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Sermon Message

 

"God's Law Abides!"

Matthew 5:17-20
Theme: The subjects of Jesus' kingdom are to be rightly related to God's abiding law.

(Delivered Sunday, September 19, 2004 at Bethany Bible Church. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.)

We have, over the past several weeks, been studying the most famous sermon ever preached by the greatest Preacher the world has ever known - that is, that portion of Matthew's Gospel we know as Jesus' wonderful Sermon on The Mount. And this morning, we begin a brand new section of that sermon. We've completed our look at the introductory material of the sermon; and now, we begin to study the actual body of His sermon itself.

And as all good preachers do, our Lord - the Master Preacher - captures our attention immediately by hitting us right between the eyes. He says something that must have struck His original listeners as one of the most remarkable things they had ever heard a man say. He said, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17).

Of course, this was not a mere man who said these words. He was fully man, but also fully God. But you have to put yourself in the 'sandals' of His Jewish listeners to appreciate what a remarkable assertion that was. When He said that He had "come", they understood that to be a messianic reference - that He was the One that Moses, in the Old Testament scriptures, had promised would come - a Prophet like himself (Deut. 18:15); whom John the Baptist would refer to as "the Coming One" (Matthew 11:3), and whom the people who heard Him and saw Him referred to as "the Prophet who is to come into the world" (John 6:14). Please don't miss the great significance of Jesus saying that He had "come".

And what's more, He asserted that He had come into this world on a mission. It was not without purpose that He came. And He came, not to do what people would have expected. He didn't come to "destroy" or to somehow "nullify" or "abrogate" the law of God from the Old Testament scriptures. He did not come to start something radically new. Instead, He makes the remarkable assertion that He came to "fulfill" or "accomplish" what was from of old - that is, God's law! Can you imagine a more astonishing assertion than the one that Jesus makes in this sermon? It's an assertion that only someone who was God in human flesh could make - and truly keep!

* * * * * * * * * *

We live in a day and age in which the law of God is not loved or honored or regarded as it should be by man. That probably doesn't come as a great surprise though; because almost every age of human history has been an age in which the law of God was not loved or honored or regarded as it should have been. But what is, perhaps, unusual about our time is that there are so many today who profess a faith in Jesus Christ, and yet believe that the law of God is something that - for this present age - is to be set aside.

The formal name for this belief is "antinomianism". "Nomos" is the Greek word for "law"; and so, to be "antinomian" simply means to be "against law", and to hold that the believer is no longer under obligation to preach or obey God's Old Testament law. This very erroneous belief has made its way into the church at many points in its history. One notable occasion was through the early church heretic Marcion. His followers even went so far as to alter Jesus' words to say, "Do not think that I came to fulfill the law, but rather to destroy it."1 We even hear it today, when people say, "I'm sure glad that I live in the age of grace!" (which of course, is a true statement); but then go on to say, "And I'm glad that I have nothing further to do with the Old Testament law!" (which is an expression of an antinomian spirit). While it's true that we are indeed set free from the "curse" of the law for our having failed to keep it, we are not set free from its standard of holiness. As the apostle John has written, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:2-3).

So then; has the law passed away for the believer, who stands before God on the basis of grace through Jesus Christ? Did Jesus come to now set the believing man or woman free from any obligation to God's law? Consider what Jesus says in this morning's passage:

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17-20).

Clearly, these are words that were intended for Jesus' disciples. Matthew 5:1 tells us that Jesus spoke them to "His disciples". They follow after The Beatitudes - Jesus' matchless description of what it means to be a disciple (5:3-12).

But don't misunderstand. This doesn't mean that we are still placed under the law as a "yoke of bondage" (Gal. 5:1). As the apostle Paul has written, ". . . Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified" (Gal. 2:16). But nevertheless, to be "justified" means to be declared righteous in God's sight with respect to the holy demands of His law. We still have a connection to the law in that we are declared righteous in accordance with the standards of the law through faith in Jesus - having His own righteousness credited to our account.

