In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says this, “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 tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”(NIV)
Let’s look at this passage carefully and honestly. First of all, Jesus makes the very blunt statement that He has not come to abolish the Law or Torah, but fulfill it. So we ask. If He did not come to abolish it, did He come to change it? Again, let’s ask another question. If He changes it is that a problem? Most in the church would say that it is not a problem since He is the Son of God. However, remember that in His first coming He came to be the spotless Lamb of God. In order for Him to be spotless He would have to be sinless.
John says in I John 3 that sin if the breaking of the Law. What Law? The Law of God or what is commonly referred to as the Law of Moses. Here is the problem in Deuteronomy 4 and 12 it says that one is not to add or subtract from the Law. If one does then that person is a lawbreaker and therefore a sinner. Here is where we have to be honest. To add to or subtract from the Law would be to change it. Thereby, making Jesus a sinner and not the spotless Lamb.
When Jesus said He came to fulfill the Law, He meant all of it. That would imply what He did in His first coming and what He will do in His second since both are referred to in the Law and since He did not accomplish it all in His first coming. This would include the prophetic elements of the fall Festivals and even some of the last chapters of Deuteronomy among others. Remember He only fulfilled the spring Festivals in His first coming.
Then Jesus says that none of the Law would go away until heaven and earth disappear. It all must be accomplished. We know that heaven and earth are still here. Therefore, we know that there is still part of the Law for Him to fulfill and accomplish. He still has part of the Law to fulfill in His second coming. Therefore, the Law, all of it, still stands because not the least stroke of the pen would be done away with until He accomplished all of it and heaven and earth are still here.
I have a question. Is Yeshua/Jesus the least in the Kingdom of Heaven? Absolutely not! Did you catch how Yeshua makes the distinction between least and great? The one who is least is the one who sets aside even the smallest of His laws and teaches others to do the same. So if Jesus taught others to set aside any law from God by His own definition He would be called the least in the His Father’s Kingdom. Is that the case? No, so how can the former of Him setting one or more aside be the case? It can’t!
However, the one who obeys the laws of God and teaches others to do so is called great in God’s Kingdom. We know that Yeshua obeyed His Father and was our spotless Lamb. However, to be great in His Kingdom He would also have to teach His people to obey His Father, even the least of the laws. He is absolutely great and the only one who has ever completely obeyed the Father and taught His people to do the same.
It is important to remember that every time Yeshua clashed with the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law it was over the Tradition of the Elders that the Pharisees and teachers equated with the Law. Jesus firmly rejected that because the Tradition was really a list a things added to and subtracted from the Law of His Father. They found ways to not fully obey the Law or they added on boundaries around the Law. Which the Law itself forbids. That is why Yeshua said ones righteousness must surpass theirs’.
It should be our heart, as it was our Saviors, to obey our Father. Yeshua said in John 14 that if we love Him than we would keep His commands. He also makes it clear in that chapter that He and His Father are one and if that is the case than His commands or Law is no different from His Father’s. If it were they would not be one and Jesus would be a sinner and we would forever be lost. We must remember that Scripture says God and Jesus are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
May it be our heart to obey every word that comes from the mouth of God out of our love for Him!
Trying to obey,