The Gospels – The Gospel According to Matthew
Fulfilment of the Laws of God
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 fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till Heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Many people have misinterpreted the first two lines as meaning that here Jesus was saying that He had come to fulfil the prediction concerning His death when He said that he had not come to overthrow but to fulfil the laws. This, however, is not the case. The laws that Jesus was referring to was the Laws of God as they manifest in this Creation. He who enters Creation, be it even a Son of God has to place himself voluntarily under these Laws. Nothing can go beyond the ambit of the Laws of God. Jesus, by incarnating on earth voluntarily submitted to the Laws of God as they manifest here. He was part of these Laws and it would not even have occurred to Him to think of going beyond or against them. The question of the prediction of His death is an entirely different matter to which we shall come presently.
He who takes on a physical body is subject to all the Laws to which this body is subject. It will hunger, thirst, tire and feel pain. It will also not be able to descend from the cross without physical assistance. If we have wrong expectations as to the operability of the Laws of God then the blame must lie with us for we have never really concerned ourselves with knowing them. The Laws of God will not adjust themselves to our ignorance.
The Laws of God as they operate in the Universe will not be contravened by Jesus as He was a part of these Laws. He went further in what can be seen as a warning to mankind in that the Laws of God do not allow of any omissions. We will account for everything and every evil that we have put into the machinery of Creation. We will receive every retribution, no matter how small. Every careless word, thought or deed will have to be accounted for by the individuals responsible for committing these deeds. There can be no exception. What then is this theory of a propitiatory sacrifice that without further ado simply washes away mankind’s sins? There is no such thing. Jesus Himself testifies to the impossibility of such a happening.
He went further to threaten that any one who breaks the Commandments and teaches men to do the same shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. He shall suffer the consequences but whoever adheres to the Commandments shall have their reward. These are clear words. Why have we never bothered to read them? They do not even require any interpretations.
He went further to say that unless the effort that we make as regards our salvation exceeds those of the Pharisees and scribes we will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. No clearer words could be uttered as to the importance of making personal efforts, constant, unwavering efforts, otherwise we will never make it into the Kingdom of Heaven. No stricter rule could have been laid. Here it is not just a question of the apparent external observance of the Laws of God which actually is of no consequence, it is the inward spiritual absorption of the Word of God into our hearts and the resolution to adhere and adjust our lives accordingly.
The scribes and Pharisees paid more attention to externals and observances which in reality had nothing to do with the ascent of the spirit. Jesus called it “the weightier matters of the law”. These weightier matters were ignored by these scholars and instead rigorous external practices were introduced which bore no relation to what will advance the people spiritually.
The simplicity in the laws of Moses had been replaced by oral interpretative laws, which no one but themselves could understand. Through this, the cheerfulness and the mobility of spirit of the people had been debased. The laws consisted of a set of rigid do’s and don’ts which no one could adhere to.
More is demanded of the human spirit by the Laws of Creation than adhering to a set of rules. We are to live vitally in this Creation, seeking to understand our God. There is no room for blind adherence. We must do more. This is why Jesus said that we will never be able to get by through such blind rules and regulations. Such observances never touches the core of man which is the spirit. The latter never participates in such rigid observances. The spirit demands constant movement.
We can only serve God and as such enter the Kingdom of Heaven through the activity of our spirits. This means through exercising good thoughts, words and deeds. Working vitally in Creation and always seeking to bring harmony to our environments through our deeds. A series of do’s and don’ts will not suffice.