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SOTM 3: “Fulfill”

June 16, 2010

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. (Matthew 5:17)

This past week we looked at the teaching in the Sermon On The Mount containing the images of “salt” & “light”, but also the statement Jesus made concerning his relationship to Torah. This statement is loaded with meaning; the claim to “fulfill” the Law and the Prophets would mean Jesus is making a huge claim…to be their proper interpretation. In other words, with Jesus, this is what Torah/Law looks like properly lived out.

Later in Matthew’s gospel (22:37-40) Jesus summarizes the intent of the entire Law and Prophets: love God, love others. I’ve heard Dwight Pryor describe this teaching of Jesus as “the Torah in one word”.  As we progress through our study of the SOTM we will need to continually reflect on this love emphasis, as we consider Jesus’ teachings and how he performed them.

The claim to “fulfill” Torah reminded me of another loaded statement that Jesus made, recorded for us in John’s gospel:

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:5-6)

I’ve heard that common names for the Torah/Law in first-century Jewish life were “the way”, “the truth”, and “the life” (I don’t have primary sources for this, so if you know of some I would love to check them out). If this is the case, then Jesus made another very loaded statement about himself, as well as his connection to the Torah/Law. Which for me means that we dare not dismiss the Torah/Law, but rather ought to seek to see how Christ fulfills it and brings it to life.

One Comment
  1. May 8, 2013 4:48 am

    *It’s hard to find knowledgeable people for this theme, however you sound like you will know what you happen to be speaking about! Thanks

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