Jesus And The Old Testament

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 [Matt 5:17].

Many sincere believers who take God’s Word seriously face genuine road-blocks as they try to read through some portions of the Old Testament. We love the Psalms – they provide us comfort in times of stress and adversity. The Proverbs too are okay as they seem to offer us practical wisdom for day to day living. The historical books are easy to understand and some of the stories quite interesting. But some portions of the Old Testament such as detailed laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and some sections of the prophets such as in Ezekiel and Daniel…these can sometimes seem far removed and irrelevant to life as we know it in the 21st century. If we are honest we must admit that the temptation to skip over those tedious and confusing sections of the Old Testament can be hard to resist.

Did you know that the only Bible Jesus knew was what we now refer to as the Old Testament? Jesus’ words leave us in no doubt that he believed that the entire Old Testament was the inspired Word of God. He referred to Old Testament Scripture as “the commandment of God” [Matt 15:3] which “cannot be broken” [John 10:35]. Jesus loved his `Bible’ – he constantly referred to it, quoted from it, and trusted it completely.

We cannot claim to be genuine followers of Jesus, truly submitted to his lordship, and yet disregard any portion of the Old Testament. Our attitude to the Old Testament must be the same as his. We must accept it entirely, submit to it totally and trust it completely. That means we need to do the hard work of learning how to interpret and apply all of the Old Testament to our lives today.

Jesus’ final word: For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished [Matt 5:18, NIV]

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 [Matt 5:18, MSG].

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