Teenside Daily Devotional

Read Matthew 5:17-20.

Jesus says that he did not come to “abolish the Law” but to “fulfill” It. Sometimes it’s easier to just pass over this passage and get to Jesus’ simpler teachings than to really ask: what exactly does this mean? Maybe you know some of the commands found in the books of Law, or possibly, you have read through some of the books of the Prophets. Yet, even if you have read the Law, you probably don’t reference it when making a decision, right? The Old Testament doesn’t guide your moral compass. It’s God’s Law, it was Israel’s law, but it’s not “our” law. We don’t have to follow it. Or do we?

Let’s start with an easier question first: how is Jesus fulfilling the Law? Well, the Law and the Prophets are completely about Jesus. Every single bit of it points to him in some way. Anything regarding the exploits of Israel centers around the bloodline of Jesus Christ. Recall that listed genealogy from chapter 1! There are also a number of messianic prophecies found in the books of the Prophets, every one of which Jesus fulfills. If you go back and look over the previous chapters of Matthew, Old Testament texts are referenced to show EXACTLY which prophecy that aspect of Jesus’ life fulfills. Finally, anything regarding sacrifice is simply foreshadowing to the ultimate sacrifice that had to be made. The book of Hebrews is an amazing source for understanding the sacrifice of Jesus.

Now, for that harder question. If the Law isn’t “abolished”, do we still need to follow it? Sort of. That’s a great answer, isn’t it? I’ll explain. The Old Testament as a whole is an amazing resource for learning about who God is. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but we don’t get a lot of instances in the New Testament where God does or says something directly. However, there is a lot of that in the OT. And how do you grow your relationship with God if you don’t know anything about Him? Jesus also didn’t want to abolish it because it gives us a ton of much needed context for the teachings of the NT. We would never understand the true need for Jesus’ sacrifice until we looked at how tedious the commands of the Law are. I am extremely thankful for Jesus!

So, how much of the Law do we follow then? I would say that if you believe in Christ, respect and follow his teachings, and model your life after his, you’re already following all of the Law! He lived out the Law, he FULFILLED it, so just follow him! Do what he does! And if you want some non-examples, he calls out the Pharisees quite a few times for misinterpreting the Law or using it to accumulate power, so don’t be like them. If you spend all of your energy trying to follow the Law, then you will be judged by the Law, and that would be a very blunt and harsh judgment. However, if you follow Christ, then you will be judged by Christ, and he has a bit of a soft spot for you. He died for you. So, you have nothing to worry about. Just go out and be like him!

*Take a moment to journal these questions. Write down your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Then date your entry. One of the coolest things is being able to look back and see how God came through for you.*

  1. Try to list some things you know about the character of God from the Old Testament. (Find stories and scripture to associate with some of these characteristics)

  1. Choose one characteristic from the list you created and write about how you’ve seen it in your relationship with Him. Use a real situation from your life where you felt the (love of God, faithfulness of God, sovereignty of God, etc.). 

  1. Jesus came and fulfilled the law with His grace. In what areas of your life are you thankful for God’s grace? 

  1. We no longer live by the strict rules of the law but by what the law stood for (God’s righteousness– and his desire for us to walk in righteousness). In following Jesus’s example, how does your life reflect righteousness?

Prayer: Spend some time praying about the things you journaled. Thank God for His grace that means we don’t have to live by the rules of the law, but instead, in the grace of the law. Ask God to reveal more of himself to you as you seek him with all of your heart (Jeremiah 29:13). Pray that your life would reflect the righteousness of Jesus. Ask that God would allow you to see the places that do not reflect his righteousness and redirect your path (Psalm 139:23-24).

Song: Simple Gospel-

*START YOUR WEEK OFF RIGHT: Listen to some worship music and take time to give glory to God. He is worthy of all of our praise. You can listen to our Spotify playlist or listen to your favorite worship songs. Take just a few minutes– It can change your outlook on the week.*

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