Jesus’ declaration that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, not to abolish them, obviously contains two statements in one. There is something Jesus did and something He did not do. At the same time, Jesus emphasized the eternal nature of the Word of God.
Jesus goes out of His way to promote the authority of the Law of God. He did not come to abolish the Law, regardless of what the Pharisees accused Him of. In fact, Jesus continues His statement with a commendation for those who teach the Law accurately and hold it in reverence: “Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19).
Note the qualities that Jesus attributes to the Word of God, referenced as “the Law and the Prophets”: 1) The Word is everlasting; it will outlast the natural world. 2) The Word was written with intent; it was meant to be fulfilled. 3) The Word possesses plenary authority; even the smallest letter of it is established. 4) The Word is faithful and trustworthy; “everything” it says will be accomplished. No one hearing Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount could doubt His commitment to the Scriptures.
Consider what Jesus did not do in His ministry. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says that He did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets. In other words, Jesus’ purpose was not to abrogate the Word, dissolve it, or render it invalid. The Prophets will be fulfilled; the Law will continue to accomplish the purpose for which it was given (see Isaiah 55:10–11).
Next, consider what Jesus did do. Jesus says that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. In other words, Jesus’ purpose was to establish the Word, to embody it, and to fully accomplish all that was written. “Christ is the culmination of the law” (Romans 10:4). The predictions of the Prophets concerning the Messiah would be realized in Jesus; the holy standard of the Law would be perfectly upheld by Christ, the strict requirements personally obeyed, and the ceremonial observances finally and fully satisfied.
Jesus Christ fulfilled the Prophets in that, in His first coming alone, He fulfilled hundreds of prophecies concerning Himself (e.g., Matthew 1:22; 13:35; John 19:36; Luke 24:44). Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law in at least two ways: as a teacher and as a doer. He taught people to obey the Law (Matthew 22:35–40; Mark 1:44), and He obeyed the Law Himself (John 8:46; 1 Peter 2:22). In living a perfect life, Jesus fulfilled the moral laws; in His sacrificial death, Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial laws. Christ came not to destroy the old religious system but to build upon it; He came to finish the Old Covenant and establish the New.
Jesus came not to destroy the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill them. In fact, the ceremonies, sacrifices, and other elements of the Old Covenant were “only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves” (Hebrews 10:1). The tabernacle and temple were “holy places made with hands,” but they were never meant to be permanent; they were but “copies of the true things” (Hebrews 9:24, ESV). The Law had a built-in expiration date, being filled as it was with “external regulations applying until the time of the new order” (Hebrews 9:10).
In His fulfillment of the Law and Prophets, Jesus obtained our eternal salvation. No more were priests required to offer sacrifices and enter the holy place (Hebrews 10:8–14). Jesus has done that for us, once and for all. By grace through faith, we are made right with God: “He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).
There are some who argue that, since Jesus did not “abolish” the Law, then the Law is still in effect—and still binding on New Testament Christians. But Paul is clear that the believer in Christ is no longer under the Law: “We were held in custody under the Law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the Law became our guardian to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian” (Galatians 3:23–25, BSB). We are not under the Mosaic Law but under “the law of Christ” (see Galatians 6:2).
If the Law is still binding on us today, then it has not yet accomplished its purpose—it has not yet been fulfilled. If the Law, as a legal system, is still binding on us today, then Jesus was wrong in claiming to fulfill it and His sacrifice on the cross was insufficient to save. Thank God, Jesus fulfilled the whole Law and now grants us His righteousness as a free gift. “Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).
Matthew 10:6 Parallel Verses;
Matthew 10:6, NIV: Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.
Matthew 10:6, ESV: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matthew 10:6, KJV: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matthew 10:6, NASB: but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matthew 10:6, NLT: but only to the people of Israel--God's lost sheep.
Matthew 10:6, CSB: Instead, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
What does Matthew 10:6 mean?
Jesus has begun giving instructions about what He wants His twelve hand-picked apostles to do when He sends them out on their own (Matthew 10:1–4). He began by defining where they should not go: to any Gentile areas or Samaritan towns (Matthew 10:5). Instead, Jesus now says, He is sending His representatives to the "lost sheep of Israel."
At the end of the previous chapter, Matthew described Jesus as feeling compassion for the people as He looked out over the crowds. Jesus saw that they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Those are the "lost sheep" Jesus is sending His disciples to reach with the good news of the Messiah and the kingdom of heaven.
In saying this, Jesus was directing the good news to all the people of Israel, not just some. God's plan was that the good news of Jesus would first be preached to Israel and then later to the rest of the nations (Romans 1:16).
Matthew 10:5–15 contains Jesus' instructions for His twelve apostles, for their missionary trip to the towns of Galilee, in northern Israel. Their mission will be to preach His message that the kingdom of heaven is near, while also healing people and casting out demons. The apostles must not take with them extra money or clothes. Instead, they will stay with those who are worthy in each town they visit. If nobody in a town believes their message, the disciples are to shake the dust of that town from their feet. Jesus will follow these instructions with a series of warnings and encouragements.
