From Hard Copy to Heart Copy: Jesus and the Law and Prophets

Today’s text, Matthew 5:17 is foundational to and included in everything Jesus reveals.

The One True and Living God revealed Himself to Moses.  Exodus 3:1-15

13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

The One True and Living God revealed to Moses the attitudes and actions of right relationship with Him and each other.  (Begins in Exodus 19)

This revelation of right (righteous) attitudes and actions God revealed to Moses is called “The Law (Torah).”

  • The Law (Torah) has 248 commandments.
  • The Law (Torah) has 365 prohibitions.
  • There are then 613 requirements in the Law (Torah).

The revelation of God’s continued guidance and communication with God’s people was (is) given through “The Prophets.”

  • The Old Testament includes various categories for “The Prophets.”
  • There are the “writing prophets” and the “oral prophets.” (Somewhere over 70)
  • Another approach is based primarily upon the length of their writings, “The Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel) and “The Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi).”

In possibly the most pivotal statement in the Bible, Jesus reveals;

“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

Jesus makes several things VERY clear in this passage.

Do not think…             How we think about the Law and the Prophets is extremely important.

I have come…              God becoming human is purposeful and intentional.  Emphasis on Jesus’ action.

To abolish the law…    Working against God’s law is NOT Jesus’ purpose.

Or the prophets…        Working against God’s prophets is NOT Jesus’ purpose.

I have come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.

The Law God revealed to Moses (Mosaic Law) contains three primary parts.

  1. The moral
  2. The ceremonial
  3. The civil

The only proper response (for everyone, including Jesus) to God’s law is duty and obedience.

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law…” Galatians 4:4

Jesus’ proclaimed that he would perfectly and completely fill full the Mosaic Law; moral, ceremonial and civil.

Upon the cross Jesus proclaimed success.  He had now brought to perfect completion all of the Mosaic Law.

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  John 19:28-30

Finished!  This one word, stated in this moment by our Lord, carries more significance than possibly all other words combined.  Of this word C.H. Spurgeon said, “an ocean of meaning in a drop of language, a mere drop, for that is all that we can call one word…”

It is finished!  The law given to Moses and written on stone, totally fulfilled in Jesus, is now God’s law within us, written on our hearts.  Jeremiah 31:33

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Jesus didn’t abolish the Law and Prophets, he moved them from hard copy (stone) to heart copy (internal).

  • “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.” Hebrews 9:22 – Filled full in Jesus.
  • “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb.” Exodus 12:21 – Filled full in Jesus
  • “but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people.” Hebrews 9:7 – Filled full in Jesus
  • “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Hebrews 9:24 – Filled full in Jesus.
  • “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;” 1 Peter 3:18 – Filled full in Jesus

Today, receive him (Jesus) and believe in his name!

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  John 1:12, 13


Listen – My Story

  • What is one of your favorite Old Testament stories? Why?
  • Do you find the Old Testament to be as important as the New Testament? Why or why not?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. The weekend lesson included, “The only proper response (for everyone, including Jesus) to God’s law is duty and obedience.
    1. Read Ephesians 2:8, 9. Salvation is by grace.
    2. Read Matthew 7:24-27. Wisdom is putting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount into practice.
    3. Are there matters of duty and obedience in response to God’s grace?
    4. How do you respond to people who claim Christ, but have no sense of duty or obedience?
  1. If you receive and believe Jesus (John 1:12, 13), what are your duties and what are you to obey?
    1. Read John 14:15.
    2. Read Matthew 16:24.
    3. Is there duty and obedience required in these passages?

Life – Taking it Home

In what ways will you respond to Jesus fulfilling the Law and the Prophets on your behalf?

Lift – Prayer

  • Please thank God for Jesus who fulfilled ALL the Law and Prophets for you!
  • Please pray for the MCA Emergency Cold Weather Shelter (Tuesday evenings) and consider serving the Lord in this vital community outreach.
  • Please pray for the United States of America in this election/post-election week.