Matthew 5:17-19 English Standard Version (ESV)
Christ Came to Fulfill the Law
17 “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. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
The only thing Jesus destroys is the works of the enemy. Jesus is a fulfiller. The original word, pléroó, for the phrase “to fulfill” in verse 17 colors a picture of filling a vessel up to the brim and overflowing. Imagine with me a very large empty drinking glass or cup the size of a person. Now imagine that every single time you kept one of the commands of the law, you were able to add one drop of water to that cup. It’s clear, isn’t it, that you and I would never fill our cups in our lifetimes.
But then Jesus tells us above that not only has He not come to abolish the law, but to fill it up to completion.
But, in spite of Jesus pronouncement, we come face to face to this troubling reality given in terms of a warning to us that the law is still around and we must not relax it one iota.
But remember, we do not have a destroyer in Jesus; we have an overflowing fulfiller as the Lord of our lives.
And we are the cup.
Jesus is purposefully speaking in vast terms in this section of scripture so we can understand following Him isn’t something we merely do in one area and not in another. He’s helping us to see that following Him requires all of our lives.
As you reflect on the above passage, are there areas of your life where you’ve placed your hand over your cup to prevent Jesus from pouring Himself into you?
We can never relax the law but we can relax our striving to fulfill the law. There is no way we ever could fill our cups one drop at a time. What does it mean for you to consider relaxing, or ceasing your striving for perfect law-keeping, versus allowing yourself to be filled?