“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17; Cf. Rom. 10:4; Gal. 3:24).
Jesus said these words. He has come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. He has come to to bring about that to which Bible pointed in the Old Testament, and that is what Jesus has done. The word fulfill means “to fill out, or expand.” It does not mean to bring to an end. Jesus was not taking away from the Law, contradicting it, nor was He adding to it. The Law remains wholly authoritative and demands the fullest respect of all followers of Christ (5:18–19).
Jesus came and clarified the Laws original meaning and goal. After all, He was its author. And we must not forget that Jesus, as a Jew, related well to the Law. Through His teaches and example He also clarifies God’s eternal desire for His people be characterized by obedience and holiness from the inside and out. Fulfilled Law is written on the heart (Jer. 31:31–34; Ezek. 36:26–27). Jesus Himself fulfilled the law in several ways: by keeping it perfectly; by fulfilling the Old Testament messianic types and prophecies; and by providing the way of salvation that adheres to all the righteous requirements of the Law.
When we think about the Law, our mind often jumps to the 10 Commandments, which are a summary of all of God’s Law as is Matthew 22:37-40, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
How does Jesus fulfill the 10 Commandments?
As you read the 10 Commandments given to Moses recorded in Exodus 20:1-17 and read the New Testament there is evidence from the life and work of Jesus Christ that points to His fulfilling all of the Law. Notice how Jesus is seen in the Commandments from first to last:
1. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6; cf. 8:58).
2. Jesus is the exact image of His Father (Col. 1; Heb. 1:1-3). If you want to know what God looks like, look at Jesus.
3. Jesus is the Word in flesh (John 1:1). He says what comes out of your mouth reveals your heart (Mt.15:18) be careful what promises you make because God keeps His promises (Mt.5:34-35; James 5:12).
4. Jesus is the Head of the Church (Col. 1:18). He is our Sabbath Rest (Mk. 2:27).
5. Jesus honored His Father. The Trinity submits to authority too (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; cf. 1 Cor. 3:23; 15:24–28).
6. Jesus creates life (Col. 1:16-17) and ordains life and death (Acts 3:15). He also gives eternal life (John 10:10). He has sanctity for life.
7. Jesus demonstrated His unadulterated love for the church (Eph. 5:22-33), which is like a husband loving his wife.
8. Jesus is the Great Provider (Mt. 6:11; John 6:30-58; Cf. Ex.16:32-35). He does not take, but gives.
9. Jesus is the Truth, and the Truth sets you free (John 8:32). He commands you to love your neighbor as yourself (Mt.22:39Rom.13:9).
10. Jesus desires to be the treasure of your heart (Mt. 6:19-21; Heb.13:5).
Jesus is seen in all Law, even the 10 Commandments. The Law, bears witness to the grace of God, pointing ahead to its fulfillment, and climaxing in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel does not abolish the Law, but fulfills it, by allowing it to be seen in its proper light.
“Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working. Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.” (Eugene Peterson, The Message)