Think about it: All anyone had [at most] was their Old Testament, tho’ they didn’t call it that! God’s Word is under attack today, and we are called to defend it…all of it! And that’s just what Jesus did in our text.
We continue looking at the greatest sermon ever preached, by the greatest preacher Who ever lived. A great sermon has 3 elements:
1. Explanation—you explain the principles you want to get across. We all need to have the right principles in place in our lives. People who go wrong in practice invariably had the wrong principles behind it all. What you believe always affects how you behave.
2. Illustration—you paint a word picture to help open the eyes of the listeners. It’s like a window that shines the light of truth into people’s hearts.
3. Application—you make it relevant to the people listening. Jesus did this, because He knew our human nature, that we will listen to explanation and illustration, but we resist making personal application to ourselves. We may apply it to others, but we need someone else to help apply it to us! It’s during application that many preachers get into trouble. People don’t mind me explaining Biblical principles or illustrating them, but if I go applying it to them, personally, well, the nerve of that guy!
I’m thankful for a group that doesn’t mind having their toes stepped on, realizing it’s God and His Word applying pressure, not His man.
The kids sing, “I stand alone on the Word of God…” Actually, it’s needs to step on us!
Well, in this great sermon of Jesus’, He’s already given us the explanation…the beatitudes: How we enter / express / enjoy the kingdom of God. After His explanation He gave 2 great illustrations, of salt and light. “Salt that penetrates and light that radiates”. Now Jesus moves to His application.
Now, since He’s preaching to Jewish people who have only the OT, He makes His application there. He knows that a good Jew will take what He’s preaching and lay it beside their OT scroll and see how it measures up.
v. 17 Here in this passage Jesus shows them 3 things:
The culmination of the law, appreciation for the law, and interpretation of the law.
We’ll just look at part this morning, and then finish up tonite.
I. Culmination of the OT
The OT is divided into the 2 parts Jesus mentioned in v. 17: The Law & The Prophets. Jesus is saying, what I say will be in harmonious agreement with the teachings of your OT. I won’t contradict it, diminish the importance of it, or destroy it. But then He goes a step further, and says, not only will I not destroy it, I’ve actually come to fulfill it! Jesus is saying, I am the very culmination of your OT!
Look ahead to 7:28-29. No wonder they were astonished at His authority…He was making a very major claim. And no wonder many of the Jewish leaders like the scribes and Pharisees wanted rid of Him. But they had a problem. In order to condemn Him, they would have to find fault in Him acc’d to their OT. But He’s claiming to be the very fulfillment of their OT.
How was Jesus the fulfillment of the OT? Well, the OT law can be divided into 3 parts: The moral law, the ceremonial law, and the civil [judicial] law.
The moral law is God’s holy demands for His people, such as the 10 commandments, the “thou shalt not’s”, which, by the way, are still in effect today.
The ceremonial law is the OT system of sacrifices, offerings and feasts. More on that in a minute.
The civil law was their actual government as a nation.
Jesus fulfilled all 3 elements of the law.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
He was the God-Man. And though he was wrapped in human flesh and subject to the same temptations as we are, He never sinned, and so He fulfilled the moral law…He kept the law to perfection in a way we cannot!
Even in His trial and death, no fault could be found in Him, and the Roman soldier said, Truly this was the Son of God. Even His enemies had to admit that He had done what none other had ever done…fulfilled the moral law of God!
About the ceremonial law: what is the meaning of all these slain animals, blood, feasts and offerings? Simply this: they are all types and pictures of the death of Christ. And just as Jesus fulfilled God’s moral law in His perfect life, He fulfilled God’s ceremonial law in His sacrificial death!
The symbolism and typology in the OT is so extraordinary…a very exciting study. When you look at the Tabernacle you see Jesus in every article.
The fence around it has but 1 gate. If you were gonna get to God’s presence inside the Holy of Holies, you had to enter thru that 1 gate. So much for “we’re all going to heaven, just taking different roads!” Jesus said in the NT, I am the door, I am the way. The tabernacle gate’s colors even symbolized things about Christ.
