For Bible Study Nerds

For Bible Study Nerds


Matthew 5:17-20; The Fulfillment of the Law (Bible Difficulties)

posted by Mike Nappa

Jesus’ vehemence about the sacredness of the Law and the Prophets seems to contradict his other teaching and actions, particularly in his flagrant disregard for Sabbath rules and his teachings on ritual purity. Does that mean he was lying, or worse, simply placating his Pharisaical opponents with some kind of politically correct statement in Matthew 5:17-20? Most scholars would say no—and they’d point to the distinctions Christ makes between Scripture and tradition as the reason why.

In Jewish understanding, “The Law” consisted of the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). “The Prophets” encompassed the rest of the Old Testament, all of which was assumed to have been written by God’s prophets. Jesus clearly viewed all of these texts as divinely inspired and eternal—and he said just that. What he didn’t endorse was every human tradition and interpretation of the Law and the Prophets that had arisen among the Jewish people over the centuries. Those human traditions often elevated outward expressions over inward character, and thus they frequently negated the loving spirit of the law while obeying the harsh letter of the law.

Jesus’ teaching here, and life as a whole, helped his listeners to better understand and prioritize the true nature of God’s desires for humanity in practical, daily life. He alone became our living example of One who obeyed both the spirit and the letter of the Law. As one theologian explains, “He made the ritual commandments subordinate to moral duties, opposed the development of purity laws, and went further than the Pharisees in relaxing the Sabbath laws to meet human needs.”

In other words, as he said himself, Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets—not to abolish them.

 

Works Cited:

[ESB, 1828; IB7, 291]

 

ΩΩΩ

About: For Bible Study Nerds™

About: Mike Nappa

Copyright © 2014 to present by Nappaland Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Previous Posts

Matthew 8:1-4; The Man with Leprosy (Historical Backgrounds)
Ever wonder what happened to the former leper after Jesus healed him? It probably went something like this: After healing the man with leprosy, Jesus told him, “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” This would have forced the religious le

posted 12:00:56pm Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Matthew 8:1-4; The Man with Leprosy (Cultural Commentary)
The simple fact is that Jesus broke the law when he healed the man with leprosy identified in Matthew 8:2-4. Jewish law in the time of Jesus regarded leprosy as a grave offense. Upon diagnosis by the priest, the leper’s clothes were burned. The leper’s home was razed. He or she was immediatel

posted 12:00:53pm Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Matthew 8:1-4; The Man with Leprosy (Factual Info)
A few awful facts about leprosy in New Testament times: The term used for leprosy in the New Testament was a general reference to seemingly-incurable skin infections. It could have included the formal affliction, which we now call Hansen’s Disease, or any other “acute skin disease characteri

posted 12:00:52pm Dec. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Matthew 7:24-29; The Wise and Foolish Builders (Inductive Studies)
In exposition of Matthew 7:28-29, George Buttrick has commented, “People listened to Jesus, and then said: ‘That is what I have always known deep down, even though I have no words to say it.’” This, Buttrick explains, is something of what Matthew means when he says that Christ “taught as o

posted 12:00:39pm Dec. 12, 2014 | read full post »

Matthew 7:24-29; The Wise and Foolish Builders (Theological Commentary)
Ancient Judaic thought identifies three “departments of knowledge.” First is the Law, which “presents the commandments and claims of Jehovah to man.” Next is the Prophets, which “passes judgment on conduct in the light of God’s revealed will.” Third is Wisdom, and this is where Jesus c

posted 12:00:37pm Dec. 10, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.