Reflections on Matthew 5:17-18
- Jesus gives the fullest expression (or heart) of the Law: “You have heard it said (true statement), but I say to you (fuller expression).
- The Law and Prophets are meant to be your “supervisor” or “tutor” (think preschool/kindergarten teacher) until Jesus comes and gives you His Spirit (Galatians 3).
- God’s standard for righteousness doesn’t change, but your relationship with God changes. That is, you go from “cursed” to “blessed” when you are united to Jesus Christ.
- The Law was not intended to give life (it was given after the promise). It was meant to teach you about your relationship towards God and other people (Leithart- giving structure to the curse of Eden and the curse of Babel). You cannot approach God without sacrifice. You cannot meet God’s standard on your own strength. All things will not be made right without God’s Spirit flooding the world.
- The ultimate sacrifice is Jesus Christ. The gift is Jesus Christ and his righteousness. You now stand on the “blessed” side (see Beatitudes) of the law, not the “cursed” side.
- The “flesh” that separated you from God and other people has been killed in the death of Jesus, and the “Spirit” that raised Jesus from the dead is now given to you.
- Righteousness that “exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees”: Led by the Spirit; Internal first, then external; Unseen, then seen; It is ours in Jesus Christ (read in light of Beatitudes).
- How does Jesus fulfill the Law and Prophets: By being born under the law, By being the perfect expression of the law, By facing the fullness of judgment under the law, By living again by the Spirit through the resurrection, By being a light and hope for all peoples, By giving His Spirit to the Church and empowering them to carry on His mission.