READ: Matthew 5:17-20
- The word fulfill is used 16 times by Matthew. Twelve of those times it occurs in the context of a sentence similar to, “This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet… .” On one occasion, Jesus says to the Jewish leaders, “Be like (“fill up”) your ancestors who killed the prophets…” In our text, fulfill is used twice, stating that Jesus fulfills the Law and the Prophets. Once, Jesus says He was baptized to “fulfill all righteousness. ”The only other occurrence is when Jesus tells the parable of the nets, and says, “when it [the net] was full, the men pulled it to shore.”
- It appears that fulfill means to “make full.” The net could hold no more. No one could be more righteous. What the prophet spoke had come to fruition in Jesus. What Jesus did, filled the prophesy full of meaning. It matched perfectly. Matthew was fond of pointing out how Jesus matched what the prophet had spoken about in his day.
- In other words, no one would live the Law more perfectly than Jesus. He would be the epitome of what the Law was seeking to produce. As the Law sought to reveal the character and heart of God, Jesus perfectly reflected that heart and character. Everyone who saw Jesus saw what the Law was intending to create. It wasn’t about rules, after all. It was about character. Living in relationship with God fully meant reflecting the character of God fully.
- What characteristics of God do you see most clearly in Jesus?
- If Jesus fully lives out the Law, then do we have to seek to keep it exactly as He did?
- How detailed would you have to write the Law if it were to cover every potential circumstance and situation?
PRAY: Ask God to help you see His character clearly. Pray that you can live it out winsomely. Commit yourself to live as fully in the character of God as possible.