And I believe that this means we should find great encouragement from these words of our Lord. The One who calls us to conform to God's law is also the one who came to fulfill it for us and in us. When we're rightly related to Him, we are rightly related to God's law - not seeing it set aside in our lives, but rather seeing it fulfilled in our lives by Jesus living in us and keeping God's law for us and through us. As Paul wrote, "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin; He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Rom. 8:4).

What is it, then, that Jesus is telling us? I believe that the apostle Paul himself gives us a wonderful example of what it means. He was, at one time, a Pharisee of strict outward conformity to the letter of God's law. He wrote,

If anyone else thinks He may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless (Phil. 3:4-6).

If ever there was a Pharisee who could have claimed favor with God on the basis of outward conformity to the law, it would have been Paul. And yet, all his efforts didn't bring him into one tiny bit of favor with God. Elsewhere, this same Paul admitted that he was 'the chief of sinners' (1 Tim. 2:15). Try as hard as he may, he simply could not fulfill the law. But the day of God's grace came to him, and he abandoned all his efforts and entrusted himself instead to One who perfectly fulfilled the law on his behalf. He wrote,

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead (vv. 7-11).

Paul no longer sought God's favor by his own efforts to conform to God's law. Instead, he rested by faith in the righteousness of One who Himself already fulfilled the law. But (and this is very important); don't think that, then, Paul became an "antinomian"; and then believed that he was under no further obligation to God's law. Paul goes on to say,

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind (vv. 12-16).

Have we been brought into God's favor with respect to the law through Christ, Paul asks? Has the law been fulfilled in us by faith through Christ? Then let's not think that we can set it aside. Instead, let's now increasingly walk in heart-felt, grateful conformity to God's law - not in order to fulfill it through our own efforts; but rather because it has already been fulfilled in us by the gracious work of Another!

This, I believe, is why it should be a great encouragement to us that Jesus did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. It's because He came to fulfill it for us! And it's also why Jesus' words should be a great exhortation to us. It's because He fulfilled it for us in order to make us into '100% righteous law-keepers' in God's sight by faith. And that new standing in God's favor is why, as Jesus' disciples, we should now obediently abide under the guidance of God's good law and be progressively conformed to God's holy character as the law reveals it to us.

* * * * * * * * * *

Many say that this is one of the hardest passages in the Sermon on The Mount to understand. But let me suggest a helpful way to understand the structure of this brief passage. In fact, it's a helpful tip in how to study your Bible in general. You can go a long way toward understanding the structure of this passage - or any other - if you pay careful attention to the conjunctions.

Conjunctions are words that join one verbal idea to another. And there are three very key conjunctions in this passage. Look at the most important conjunction in this passage: the word "therefore" in verse 19. It's a word that specifies one idea to be the consequence of another. In this case, it makes what is said in verses 19-20 to be the consequence of what is said in verses 17-18. And this gives us the two main points of what Jesus says. In verses 17-18, He describes His own relationship to God's law; and after saying, "therefore"; He then goes on to describe the relationship of His own disciples to God's law. And this means that what the law is to us as His disciples is a consequence of what the law is to Him. If He came to honor it and fulfill it, then as His disciples we must make sure that we honor it and live in conformity to it as well - again, not in order to earn God's favor, but because we have already been brought into His favor by grace through faith in Christ's own fulfillment of the law.

And then, look at two further conjunctions. The first one is the word "for" in verse 18; "For assuredly, I say to you . . ." That conjunction makes what is said in verse 18 to be the basis of what is said in verse 17. And the same is true for the word "for" in verse 20; "For I say to you . . ." That conjunction makes what is said in verse 20 to be the basis of what is said in verse 19.

With that structure in mind, let's begin by looking at . . .

1. THE KING'S RELATIONSHIP TO GOD'S LAW (vv. 17-18).

Jesus says, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." The basis of Jesus' assertion, then (that is, that He came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it), is found in the abiding authority of the law. Nothing of the law would pass away until all of it is fulfilled.

