Matthew 5:17 – 20 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. I tell you the truth, 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. Anyone who breaks 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 practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Everywhere He went, Jesus seemed to break the religious rules. The religious people didn’t quite know what to do with Him; after all, He went about doing good, and preaching about God’s love. But He just didn’t do things the way they were supposed to be done, according to the religious elite. Jesus was an independent thinker. A nonconformist.
People questioned Him about this. “If you are God’s Son, why do you keep breaking God’s laws?” they asked.
“I haven’t broken any of God’s laws,” He told them. “I have come to fulfill God’s laws, and His purpose.”
What did He mean by that?
Well, when you get right down to the nitty-gritty of things, Jesus was talking about God’s heart. It was never God’s intention to use His laws to trap people, or to weigh them down, or to make it impossible for anyone to ever please Him. Yet, that is what the religious leaders had done. They had attached so many strings and rules and clauses to the intent of God’s laws, it was impossible to ever get it all right.
The Pharisees took pride in following God’s laws (and their own additions to those laws) to the letter. Yet, their actions proved, time and again, that the intent of God’s laws had completely slipped their minds. Where was their compassion? Their mercy? Their love? Why was it so important to them that a person not walk more than X number of steps on the Sabbath, when there were sick people who needed to be healed, hungry people who needed food, and hurting people who needed to know that someone cared? Why were they more concerned with spying on and tricking this man called Jesus than they were about the souls all around them who were dying for a touch from God? You see, the Pharisees had a certain, skin-deep kind of righteousness. But God wants our righteousness to go all the way to our hearts.
God’s laws are perfect, for they have the power to change hearts and transform lives. But the mere following of a set of rules, if there is no change in our hearts, is a waste of time. God’s goal, my friends, is to make us look like Him. He wants to transform us from the inside out. And when we humbly allow Him to do that, the rules and regulations seem to fade in importance. For when we become like God, we don’t have to try nearly as hard to please Him. The fact that our hearts are a reflection of His will bring a smile to His face.
Dear Father, Thank You for Your perfect laws. Please use them to transform my heart, and make me like You.