A Systematic Expository Study of the Word of God


Special Study:


Matthew 5:17,18


Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets.” “The law and the prophets refer to the whole of the Old Testament (Matthew 11:13; 22:36-40; John 1:45; Acts 13:15; 28:23). Our Lord’s authority did not contradict or cancel the authority of the Scriptures. Jesus Christ upheld the permanence of the Scriptures. His message and God’s written Word are inseparable. As God does not change (Malachi 3:6), His Word also does not change.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets.” In its most limited sense, “the law” referred to the Ten Commandments. In a broader sense, it was used to refer to the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses. In a still broader sense, it was used to speak of the entire Old Testament (Romans 13:8-10; James 2:8-11; John 7:19-23; Matthew 5:18; Luke 16:16,17). The prophets reiterated and reinforced the law. All their warnings, admonitions and predictions were directly or indirectly based on the Mosaic law. God’s revelation to the prophets was an extension of His law. The foundation of the Old Testament was the law given in the Pentateuch, which the prophets, psalmists, and other inspired writers preached, expounded and applied.



Matthew 5:17,18; 24:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:5,6; Psalm 119:89-91; Revelation 22:18,19.


Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets.” There were thoughts and speculations among the religious leaders and the common people concerning the purpose of Christ’s coming. Did He come to destroy the law? Was His ministry to cancel the moral law and make the nation lawless and ungovernable? No. The moral law is God’s foundational standard for righteous living.


Jesus fulfilled the moral law by His perfect righteousness and preached the necessity of repentance and righteousness. Did He come to destroy the judicial law which was given to provide unique identity for Israel as a nation? No. He came to fulfil the law, to pay the penalty of the broken law for the whole nation and the whole world. Did He come to destroy the ceremonial law - the law of sacrifices? No. He came to fulfil the law by offering Himself as the final sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice. Having fulfilled the law of the sacrificial system, He brought all the other sacrifices to an end.

Jesus Christ upheld the permanence of God’s Word. He required inward and outward obedience to God’s Word. He, Himself, lived to fulfil all righteousness and inspired His disciples to hunger and thirst after righteousness.”



Matthew 5:17,18; 1:21-23; 8:16,17; 13:34,35; Matthew 26:47-56; 27:9,34,35; Mark 15:25-28; Luke 24:27,44,45; John 15:22-25; 19:28-36; Acts 3:18-26; 13:27-33.


I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil”. Christ came to fulfil “the law and the prophets” in its fulness. He submitted Himself to God totally and obeyed His Word perfectly. He fulfilled the commandments, statutes, types, prophecies and all the declarations in all details. From conception to crucifixion, in His incarnation, life and ministry, His work and miracles, His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus fulfilled all the law and the prophets.”

Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures by fully meeting its demands. In His life, He perfectly kept every part of God’s Word. He was perfectly righteous and did not violate the smallest part of God’s law. He was utterly flawless in His obedience and He has provided the perfect model of righteousness for us. The moral law fulfilled by Christ is still being fulfilled through His disciples. He gives grace to all who belong to Him to walk in obedience and righteousness.



Matthew 5:17,18; 7:12; 22:36-40; James 2:8-12; Romans 3:21-26; 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14; Acts 24:14-16; Luke 10:25-28.


The disciple is not above his master; nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord” (Matthew 10:24,25).

If  Christ, our Lord and Saviour, our Master and Perfect Example, did not come to destroy the law and the prophets”, none of His true followers will ever attempt to destroy God’s Word by their character, doctrine, ministry or influence. Christ held God’s Word in high esteem, upheld the Scriptures as sacred and proclaimed the Word as infallible. So will every true believer regard every part and detail of God’s Word as sacred, infallible and authoritative. As Christ came to fulfil God’s  written Word to the minutest detail, so must we be willing to fulfil, that is, obey God’s Word. It is written of Christ, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7). He, Himself, declared, Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness (Matthew 3:15). He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked (1 John 2:6).




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