This is a remarkable assertion about the law, isn't it? Jesus calls it "the Law and the prophets"; which was a way of expressing the whole of the Old Testament Scriptures. In another passage, Jesus spoke of John the Baptist and said that "all the prophets and the law prophesied until John" (Matthew 11:13). And elsewhere, He speaks of the things "which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms . . ." (Luke 24:44). And so, Jesus is speaking of God's law as it was recorded for us and preserved in the pages of the whole of the Old Testament scriptures.

And notice that Jesus affirms that its authority extended down to the very letter forms of God's written law. He said that one "jot" or one "tittle" will by no means pass from it until all of it is fulfilled. Have you ever wondered what a "jot" was? It's a Hebrew letter; and I can even show it to you. Turn in your Bible to Psalm 119. All of the verses of this psalm begin, in Hebrew, in acrostic form. The different sections feature a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Look now at Psalm 119:73, where a new section of a new Hebrew letter begins. Do you see that strange little "comma-like" mark above verse 73? That's the smallest Hebrew letter in the alphabet - the letter YOD; or, as we say it in English, the "jot". And would you like to see a "tittle"? It's not a Hebrew letter; but instead is the tiny mark that makes the difference between one letter and another. Look above verse 81. Do you see that backwards "C" shape? Do you see how it's rounded at the bottom? That's the Hebrew letter KAPH. But now look at the Hebrew letter just above verse 9. You can see another backwards "C-shaped" letter; the letter BETH. But do you notice the difference? Whereas the letter KAPH is smoothly curved on the bottom, the letter BETH has a tiny little stroke on the bottom; and that little stroke is what makes the difference between one letter and another. And that tiny stroke is called in Hebrew "a little horn"; but in our English bible, we call it a "tittle".

And so, Jesus is going to the most extreme extent possible to tell us that nothing of God's law will pass away until all of it is fulfilled - not one single jot, and not one single tittle. We might put it this way; "Till heaven and earth pass away, not one dot of a single 'i' or one cross of a single 't' will fail from God's written law until all of it is fulfilled." Everything will happen just as God has said it will happen. When heaven and earth itself have finally passed away, it will be known to all that not a single word that the Lord had spoken will have failed (Josh. 21:45), and that all He said will have come to pass (23:14).

We are meant to take what Jesus says here about the enduring authority of God's word very seriously. He has made this same point to us in other places in the Bible. In Luke 16:17, He said, "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail." Think of that! Many unbelieving people throughout history have tried to wipe the Bible off the planet; but it would be easier for them to wipe the planet out of the heavens instead - and then, top it off by wiping out the heavens themselves - then to wipe out one single pen-stroke of God's written word! Jesus, who is Himself the God of the Bible in human flesh, said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (Luke 21:33). God's word were written on earth by the God of heaven; but those very words that God gave will outlast both heaven and earth themselves!

By the way; this is how Jesus - our Lord and Master - believed concerning the Old Testament. Can we really claim to be true followers of Jesus Christ, and - at the same time - hold to some lesser view of the marvelous authority of the Scriptures than He held to?

* * * * * * * * * *

Jesus affirmed the enduring authority of God's word. He even strengthened His point by saying, "For assuredly, I say to you . . ." We can count on every stroke of God's word to prove to be true to the very end of heaven and earth itself. And this fact serves as the basis of Jesus' assertion about Himself in verse 17; "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets, I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Many people have insisted that Jesus came to set the law aside. They read, in the verses that follow in the Sermon on The Mount, that Jesus would quote the Old Testament and say, "You have heard that it was said to those of old . . ." (v. 21); and then they read that He said, "But I say to you . . ."; and thus they assume that He is setting the law of the Old Testament aside and instituting a new law of His own in its place. But we know that this is not what Jesus means, because He tells us plainly that until heaven and earth pass away, nothing of even the most minute portions of God's word will pass until all of it is fulfilled. And for that reason, He urges us not to think that He came to "destroy" it or abrogate it in any way.

