Why Jesus Came

See full series: 2020-recent-sermons
See full series: the-teachings-of-jesus-2020-21

Why Jesus Came

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Matthew 5:17-19


MP3 PPT Outline

The Sermon on the Mount (7)

      This passage is the theme of this sermon.   Jesus has emphasized proper attitudes that lead toward God, and then spoke about being a proper example.   You may notice that in the beatitudes, Jesus used the third person (“blessed are those…”) appealing to all; as He addressed being an example, He used the second person (“You are…”); Now Jesus moves on to His purpose and what that means and uses the first person (“I came…”).   This likely would not have been well received by the religious leaders as Jesus begins to make some great claims about Himself.   Let us notice what He taught in these verses.

Jesus came to fulfill the Old Law (17-19)

    1. Jesus did not come to destroy the Law – a word meaning to invalidate.   NASB uses the word “abolish”.     It is a word used about 17 times and points toward tearing down or destroying something.
      Jesus in this message is letting them know He did not intend to render the LOM meaningless. Rather, He came to fulfill it.
      Jesus was not coming to discredit or mutilate the Old Law.   Jesus did not intend to treat the law with contempt.   He kept the law perfectly – as God intended and thereby was able to be the sacrifice we needed.
      Consider how Jesus viewed the LOM – He had the highest regard for it.
      – He used the Law as He dealt with temptations (Matthew 4:1-11) – “It is written” and He quotes from Deuteronomy 4-6
      – He used scripture when he taught in the synagogues – Luke 4:16-17 – He read from it and proceeded to expound upon it (explaining who He was)
      – When ask to justify His actions in the temple – Matthew 21:12-13 – He quoted from Isaiah 56:7
      – He used it in refuting His critics – Matthew 22:31-32
      – He instructed cleansed lepers to go show themselves to the priests – Mark 1:44
      – Even when He acted on the Sabbath contrary to oral traditions (not the LOM), He defended His actions as within the confines of what the Law actually taught.
    2. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.   Consider John 5:39 – Jesus pleads with them to search the scriptures (truthfully) as they would testify of Him and His work.
      One of the points that Paul emphasized was the intended purpose of the LOM – to bring us to Christ – Galatians 3:19, 24;
      What are some things foretold about Him?
      God would raise up a prophet like Moses –   Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19 – (a Lawgiver and He would be heard by them).
      It was the right time – Daniel 2:44 – “in the days of these kings” – 4th kingdom after Babylon.
      He would suffer – Isaiah 53 describes their deliverer growing up and then bearing our griefs.
      He would complete the Old Law – Isaiah 2:2-4, Joel 2:28-32, Jeremiah 31:31-34, etc. These and other passages point toward the need for a new law – on that could permanently remove sins, and would be available to everyone.
      And numerous other details, some very deliberate and anticipated, others seen after the fact.
    3. It needed to be fulfilled! Why? Because that is how it was designed – Hebrews makes this clear – Hebrews 7:11-12, 8:7-8, 10:1-4, etc.
      Jesus said, “I came to fulfill” – that is an interesting statement where Jesus BOLDLY proclaims His purpose.
      Luke 24:44 after Jesus arose, He reminded His apostles that all things in the law, prophets and writings had been fulfilled in Him.
    4. ALL of it needed to be fulfilled – until it was all completed, it would not be taken out of the way. Jesus emphasizes that by saying:
      1) “Till heaven and earth pass away” – as long as this world stands
      2) Not a single letter or vowel point would be removed
      UNTIL ALL is fulfilled – this is a qualifier for these statements.   Some argue that Jesus was saying the LOM was to remain as long as the earth stands (and thus we are bound by it today).   BUT note that Jesus qualified this.   His point was, UNTIL it is fulfilled, you must keep the LOM, even if that is until the end of earthly time (which it is not).
      As Jesus taught this, He expected Jews to follow the Law, and He would do the same thing, but He knew a time was coming when such would no longer be the case.
    5. The Law of Moses has been fulfilled and removed – Colossians 2:14, Ephesians 2:14-15.
      Romans 10:4 notes that Christ is the end of the law (of Moses) for righteousness to everyone who believes.
      The fact is, Jesus DID fulfill the Old Law (cf. John 17:4) – and because of that we have a new priesthood, a better covenant and better promises (Hebrews 8:6)
      One might ask, Why do we not keep the Law of Moses today?   It is NOT because it was destroyed, but it was completed.   We RESPECT the LOM for what it is.   Following Christ and the New Law IS respecting the Old Law.

Do I need to keep His commandments?

  1. Heed the warning of Jesus – Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so… will be least in the kingdom of heaven.
    Some observations here:
    1) EVERY COMMAND of God is important!   Jesus addressed the “least of these commandments” – NOT less important, but the smallest of commandments.   DETAILS are important!   That is why we assemble on Sunday, partake of the Lord’s Supper as we do, only use our voices as we sing, etc.   Are the small things important? Absolutely! Matthew 10:42 – a cup of cold water
    2) And teaches men so – We need to make sure that what we are teaching is what God expects (James 3:1).   We must accept ALL of it AND ensure that we are not adding to it, or binding opinions. That was the fault of the scribes and Pharisees (cf. Matthew 23, 15:3-9, etc.
    I believe within the brotherhood, we have problems with both – some ignore the small things as unimportant (e.g. As long as we get the overall goal, how we achieve it doesn’t matter), and others demand that things be done their way only and they are unyielding in matters of liberty – and that is how they teach.
  2. Whoever does them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven – Jesus will conclude this sermon dealing with this – Matthew 7:21-27.   It is clearly taught and implied in the NT that God expects us to obey Him and His gospel – Ephesians 2:10 notes that we are the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesu for good works to walk in them. 2 Thessalonians 1:8 speaks of God taking vengeance on the one who does not obey the gospel.
  3. Do I need to keep the commandments of God today? Absolutely! Whatever law of God we are under, we need to obey it.   We are under the New Covenant (e.g. the New Testament) and are obligated to learn it and obey it!
  4. What about “least in the kingdom”?   What Jesus teaching that some commandments are greater than others? That is a “yes and no” question.   Jesus Himself would speak of the two greatest commandments in Matthew 22:37-39, but He noted that ALL the commands hinged on them.
    In Matthew 23:23, He rebuked the Pharisees for tithing spices while “neglecting the weightier matters of the law”.   We MUST understand Jesus is NOT saying we can ignore the little things. That is emphasized in this last verse.
    One source noted, “greatest” and “least” had to do with how men viewed God’s commands. The “greatest” is the one you see as most important, and “least” the one you think it is ok to ignore.     That is NOT truth. I am convinced when Jesus spoke of the one breaking the “least of these commandments” His point was they would NOT be in the kingdom of heaven.   Just as they excluded God’s commands, so they would be excluded.   James 2:10.


And thus we see Jesus declaring His purpose.   Next He will address their righteousness.   Next week we will discuss this as we take a few moments to talk about what was right and wrong with the Pharisees and scribes.     But for now, let us resolve that we will follow Jesus and do all that He tells us to do. How are you doing in this?