Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Gospel Reflection Matthew 5:17-19

In today’s gospel reading, we learn that Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. This is to say that Jesus came to make the Law and Prophets complete. He accomplished the purpose for which they were given to the Israelites. What began with the creation of man, the call of Abraham, the giving of the Law of Moses, the prophetic utterances of Zechariah, Isaiah, Micah, Daniel, and all the rest is made perfect and complete by the Lord Jesus. Because of Jesus’ interactions with the Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees, as well as questions about conduct that arose in the early church as Gentiles were grafted in, there exists a strong tendency in many cases to somehow look down on the Law of Moses. But there was nothing at all wrong with it. The Law was wonderful insofar in all its intents and purposes.  The Law was the pedagogue until the Messiah would come in the fullness of time (Galatians ch. 3-4).

From many passages across the Bible, we can conclude that the Law and its commandments had a larger purpose. It is true that the Law was given as part of a divine covenant with the Israelite people. There is a profound sacredness in this regard alone. Yet, the Law was not only for this purpose. There was something greater to come from it and from the Israelite people, for the good of all God’s creation. Jesus does not diminish or downplay the importance of obedience to divine commands or precepts. Rather, He comes to be the embodied faultless observance of them and to make the final and perfect sacrificial offering on our behalf. What we could not do, in His grace and mercy God does for us in Christ. I even would venture to say that the Law does not necessarily fail to exist now, but it exists in a completed manner in Christ Himself. It is fully realized. “All the boxes are checked” from the standpoint of the Law and Prophets in Jesus Christ. There is nothing left undone or incomplete. 

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