Instead, He asserts to us that His mission was to "fulfill" it. The Greek word used here is one that Matthew uses 17 times in his Gospel; and in 15 of those 17 times, it refers to Jesus; and in each occasion in which it refers to Jesus, it has the meaning of "fulfillment" in the sense of Jesus accomplishing the intention of His heavenly Father as it was revealed in the Old Testament Scripture.2 We read that, when something in Jesus' life happened, ". . . All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet . . ." (Matthew 1:22). It uses that same formula repeatedly. If John the Baptist sought to prevent Him from coming forward to be baptized, Jesus said, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness" (3:15). If His disciples sought to rescue Him from His betrayers in the garden, He stopped them, saying, "How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?" (26:54).

Jesus even affirmed elsewhere that the Old Testament Scriptures were all about Himself. He is the main thesis found on all the pages of the Bible. To the Pharisees who opposed Him, He said, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me . . ." (John 5:39). He told them, "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me" (John 5:46). After He rose from the dead, He told His disciples - who didn't recognize Him, and who were still mourning His death, "'O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?' And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:25-27). He later told them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me" (Luke 24:44).

* * * * * * * * * *

This is the most remarkable claim anyone could ever make about themselves; and yet Jesus made it about Himself - and proved it to be true. He did not, as you can plainly see, come to the earth in order to set the law of God aside - a law which, in fact, could never be set aside. Instead, He came to fulfill it.

And because He fulfilled this law which can never be set aside, we - who have sinned and fallen short of God's law - find that it is completely fulfilled in us through Him. And the man or woman who is thus related to the King doesn't find that He encourages them to now disregard the law, but rather to go on to progressively conform?as His redeemed subjects?to the holy standards of this very law that He came to fulfill.

And that leads us to the "therefore"; where we see . . .

2. HIS SUBJECTS' RELATIONSHIP TO GOD'S LAW (vv. 19-20).

The consequence of Jesus' assertion that the law of God would never pass away until all of it is fulfilled, and that He Himself did not come to set it aside but to fulfill it, is this: "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."

Jesus makes the assertion that the righteousness of His professed followers must exceed the righteousness of even the scribes and the Pharisees, or they aren't really His followers - and that they will "by no means" enter the kingdom of heaven. Now; that must have come as as much of a shock to His listeners as His first assertion about Himself! People, in that culture, couldn't imagine anyone who was more of a law-keeper than a scribe or a Pharisee.

A scribe was a careful scholar of the law of God. The scribes had drawn out from God's written law 613 specific commandments; 248 of them positive commands, and 365 of them negative prohibitions. And a Pharisee was a member of an order of devout laymen who set themselves to conform their lives to these various commands and prohibitions and to promote them in public life.

But their conformity to God's law was an external and superficial one. It hadn't reached down to the heart. Jesus said things to His followers that suggest what the obedience of the scribes and Pharisees was like. He said;

Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly (Matthew 6:1-4).

Or;

And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him (Matthew 6:5-8).

Or;

Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly (Matthew 6:16-18).

You see; God is concerned with an obedience to His law; but He seeks an obedience from us that comes from the heart. This explains Jesus' comments on the law in the rest of chapter 5. He was not giving a new law; but calling for a level of obedience to the law that went past the mere letter and on to the very spirit of the law. The letter of the law, for example, said that we should not murder; but Jesus showed that this means not even calling someone a name in anger, and being ready to make peace with those whom we have wronged (Matthew 5:21-26). The letter of the law says that we are not to commit adultery; but Jesus showed us that this means not even looking at someone with lust in our hearts (vv. 27-30). The letter of the law was interpreted to permitted divorce; but Jesus showed that the real intention was to honor marriage (vv. 31-32). The letter of the law permitted the use of oaths; but Jesus showed that the intention was to promote the telling of the truth (vv. 33-37). The letter of the law permitted "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth"; but Jesus showed that the intention of the law was to call us to turn the other cheek (vv. 38-42). The letter of the law said that we should love our neighbor; but Jesus showed that the intention was that we also love our enemy (vv. 43-48). He taught us that the law was summed up in this: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind"; and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39). He showed us that, for us, in the words of Paul: ". . . He who loves another has fulfilled the law" (Rom. 13:8).

