Matthew 5:17-20 – Christ Fulfills the Law:
17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Golden Rule – Note “the Law and the Prophets”
12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Matthew 11:13 – 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John,
What is considered to be “the Great Commandment” – Matthew 22:34-39
The Great Commandment
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
What does Jesus speak about in our study verses of Matthew 5:17-20?
Prove this statement that: Each beatitude logically follows the ones before it, and every subsequent teaching is related to previous teachings. Use Matthew 5:3-20 to prove it.
What does Jesus speak about in our study verses of Matthew 5:17-20? Everything He taught directly or by the apostles was based on the Old Testament. One can’t accept the New Testament without accepting the Old Testament. Prove this statement…: That each beatitude logically follows the ones before it, and every subsequent teaching is related to previous teachings. Use Matthew 5:3-20 for proof.
- Verses 3-12 depict the C_________ of B __________, who are kingdom citizens and children of God.
- Verses 13-16 teach the function of believers as God’s S_______ S ____ and light in the corrupt and darkened world.
- Verses 17-20 teach the foundation for the inner qualities of the U and for functioning as God’s salt and light. That foundation is G______ W____, the only standard of righteousness and of T_____.
Matthew 5:17 – 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. What three reasons are presented in the verse?
(1) to accomplish or obey the Old Testament laws;
(2) to bring out the full meaning of the law and prophecy, showing how Christ is the fulfillment of all to which they pointed;
(3) to bring the Old Testament law and promises to their destined end or intended completion.
Most likely, “fulfill” contains the thrusts of both (2) and (3). Jesus fills to fullness; he completes and transcends the law.
- The Old Testament law is not rescinded but now must be reinterpreted and reapplied in light of Jesus. God does not change his mind. He did not send his Son to repeal, abolish, or annul what he had told his people previously.
- Instead, the Father sent his Son as the fulfillment. Jesus’ coming had been part of God’s plan from creation (see Genesis 3:15). The disciples would not thoroughly understand how Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures until after his death and resurrection (Luke 24:25-27).
Jesus’ reference to the law means the commands in the P___________—the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy.
- In synagogues on the Sabbath, a rabbi would read a portion from the Law and a portion from the P_________.
- The Pharisees attempted to follow meticulously the L_______ and saw Jesus only as a lawbreaker. The Sadducees revered only the P__________ but missed the promises of the coming of the one through whom all nations on the earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18).
Jews of that day referred to the law in four different ways.
Jesus sternly told the scribes and Pharisees that they “invalidated the word of God for the sake of [their] tradition” (Matt. 15:6).
On the surface it seemed that the traditions made the law harder,
- But in reality they made it much easier, because observance was entirely external. Keeping the traditions demanded a great deal of effort, but it demanded no heart obedience and no faith in God.
God’s law had always required inward as well as outward obedience. “This people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote” (Isa. 29:13).
How did the standard of righteousness that the scribes and Pharisees taught and practiced different from God’s righteousness?
- It was: Eternal – Partial – Redefined – Self-Centered
- The Pharisees taught the law so it was: “eternal” Meaning?
- In reference to the law and tradition it was (E_______________O_____________) – Provide proof – an example
- They did not consider the Motives and Attitudes!
Read: Matthew 23:24-25 – Christ speaks of the people there…. What was their attitude? What is the contrast with Jesus’s view?
Why did Jesus consider this the worst kind?
Answer: Matthew 23:25-32 and Matthew 5:22, 27-28
Is there not a comparison with ‘religious ceremony’? Matthew 6:5-18
Works Righteousness – Matthew 23:13 – What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either. Note Matthew 23:13 and no 14 shows, but goes to 15: NLT & ESV
The NASB95 adds 14 in parentheses…
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
14 [“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.]
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one aproselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of bhell as yourselves.
The NKJV – sort of doubles it…. By including a verse 14.
The ESV – NLT – NIV – and no doubt others do NOT include a verse 14…
The righteousness practiced by the scribes and Pharisees also fell short of God’s righteousness because it was partial, woefully incomplete.
Matthew 23:23 ( KJV ) 23Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
What things were the Pharisees meticulous in? T______________ and P_____________
Why would things as Justice, Mercy, and Faithfullness be necessary to for them to do so?
Redefined because they took Biblical terms and redefined them to suit their own human perspectives and philosophy.
Even such commands as “Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44)
They interpreted not as a call to pure attitude of heart but as a requirement to perform certain rituals.
They knew they could not be holy in the same way God is holy—and had no desire to be—so they simply changed the meaning of holiness.
Not only was the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees external, partial, and redefined, but it was also completely self-centered. Producing…….. Their system of religion was designed to enhance what? ______________ and their satisfaction came when they received approval and commendation from men.
