Daily Reflection – 6/14/2023
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)
In today’s scripture, Matthew clearly states that Jesus’ teaching does not set the old law aside. Jesus has come “not to abolish but to fulfill” (verse 17). “Not one letter, not one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all is accomplished” (verse 18).
What makes Jesus’ teaching different than other rabbis is that it goes beyond what the law requires. Jesus sharpens the Torah, by moving the law to the level of inner dispositions.
If murder is wrong, then we must avoid anger which is the root of murder and lust which is the root of adultery. To avoid swearing falsely, we should not swear at all. The disciple should not be satisfied with strict justice (an eye for an eye) but avoid every violent reaction. The Jewish law teaches to treat foreigners and even enemies with respect (Exodus 23:4-5; Prov 25:21-22), but Jesus teaches that his disciples should love and pray for their enemies.
Jesus made it very clear that the essence of God’s law – his commandments and way of life, must be fulfilled.
God’s law flows from his love, goodness, and holiness. It is a law of grace, love, and freedom for us. That is why God commands us to love him above all else and to follow in the way of his Son, the Lord Jesus who taught us how to love by laying down our lives for one another.
The key that we forget is that his “law” is far more than that. It is a way of life and an approach to life.
Jesus taught reverence for God’s law – reverence for God himself, reverence for the Lord’s Day, reverence or respect for parents, respect for life, for property, for another person’s good name, respect for oneself and for one’s neighbor lest wrong or hurtful desires master and enslave us. AND, reverence and respect for God’s commandments teach us the way of love – love of God and love of neighbor.
Trough the Holy Spirit, God gives us the grace, help, and strength to love as he loves, to forgive as he forgives, to think and judge as he judges, and to act as he acts with mercy, loving-kindness, and goodness.
The Spirit helps us in our weakness, strengthens us in temptation, and transforms us, day by day, into the likeness of Christ himself. There is great blessing and reward for those who obey God’s commandments and who help others, especially the younger generations, to love, respect, and obey the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with a burning love and reverence for God’s word so that you may grow day by day in the wisdom and knowledge of God’s truth and goodness.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus Christ, give us the passion to obey Your commandments and teach them to others. Help us to continually become the salt and the Light of the World so that our actions and deeds may become good examples that glorify the Name of our Lord”.
Jesus speaks to us about how he has come to fulfill the law and how we will become great in his kingdom through participation in that fulfillment and helping others to do so. While Jesus wasn’t going to let the smallest part of a letter pass away, he also wasn’t going to get us to focus first on the smallest part of the letter — as many of his contemporaries did — but on the big, bold headlines that oriented every letter and every part of the letter: how God’s law is all about loving God with all we are and have, and loving our neighbor as totally as God has loved us. That’s what the law is and Jesus was coming to fulfill it.