As you can see, Jesus brought obedience to God's commandments down to heart level. And the only way this could happen is if we are given a new heart. God promises, ". . . I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you an cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them" (Ezk. 36:25-27). He does this for us as a gift of His grace through Jesus Christ. And then, we are made, not to set His law aside, but to keep it by His enabling power.

I recently heard a story about the famous piano virtuoso Ignace Paderewski. A mother once took her little son to a Paderewski performance. Her little boy was just learning to play piano and barely knew how to pluck out anything more than "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"; but she hoped that he would enjoy the concert and be inspired.

After they were seated, the mother spotted an old friend in another seat and walked down the aisle to greet her. But this left the little boy alone - who eventually crawled off his seat and wandered around to explore the wonders of the concert hall. He eventually explored his way through a door that was marked "NO ADMITTANCE" - and that was the door that led to the stage where a large impressive Steinway was placed.

When the mother returned to her seat, she looked around frantically, trying to find her boy. The house lights were dimmed, and the curtains were opened; and in horror, she found her little boy, sitting at the piano on the stage with spotlights focused on him; innocently playing - can you guess? - "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"!

What a mortifying moment that was for the mother! But it was at that very moment that the great piano master made his entrance on to the stage. He quickly moved to the piano, gently leaned down to the little boy, and whispered into his ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing." Then sitting on the bench with the boy and reaching his left arm around him, Paderewski began to play along with him - filling in the bass portion. Then, he stretched his right arm around the boy and added an obbligato. And together, the old master and the tiny boy played "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" like no one had ever heard before!

The story is that, after the concert, few people could remember anything else that Paderewski played; but everyone remembered "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star".

And dear brothers and sisters, may I suggest that to you as a fit picture of Jesus and us? He is the Master. He has fulfilled the law perfectly. He fulfilled it through His obedience to it. He fulfilled it in accomplishing what the Scriptures promised. And He will see to it that, till heaven and earth pass away, nothing of the law will ever fail. But He doesn't come upon the stage to us and say, "I have fulfilled the law. You're now released from any obligation to it. Stop. You no longer have to keep it." Instead, He leans over to us and says, "Don't quit. Keep playing." And then, He reaches out His arms around us and lives out His own fulfillment of the law through us.

* * * * * * * * * *

You see; unless someone's righteousness exceeds that superficial, outward conformity to letter of the law that characterized the scribes and the Pharisees, they will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

And that serves as the basis of what Jesus says in verse 19; that "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven . . ." I take it that the people Jesus is speaking of will be in heaven, because Jesus is speaking to disciples; and besides, someone would naturally have to be "in" heaven to be the "least" in it. But clearly, Jesus is teaching us that our experience of honor in the kingdom of heaven is determined, in part at least, by how we treat God's precious law on earth. ". . . But whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear brothers and sisters; one of the characteristics of someone who is a true disciple of Jesus Christ is that they have a transformed heart with respect to the law of God. They love God's law as their Savior loved it, and seek to honor it as He honored it. And they are enabled by the indwelling Christ to keep it from the heart.

Our God's holy law abides forever. May that fact drive us back to The Beatitudes - back to the beginning; as those who are poor in spirit before God; and as those who mourn over our short-fallenness with respect to God's holy demands; and as those who are meek before God in seeking His pardoning grace; and most certainly, as those who "hunger and thirst for righteousness".


1Cited in Alan Hugh M'Neile, The Gospel According to St. Matthew (London: MacMillan & Co., Ltd., 1957), p. 58.

2The Greek word translated "fulfilled" (plÚra§) is found in the following places in Matthew's Gospel: 1:22; 2:15, 17, 23; 3:15; 4:14; 5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35, 48; 21:4; 23:32; 26:54, 56; and 27:9, 35. In all of these cases except two, "fulfillment" is used to express that God's revealed intention was accomplished by Christ. The two exceptions are 13:48, which speaks of a literal "filling"; and 23:32, which speaks of the scribes and Pharisees accomplishing the wicked intention of their fathers.

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