The new and remarkable teaching and authority of Jesus of Nazareth alarmed many who did not understand that he, in fact, did not come to abolish either the Law or the Prophets. Rather, he came to actually fulfill them. Jesus declared that until heaven and earth pass away, not even an iota, not even a dot, would pass from the Law until everything written in it was fully accomplished. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, the Messiah and Ruler promised to come and make an end of sin and death. He comes not to annul the promise but rather to fulfill it.
As New Testament Christians our relationship with the Old Testament law can seem complicated. While there are issues that we must sort out, let us be clear on one thing: the Law was, is, and will forever be the word of God. It is all breathed out by God and is useful for us. While it is clear that we are not under the law as our operating covenant with God, it is also clear that we cannot safely ignore it.
Lord God, open our eyes to behold wondrous things out of your Law.
“The prescriptions of the Mosaic covenant for ritual cleansing were a sign of the need for purification in a more profound and complete sense. Jesus’ teaching raises a question about where such cleansing might be found. The immediate context provides no answer, though his teaching about the significance of his death ultimately offers a solution to this problem.”
~ David G. Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992. p. 114.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Jesus Fulfills the Law, Matthew 5.13-20
Peterson, Engaging with God