This is what God gave me today in His word:
“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. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)
Quite possibly the two most used verses to support obedience to the commandments; to the ‘Law and the Prophets’, this verse states clearly that Christ came to fulfill rather than to abolish the Law. There can be no doubt about that. So the real question is, what does Jesus mean when He says that He’s come to “fulfill” the Law and the Prophets?
There are two things which answer that question for us:
- The nature of the law.
- The nature of the books of the Prophets.
The nature of the law was sacrificial. There were sacrifices for cleansing, for sin, for unintentional sin, and for many other occasions. The nature of the books of the prophets was to point forward to Christ. Something we see in the following verses:
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”(Y) 27 And beginning with Moses(Z) and all the Prophets,(AA) he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.(AB) (Luke 24:25-27)
Not only that, but we see that the books of the Prophets were actually referring to His death and crucifixion. Which we can infer by looking at where He says, “Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” Then seeing how He follows it up by explaining what Moses and the Prophets said of Himself. So here’s the conclusion that we can draw: when Jesus says that He’s going to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, He must be referring to His death and Resurrection. Which brings up the second and final question, “How does Jesus’ death and Resurrection fulfill the Law and the Prophets?”
Well the author of Hebrews tells us:
The law is only a shadow(A) of the good things(B) that are coming—not the realities themselves.(C) For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect(D) those who draw near to worship.(E)2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.(F) 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.(G) 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats(H) to take away sins.(I)
5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world,(J) he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;(K)
6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll(L)—
I have come to do your will, my God.’”[a](M)
8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”(N)—though they were offered in accordance with the law.9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.”(O) He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy(P) through the sacrifice of the body(Q) of Jesus Christ once for all.(R) (Hebrews 10:1-10)
Jesus, through His death and Resurrection, makes us holy and acceptable to God. Both the prophets and the law were a shadow of the “good things to come”; the salvation we have in Christ.
The point being this: Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. Paul tells us that all Scripture is useful, and the Law and the Prophets are a part of Scripture. Rather, Jesus came to fulfill them, by being a sacrifice on our behalf.
You are Loved!