John 1:17 says: For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Last week we talked about how Jesus came to bring changes. Changes for good, changes for God. The greatest change Jesus came to bring is His saving work of changing us from sinners to saints, changing us from lost to saved, from dead in sin to alive in the Spirit. Jesus brought changes that the law was powerless to bring. Jesus brought grace and truth with power so that to all who receive Him, to those who believe in His name, He gives power to become children of God, born of God.
But what did Jesus do with the Law of Moses? How did He see it? What did He teach us about it?
When we listen to Jesus own words concerning the law in the Sermon on the Mount, we see His deep commitment to obeying the law and the prophets and teaching others to obey them as well.
Look at verse 17-20 one more time.
17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. Most assuredly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot, not one tittle shall by any means pass from the law until all is fulfilled. (finish to verse 20).
Does that sound like Jesus came to do away with the Law or the Prophets? Those would be the Old Testament scriptures, basically. How much did Jesus respect and follow those scriptures? When Jesus was in the garden and about to be arrested on the night He was betrayed, Peter tried to step in and fight for Jesus with a sword. Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 26:47-56.
Do you see the devotion of Jesus to following the words of scripture here? Even thought Jesus COULD have called to the Father and been rescued, He would not because of what the scriptures said. Jesus so aligned His will with the Father’s will that He would rather die the death of the cross than break God’s word in scripture. By the way, the word of scripture was about Him.
The very finger prints of God are in the Law and His voice is in the Prophets. Jesus’ life was prerecorded in those words of scripture. After Jesus was crucified and buried, and three days later was raised from the dead, He appeared to His disciples and explained to them what had happened in His life through the words of the Old Testament scriptures. Look at Luke 24:44-49.
Jesus came to fulfill the scriptures, the Law and the Prophets, and He did. Jesus Christ is the very embodiment of those words of God. They all point forward to and lead us to Jesus Christ.
Back in 2008 we did something as a whole church family that I hope we can do again this next year. We read through the entire Bible that year with one question to focus our attention. We read every verse of the Bible asking: “Where do you see Jesus?” This next year of 2017, our theme for the year is: “Seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Our plan is to read through the entire Bible together and ask: Where do you see God’s reign and righteousness? Each week, on Sunday mornings, I plan to have a lesson from the week’s readings. We will post and print reading schedules so that we can do this daily at home. This is a great opportunity for us to richly embed our first mission point in our seeking, saving, serving mission. This will be a year of hearing God’s voice in His word on seeking first His Kingdom and righteousness! I’m excited about this, because I know this is something God wants us to do. He wants us to meditate on His word day and night, He wants us to store it in our hearts so that we do not sin against Him, He wants us to share His word with one another and talk about His word together in our homes and throughout the day. We will see Jesus in this. We will see what He fulfilled and what He was so devoted to He would rather die than disobey. We will be seeking His reign in our lives and His righteousness that surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees. Get ready! It’s coming! Between now and January 1, pray and plan to devote yourself to this holy task. We are talking about a reading that takes only 15-20 minutes a day! This is about three to four chapters of scripture a day.
Can you do that? Can you give 15-20 minutes a day to read and share God’s word for 2017?
I wonder how much time Jesus spent reflecting on the scriptures? I know that at 12 years old He stayed in the temple area talking for days with the elders there. When His mother asked Him, “Why did you do this?” His answer was: “Did you not know that I had to be about my Father’s business?”
Now that’s some 12 year old! What kind of business were you about at age 12?
Jesus knew that the scriptures were about Him. John 5:39-40 Jesus said to the Pharisees who opposed Him: “You diligently search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they that testify about Me, but you refuse to come to Me that you may have life.” Jesus knew that the scriptures were about Him!
Guess what? If you are a Christian, the scriptures are also about YOU!
What we discover when we read from the Old Testament into the New Testament is that there is a great shift that takes place. Everything before Matthew in your Bible is pointing toward Jesus. Then come the gospels themselves, the record of Jesus that God preserved for us in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Then, everything after the gospels points back to Jesus for instruction and encouragement, and forward to Jesus return as our ultimate hope.
Why? Because Jesus is the fulfillment of the scriptures! Jesus Christ is the king of the kingdom and He has all authority in heaven and on earth to rule and reign and extend righteousness through His grace. Since Jesus has come and fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, they take a back seat to Him. In fact, everything in the Bible surrenders to the reign and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Before Jesus came, you may have heard that it was said as various Rabbis commented upon the scriptures… But now the King of the kingdom has come and He speaks directly to us concerning His Law, His character, His will, His righteousness. Jesus knows what the scriptures mean. He is their fulfillment!
Let us listen to Him. All eyes on the King! All attention on His majesty. All hearts and minds bent toward His righteousness. Seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness! There is NO HIGHER commitment we can make! No greater calling we can receive and walk in. Nothing compares to eternal glory in His presence, ruling and reigning with Him in holiness and love.
Nothing! He is our ALL in ALL. Jesus is our life. So, fix your eyes on Him. Set your mind on Him.