The Fulfillment of the Law

The Fulfillment of the Law: Matthew 5:17-20

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One Reply to “The Fulfillment of the Law”

  1. Jesus clarifies his purpose is not to dissolve, destroy or overthrow (Greek: katalyō) the Law or the Prophets; rather he is the fulfillment (Greek: plēroō), the one who makes full, all they represent. For those who have dedicated their lives to understanding the Law and who have studied the Prophets’ words, this must have been a statement that left them speechless. I’m struggling to find some way to compare this to a modern setting, perhaps the coffee just isn’t working, but I’m not coming up with an example.

    Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this phrase is enlightening:

    To fill up the defects of it, and so to complete and perfect it. Thus the word plerosai properly signifies. If we consider the law as a vessel that had some water in it before, he did not come to pour out the water, but to fill the vessel up to the brim; or, as a picture that is first rough-drawn, displays some outlines only of the piece intended, which are afterwards filled up; so Christ made an improvement of the law and the prophets by his additions and explications. Matthew Henry Commentary


    Jesus’ endorsement of the writings of these faithful few is something we should take to heart. If it’s this important to Christ, it must be important to us! We must study and understand, invest time, make room, work hard to comprehend for Jesus tells us this is significant.

    These passage has a concept that I’ve struggled with since I first remember hearing it as a youth: some will be called least and some will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. I remember hearing these words years ago and replying something like, “I’ll be happy to be the janitor in heaven!” Just how does this work?  Compare this to Matthew 11:11 where Jesus states:

    Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

    So what is the answer? I’d love to discuss this at some point in the future…bookmark this for greater research. After an hour of searching and reading, I must conclude that there are those in the Kingdom of Heaven who will be greater and those who will be lesser, but in the end, I’m still confident to be included in those who are in Heaven, unlike those in Matthew 5:20 who are unable to surpass that of the Pharisees.

    Lord, spending an eternity with you is enough of a reward for me, but I vow to continue doing everything I can to become the man of God you have called me to be. Whatever position I have in heaven, being there is far better than any other place, “better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.”

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