositions / inconsequential scripture).
The latter part of the passage brings it home for me as it informs how I am to engage the Bible. I am reminded that God’s standard of righteousness begins and ends with faith in Him and not the outward expression of holiness.
February 16, 2016 at 2:02 am
I would think that the Pharisees and the teachers stuck with the letter and missed the spirit of the laws. Jesus showed them the spirit of the laws, but as we know, they did not listen. The passage also shows the high standard and that if not for God’s grace, none would meet the standard, nor be worthy of His kingdom.
I am like a like a rough lump of clay that the Maker is still moulding and patiently redoing over and again.
February 16, 2016 at 3:23 am
I love the simple and yet comprehensive truth contained in the chorus of the song that goes…
“He came from Heaven to earth,
to show the way,
From the earth to the cross,
my debt to pay.”
I believe that, as He says in these verses, He came…
– to fulfil the Law – i.e. to live by it, sincerely, showing us the way
– and to fulfil the Prophets – meaning prophecy, of the Gospel, of the Messiah, providing for us the way
As such, He was totally submitted to the authority of the Bible and committed to its fulfilment in His life.
How does this compare for me? Honestly? Well, I feel that I would need to know the Word better first, before I could even pretend to have a similar attitude, but there is a potential excuse in that, and we must not let it be about knowledge when it is really meant to be about relationship. “Obey what you know” is a mantra I have come to value, and a path to continued growth in one’s faith and submission to our Lord and His ‘way’.