Then you came to a brass altar, a picture of judgment, and you had to have a perfect, male lamb to sacrifice in order to go any further. This is a picture of Christ. And the OT progression is phenomenal. Back in Genesis, Abel offered a lamb for himself. It was a lamb for a man. In Exodus, Moses said every family had to offer a lamb. 1 lamb for one fam. In Leviticus on the Day of Atonement, 1 lamb was slain for the entire nation. See the progression? A lamb for a man, then a lamb for a fam., then a lamb for their whole clan…but then OT became NT as John the Baptist said, Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!
After the brazen altar is the brazen laver, where we see Jesus, the water of life. Then you enter the holy place, with reverence, and when you do, look to your right, and see the table of showbread, and you see Jesus the bread of life. Look to your left and there’s a golden lampstand, indicating Jesus, the light of the world. Straight ahead is an altar of incense…Jesus ever living and making intercession for us as our great High Priest. Enter thru the veil that Jesus tore a path thru, and approach the throne of grace, and you find the Ark of the Covenant, inside of which are the tablets of stone w/ God’s moral law, the commandments written upon them. Also in there is Aaron’s rod that budded, just a dead stick that brought forth life, and wow, there’s Jesus, the Resurrection! Also a jar of manna for Jesus our nourishement. Manna that was white for His purity, manna that was round for His deity, and manna that fell as a gift from heaven right where the people were…and you can come to Jesus today, and He’ll take you right where you are. Jesus said it first, ‘Come as you are, and you’ll leave changed!’ “Just as I am…” Atop the Ark of the Covenant is a slab of gold, a mercy seat, upon which blood was sprinkled by the High Priest, and now when God looks down upon the moral law in that box, He has to look at it thru the blood.
That means a lot to me, because I cannot keep the moral law, so praise God Jesus kept it for me, then fulfilled the ceremonial law, doing away w/ the need for the veil, the priest, and all the pomp and circumstance…and no more blood is required as an offering.
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Jesus fulfilled the moral and ceremonial law. So what about the civil [judicial] law?
This was given just for Israel as a nation, w/ God as the leader in a Theocracy. Listen carefully: at the end of Jesus’ ministry he turned to the Jews and said,
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
I Pet. chapter 2 makes it clear that new nation is the church, and so Christ fulfilled the civil, judicial law, in the establishment of His church, and now we are His nation under His leadership.
Jesus came to be the fulfillment of the law!
Aren’t you glad He did? Because, the only human way to heaven is to keep the law, which many have tried or claimed to do, but none have come close to doing. So, salvation is of the Lord, the only One to keep the law, to fulfill it. So, salvation isn’t by trying, it’s by trusting. You cannot work your way to heaven. It’s not if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds. The law has to be fulfilled, and it was in Christ in His perfect life, and sacrificial death, and if you get saved today you join the church in following a new leader in His kingdom.
So, what about the prophets? How did Jesus fulfill both the law AND the prophets? Over 330 fulfilled prophecies, that’s how!
Imagine the scene in heaven when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and old Micah stands up and says, I told you so! [Micah 5:2]
Born of a virgin—Isaiah 7:14
Of the tribe of Judah—Moses [Gen. 49:10]
Riding the colt of the donkey—Zechariah
Betrayed for 30 pcs. of silver—that’s me too! [Zech. 9:9]
Stood silent before accusers—Isaiah 53
Lots cast for his robe, pierced hands and feet, laughed to scorn, thirsty, crying My God, why hast thou forsaken me?—Psalmist in Psalm 22
…and if Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies about His first coming, don’t you know He’ll fulfill the prophecies of His 2nd coming! Some don’t believe the rapture will really occur…that’s okay, many didn’t believe in His 1st coming either, but it happened nonetheless!
In Bethlehem He came TO His own, He’s coming back FOR His own, and 7 years later He’ll return WITH His own to set up His Kingdom!
Jesus is the culmination of the OT.
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