Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jesus and the Old Testament

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. I tell you the truth, 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. Matthew 5:17-18 (NIV). 
Jesus did not end the Old Testament nor eliminate God’s revelation found in the Old Testament (see Luke 24:27; Luke 24:44). Instead, Jesus came to fulfill the Law, the Writings and the Prophets of the Old Testament.  Jesus completely and perfectly obeyed the teachings of the Old Testament (e.g., see Matthew 1:22; Matthew 2:15, 17, 23).  In fact, Jesus is the full realization of the Law, the Prophets and the Writings (Luke 24:44).

Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:17-18 makes clear His relationship to the Law of Moses and the Prophets.  The verses after Matthew 5:18 get more specific, contrasting Jesus’ teaching with many common interpretations of the Law and Prophets.  “You have heard that it was said…,” He begins, and then concludes, “But I tell you.…” Jesus revealed the true intent of the Old Testament, rather than its legalistic interpretations. 

Jesus is often called the “new Moses”, the “new Solomon”, and the “new Prophet”.  His teachings found in His Sermon on the Mount/Sermon on the Plain (see Matthew 5:1-7:29; Luke 6:20-49) explains what God truly expects of His people.  With His wisdom teachings (e.g., Matthew 11 - 13), Jesus becomes the new Solomon and the new Prophet with His many prophecies (e.g., Matthew 23 - 25).  Essentially, Jesus’ life and His teaching covers the entire Hebrew Old Testament and its three section (the Law, the Prophets and the Writings).

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