July 14, 2018

Not Invalidating but Fulfilling (Matthew 5:17)

Category: Bible - NT - Matthew :: Permalink

What did Jesus mean when he said that he did not come to invalidate the law and the prophets but to fulfill them?

The word “fulfill” does not mean “confirm” (as Greg Bahnsen claimed). It does not mean “obey,” as some have suggested. It does not mean “expound” or “amplify” or “intensify” or anything like that.

Matthew has already spoken several times of fulfillment. Jesus’ birth fulfills the promise of Immanuel (Matt 1). Joseph takes Jesus to Egypt to fulfill Hosea 11:1: “Out of Egypt I called my son” (Matt 2). The slaughter of the infants in Bethlehem fulfills what Jeremiah said about Rachel’s weeping (Matt 2). Jesus grows up in Nazareth to fulfill what the prophets said about him (Matt 2). He later moves from Nazareth to Capernaum and begins his ministry in Galilee to fulfill Isaiah 9 (Matt 4).

“The law and the prophets” does not refer to commandments┬áspecifically; it’s a phrase that refers to the whole of Scripture, to all of God’s revelation from Genesis 1:1 to the end of Malachi. All of it was like a bud that would one day blossom. All of it foreshadowed and looked forward to and pointed forward to and anticipated and longed for and required something in the future.

Jesus is saying that he did not come to set all of that revelation aside but instead came to bring it all to fulfillment, to make all of those promises reality, to make everything Scripture spoke about happen.

Posted by John Barach @ 7:57 am | Discuss (0)

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