Jesus, You Deserve My Thanks
Scripture: Matthew 5:17-20 (Key verse—18)
Lesson Goal: To gain a better understanding of how Jesus meets the requirements of the laws and demands concerning my life.
Introduction by Wiersbe:
Jesus Christ fulfilled God’s law in every way of His life. He fulfilled it in His birth (Galatians 4:4). He certainly fulfilled the Law in His life, for nobody was ever able to
accuse Him of sin. While He did not submit to the traditions of the scribes and Pharisees, He always did what God commanded in the Law. The Father was “well pleased” with His Son (Matthew 3:17, 17:5). Jesus also fulfilled the Law in His teaching. It was this that brought Him into conflict with the religious leaders. When He began His ministry, Jesus found the Living Word of God encrusted with man-made traditions and interpretations. He broke away this thick crust of religion and brought the people back to God’s Word. Then, He opened the Word to them in a new and living way. But it was in His death and resurrection that Jesus especially fulfilled the Law. He bore the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13). He fulfilled the Old Testament types and ceremonies so that they no longer are required of the people of God (See Hebrews chapters 9 and 10:1-18). He set aside the old covenant and brought in the new covenant. When Jesus died, He rent the veil of the temple and opened the way into the holiest (Hebrew 10:19). He broke down the wall that separated the Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11-13). Because the Law was fulfilled in Christ, we no longer need temples made with hands (Acts 7:48 and following) or religious rituals (Colossian 2:10-14).
• What did Jesus mean when He said He came to “fulfill” the Law?
• How is the Law fulfilled by Jesus Christ?
(V18) “For assuredly, I say to you,”
These words can be translated: “I tell you the truth,” or “Verily, verily.” The point of this phrase is that the words which follow are of vital importance.
It is very interesting and helpful that the word translated “For assuredly, I say to you” is the word “amēn” (truly). This word was a term of strong intense affirmation. “Jesus was saying, ‘I say this to you absolutely, without qualification and with the fullest authority’” (Mac Arthur). The Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament says, “In Judaism the word was a strengthening or confirming answer or agreement with another person’s statement” (Rienecker).
• Following a worship song or during the preaching of the Word, what is meant when a person in our congregation says, “amen”?
This word “amēn,” which Jesus used in verse 18, introduces the words that will follow. Here, the word gives strength and authority to what He says. The hearers of Jesus’ day would have very clearly understood the purpose and meaning of Jesus’ word “amēn.”
In verse 18, Jesus is reiterating, in the hearts and minds of His listeners, the truth of verse 17. He seeks in verse 18 to apply strength and power to the absolute truth of verse 17.
• What is meant, in our language and usage, of the phrase: “dot every “i” can cross every “t”?
“until heaven and earth pass away” (V18)—This phrase speaks of and represents the end of time as we know it, the end of earthly history. >>>>>>
God’s Word is permanent, and it will outlast the universe. The eternal Word of God is timeless. See Matthew 24:35.
To help us understand Jesus’ words: “one jot or one tittle,” we must know what a “jot” and a “tittle” are. In the Greek, the smallest letter translates the word “iota.” In the Hebrew alphabet, which Jesus’ listeners would have understood, it represented the “yodh,” which looks very much like the English apostrophe, only smaller. Letters in the Hebrew alphabet were only distinguished by the slightest stroke of the pen. The jot was the smallest letter in the alphabet, and the tittle was the smallest part of any letter.
Again in verse 18, as in verse 17, Jesus was making the point that He did not come to destroy the Law. To help His listeners understand, He drives home the importance of His words by application and illustration.
“all is fulfilled”—God’s Word is eternal. Jesus’ words of verse 18 certify the absolute authority of Scripture. “God’s law as recorded in Scripture looked forward to and prepared people for the One who would come and fulfill it. Everything prophesied in God’s Law (Old Testament) will take place. No promise or prophecy in the Law will remain unfulfilled. Everything will be accomplished” (Galvin). Verse 18 reaffirms the absolute authority of all the Scriptures. They will endure forever.
For a better understanding of Jesus’ words in verses 17 and 18, and I pray a blessing to you who will read these words, let us look at some selected Scriptures. Please prayerfully read these Scriptures.
• Romans 3:20-22
• Romans 8:1-4
• Galatians 3:23-24
• Romans 10:3-4
• Having read the selected Scriptures, how would you describe Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law? Please answer prayerfully in your own words.
The demand of the Law ultimately was perfect righteousness. It demanded a perfect life. But man failed. Man just could not obey the Law perfectly; he fell short of perfect righteousness demanded by the Law. But Christ fulfilled and completed the Law. He kept the Law in every detail. He secured the perfect righteousness demanded by the Law. He fulfilled all the requirements, all the types and all the ceremonies of the Law perfectly. He embodied the requirements of the Law and the righteousness that man must have (Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible).
Please read Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 3:13-14; 4:1-7.
Jesus did not weaken the laws of God, as some carnal or loose religionists might say. Jesus Christ’s fulfillment of the Law does not mean that true believers have been given a loose license to simply live as we please. Liberty in Christ does not mean license to sin. Liberty in Christ means that a person is now free to serve God in the power and spirit of God. Now, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I have been given, by His power and strength, the freedom to serve God in the spirit and life of the Law, not just the letter of the Law.
Please read Romans 10:3-4. Then answer, with pray and wisdom, the following question.
• What does it mean that Christ met the Law’s requirements for you?
• Please explain the following statement. The Law could not save, but it showed us our need for a Savior.
Please close this lesson by writing Jesus a thank you note for what He did for you concerning His fulfilling the Law. (Guys, write your own note; don’t expect your wife to write it for you. Am I talking to you?