HOUSMAIL HM#043 - DID JESUS CHANGE THE LAW OF MOSES? 30 October 1999 _________________________________________________________________________
There are many who think that Jesus used The Sermon On The Mount to change the law of Moses. However a careful analysis of His words will reveal that Jesus said plainly that it was NOT His intention to abolish either the law, or the prophets. Rather, He claimed that His purpose was to fulfil what they said.
"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 16:17-20)
Immediately following that He gave a series of interpretations of the Law which begin - "You have heard that it was said ..... " and lead on to - "But I say ..... "
Since He has already said that He is NOT changing the Law, it seems obvious that His real intention is to INTERPRET the Law. And He is also warning that His interpretation of the Law is DIFFERENT to what they had previously been taught by their religious leaders. The Scribes and Pharisees had got it wrong.
In doing this, Jesus speaks with a unique authority. He is the SON of the ONE TRUE GOD who gave the Law to Moses. He claims complete and absolute delegated authority to speak for his Father. We understand therefore that what Jesus says in The Sermon On The Mount, is THE LAW AS GOD INTENDED IT TO BE UNDERSTOOD.
This is the Eternal standard of holiness to which we commit ourselves, when we aspire to become children of the God who NEVER changes! (Mal 3:6, James 1:17) For Jesus it has always been so from the beginning. (Matt 19:8)
To become His disciples, and to qualify for entry to the Kingdom of Heaven, we are being called to live to a far higher moral code than most men ever imagine possible. We are called to surrender every last legal "right" to revenge, reputation, justice, possessions, redress at law, and self defence. And along with that we are required to change not only what we do, but also the thoughts that we allow to dwell in our hearts.
All of that stands in stark contrast to what hard hearted men had made of the Law in the first century. And it stands in the same stark contrast to what men still do with the teaching of Jesus, in our own time.
If we will listen to Him, the words of Jesus call US to the same radical re-evaluation of the religious traditions we have received from our own teachers. He calls us to the same high and holy standard that He taught to that first century Jewish audience.
Dare we refuse Him when he challenges us to measure our own response to His words, against the PERFECTION of our heavenly FATHER? (Matthew 5:48)
In the Sermon On The Mount, Jesus has set the standard for the Gospel call to REPENTANCE. It is designed to "convince us of sin and righteousness and judgement". (John 16:8)
It defines for ever, the contrast between what God calls sin, and regards as righteous. It sets the standard by which Jesus will judge the world at the last day.
"He who rejects me and does
not receive my sayings has a judge;
the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day."(John 12:48)