“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17, NASB)
This verse is taken from the January 6th reading of our devotional Bible. It is quite fitting to contemplate in light of the endeavor we have undertaken to read God’s Word within a year. When Jesus was sharing this, those listening would have recognized as God’s Word what we refer to as the Old Testament; the summation of which would be understood as The Law and The Prophets.
Consider what Jesus reflected that Abraham said to the rich man in hell who beseeched Lazarus the beggar be sent back from the dead to warn his brothers not to come to the place of torment:
“But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ “But he said, ‘No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’ ” (Luke 16:29-31, NASB, underlining mine)
Stated more succinctly, the flash and enchantment of a miraculous return from the dead of one such as Lazarus is not enough to effect eternal heart and life change; only the Word applied through the Holy Spirit can accomplish that feat. The brothers had the Word; if they did not have ears to hear it, a man rising from the dead would not be able to convince them of eternal truths.
Another interesting Biblical element along these lines is the outward confirmation of our verse of reflection today recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. All three of these gospel writers describe an event identified as the Transfiguration. Jesus takes His inner three disciples Peter, James, and John to a high mountain. While on the mountain, Jesus’ appearance radically changes and the disciples witness two other men standing and conversing with Him; men the disciples recognize as Moses and Elijah. Why those two? Consider that the very central theme of the Bible is Jesus; it is all about Him. This occurrence, then, has Jesus placed in His proper position; at the center of Moses (the representative and giver of the Law) and Elijah (representative and the principal of the prophets). No wonder the Apostle John refers to Jesus as “The Word.” Jesus is the culmination, the fulfillment of God’s Word. To know Him is to know God. To know Him is to know righteousness. All that the Bible predicts; all that it demands is fulfilled and completed in Christ!
To receive Jesus as Savior and Lord is to own this reality by faith. No wonder in our reading from the Sermon on the Mount this week Jesus can admonish us to be holy (perfect) as our Heavenly Father is holy (perfect). It is this standard He has achieved. It is this standard that is conveyed to all who believe by faith!
Take heart my friend! We can overcome the world with the Word!