Jesus gives His authority over disease, demons, and even death to His twelve hand-picked apostles. He gives them instructions in preparation both for a short-term trip to the towns of Galilee and their ministry after He has left the earth. First, they will preach His message of the kingdom in Israelite towns as they heal and cast out demons to demonstrate His power. Later, they will suffer great persecution as they represent Him before both Jews and Gentiles. They should not be afraid, though, and trust their Father to be with them and to reward them.
Summary of the Gospel of Matthew_ this summary of the Gospel of Matthew provides information about the title, author(s), date of writing, chronology, theme, theology, outline, a brief overview, and the chapters of the Gospel of Matthew.
Although the first Gospel is anonymous, the early church fathers were unanimous in holding that Matthew, one of the 12 apostles, was its author. However, the results of modern critical studies -- in particular those that stress Matthew's alleged dependence on Mark for a substantial part of his Gospel -- have caused some Biblical scholars to abandon Matthean authorship. Why, they ask, would Matthew, an eyewitness to the events of our Lord's life, depend so heavily on Mark's account? The best answer seems to be that he agreed with it and wanted to show that the apostolic testimony to Christ was not divided.
Matthew, whose name means "gift of the Lord," was a tax collector who left his work to follow Jesus (9:9-13). In Mark and Luke he is called by his other name, Levi.
Date and Place of Writing_ Some have argued on the basis of its Jewish characteristics that Matthew's Gospel was written in the early church period, possibly the early part of a.d. 50, when the church was largely Jewish and the gospel was preached to Jews only (Ac 11:19). However, those who have concluded that both Matthew and Luke drew extensively from Mark's Gospel date it later -- after the Gospel of Mark had been in circulation for a period of time. See essay and chart, p. 1943. Accordingly, some feel that Matthew would have been written in the late 50s or in the 60s. Others, who assume that Mark was written between 65 and 70, place Matthew in the 70s or even later. However, there is insufficient evidence to be dogmatic about either view.
The Jewish nature of Matthew's Gospel may suggest that it was written in the Holy Land, though many think it may have originated in Syrian Antioch.
RecipientsSince his Gospel was written in Greek, Matthew's readers were obviously Greek-speaking. They also seem to have been Jews. Many elements point to Jewish readership: Matthew's concern with fulfillment of the OT (he has more quotations from and allusions to the OT than any other NT author); his tracing of Jesus' descent from Abraham (1:1-17); his lack of explanation of Jewish customs (especially in contrast to Mark); his use of Jewish terminology (e.g., "kingdom of heaven," where "heaven" reveals the Jewish reverential reluctance to use the name of God; see note on 3:2); his emphasis on Jesus' role as "Son of David" (1:1; 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30-31; 21:9,15; 22:41-45). This does not mean, however, that Matthew restricts his Gospel to Jews. He records the coming of the Magi (non-Jews) to worship the infant Jesus (2:1-12), as well as Jesus' statement that the "field is the world" (13:38). He also gives a full statement of the Great Commission (28:18-20). These passages show that, although Matthew's Gospel is Jewish, it has a universal outlook.
Purpose_ Mathew's main purpose is to prove to his Jewish readers that Jesus is their Messiah. He does this primarily by showing how Jesus in his life and ministry fulfilled the OT Scriptures. Although all the Gospel writers quote the OT, Matthew includes nine proof texts unique to his Gospel (1:22-23; 2:15; 2:17-18; 2:23; 4:14-16; 8:17; 12:17-21; 13:35; 27:9-10) to drive home his basic theme: Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT predictions of the Messiah. Matthew even finds the history of God's people in the OT recapitulated in some aspects of Jesus' life (see, e.g., his quotation of Hos 11:1 in 2:15). To accomplish his purpose Matthew also emphasizes Jesus' Davidic lineage (see Recipients, p. 1945).
StructureThe way the material is arranged reveals an artistic touch. The whole Gospel is woven around five great discourses: (1) chs. 5-7; (2) ch. 10; (3) ch. 13; (4) ch. 18;(5) chs.24-25. That this is deliberate is clear from the refrain that concludes each discourse: "When Jesus had finished saying these things," or similar words (7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1). The narrative sections, in each case, appropriately lead up to the discourses. The Gospel has a fitting prologue (chs. 1-2) and a challenging epilogue (28:16-20).
The fivefold division may suggest that Matthew has modeled his book on the structure of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the OT). He may also be presenting the gospel as a new Torah and Jesus as a new and greater Moses.
- The Birth and Early Years of Jesus (chs. 1-2)
- The Beginnings of Jesus' Ministry (3:1 -- 4:11)
- Jesus' Ministry in Galilee (4:12 -- 14:12)
- Jesus' Withdrawals from Galilee (14:13 -- 17:20)
- Jesus' Last Ministry in Galilee (17:22 -- 18:35)
- Jesus' Ministry in Judea and Perea (chs. 19-20)
- Passion Week (chs. 21-27)
- The Resurrection (ch. 28)