Jesus on the Law!


Jesus declared that He had not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them (Mt.5: 17). Why then do so many Christians believe that they are exempt from the Law? Jesus opposed only that part of the legal system that had replaced the Law and the Word of God with traditions (Jn.7: 19). Their traditions and wrong application of the Sabbath Law and rituals placed Jesus outside Jewish legalism. One could rescue an animal on the Sabbath but not heal a human being (Mt.12: 11-12).

There is a sharp distinction between the Jewish Law and the Ten Commandments (Mt.5: 19). The Law (Nomos or Thorah) was the Pentateuch and it contained the Ten Commandments (entole, mazuh), only they had taken a back seat to rituals and traditions (Mt.15: 1-9). The name Moses was synonymous with the Law (Jn.5: 46). The Prophets, in addition to the major and minor prophets, were scattered in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. The Psalms were basically David’s. Together, Jesus referred to them as the Scriptures (graphas Jn.5: 39). What then did Jesus come to fulfill? His arrival and mission fulfilled the predictions of the Law and the Prophets (Lk.4: 17-21; Mt.11: 9-14; Jn.1: 29-34).

Concerning the Big Ten, Jesus regarded them as essential for His followers being in the Kingdom on earth (Mt.5: 19-20). A young noble man asked how he could earn eternal life and Jesus specifically asked whether he had obeyed the Commandments. Jesus mentioned murder, adultery, stealing, false testimony, honoring parents and loving a neighbor (Mt.19: 16-19). The Pharisees no longer honored their parents and their tradition nullified the Word of God (Mt.15: 1-6). The same was true of marriage. Divorce was an option for Moses but not for God (Mt.19: 3-9; Ex.20: 14, 17). A person that loved a neighbor as much as God or him/her self was not far from the kingdom (Mk.12: 28-34; Mt.22: 34-40). And so was the stranger that went out of his way to care for another stranger (Lk.10: 25-37). Love for one self was greatest when one laid down a life for others (Jn.15: 13). And that was the command Jesus wanted his followers to practice (Jn.13: 34; 14: 15; 15: 14-17). In that sense, He wanted Christians to go beyond the Big Ten (Mt.5: 17-48). The followers of Christ are not exempt from the Big Ten; rather, they, like their Lord, must practice forgiveness, mercy, justice, righteousness and a host of additional things. Far too many just want to get by, just by their skin on their teeth (Mt.5: 19-20). Jesus came to fulfill the Law, dare we to disobey it?