Contrast the Godly Person…………………..?
What happens to us if we allow ourselves to be ‘righteous in our own eyes’? Romans 10:3
The Pharisees did what view or attitude about the keeping of the Sabbath Holy?
They decided that a burden is food equal to the weight of a fig, enough wine for mixing in a goblet, milk enough for one swallow honey enough to put on a wound, oil enough to anoint a small member of the body, water enough to moisten eyesalve, paper enough to write a customs house notice, ink enough to write two letters of the alphabet, reed enough to make a pen, and so on and on.
To carry anything more than those prescribed amounts on the Sabbath was to break the law.
They decided that to heal was work, but made exceptions for grave situations. But only enough treatment to keep the patient from getting worse was allowed; he could not be fully treated until after the Sabbath.
To the strict orthodox Jew of Jesus’ day the law was a plethora of extra-Scriptural rules and regulations.
Matthew 5:17-19 17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven! NLT
If Jesus did not come to abolish the law, does that mean all the Old Testament laws still apply to us today? Did Jesus mean that Christians today must follow every law recorded in the Old Testament?
Matthew 5:20 – 20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
The Pharisees were content to obey the laws outwardly without humbly looking to God to change their hearts (or attitudes).
Righteousness Check: Jesus was saying that his listeners needed a different kind of righteousness altogether (love and obedience), not just a more intense version of the Pharisees’ righteousness (legal compliance).
Our righteousness must:
1. Come From what God does in us, not what we … ______________________
2. Be God-centered, Not S___________________
3. Be based on R_____________for God, not approved by P____________
4. Go beyond keeping the law to _____ who gave the law.
The phrase the Law and the Prophets, however, was always understood to refer to the Jewish Scriptures themselves, not the rabbinical interpretations.
Because Matthew does not qualify his use of Law, we are safe to say that it was God’s whole law—the commandments, statutes, and judgments; the moral, judicial, and ceremonial—that Jesus came not to abolish but to fulfill. (Luke 24:44)
The Law is Affirmed by the Prophets
The Law is Completed by ________________.
The Old Testament is complete; it is all God intended it to be.
Jesus is the THEME of the Old Testament:
Luke 24:27 ( KJV ) 27And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
John 5:39 ( KJV ) 39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Hebrews 10:7 ( KJV ) 7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
But most importantly, as the Spirit surely intends to emphasize here, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament by being its fulfillment.
Note Matthew 5:18-20
What authority does Jesus use?
Matthew 5:21-26 – Jesus teaches about anger and murder
21“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be £liable to the court.’ 22“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘£You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before £the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the £fiery hell. 23“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. 25“Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26“Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last £cent.
“But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.” (nrsv) When Jesus said, “But I say to you,” he was not doing away with the law or adding his own beliefs. Rather, he was giving a fuller understanding of why God made that law in the first place. For example, Moses said, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). The Pharisees read this law and, not having literally murdered anyone, felt righteous. Yet they were angry enough with Jesus that they would soon plot his death, though they would not do the dirty work themselves.
Jesus, however, taught that his followers should not even become angry enough to murder, for then they would already have committed murder in their heart. Killing is a terrible sin, but anger is a great sin too because it also violates God’s command to love. “Anger,” here, refers to a seething, brooding bitterness against a brother or sister, which could refer to a fellow believer. It is a dangerous emotion that always threatens to leap out of control, leading to violence, emotional hurt, increased mental stress, spiritual damage, and, yes, even murder.
Matthew 5:23-24 – Anger
“So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and o
Jesus explained that if the worshiper remembered someone’s anger against him or her, that person should leave the gift and go immediately to be reconciled to the offended brother or sister. Then he should come back to worship and offer his or her gift.ffer your gift.” (nrsv)
What about “Grudges”? What might that cause within us? How might this look within our own households?
Matthew 5:25-26 – 25 “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.
Settle matters quickly – why?
The verse deals primarily with an adversary, yet between our brothers/sisters what was Jesus recommending?
Courts and Justice
In the first century, courts were controlled by the army of occupation, the Romans. Appealing a court decision meant seeking the favor of some Roman stiff-shirt and, eventually, the emperor himself in Rome. At every turn, the justice system meant power, compromise, and submission to paganism.
Today in democratic societies, courts are accountable to law and to the people. Trial by jury and rights protected by constitutional agreements make our courts as fair as any in the history of human law. But still, should Christians use them?
Christians should try to settle disputes without the intervention of the state as third party. (Even our courts encourage such settlements.) Many Christian attorneys and counselors help people avoid formal court action.
When a lawsuit appears necessary, remember, parties go to court as antagonists, doing battle, seeking a victory. The process can be emotionally exhausting. So pray for justice and for your “enemies” across the courtroom.