On Sunday we sang "Jesus Paid It All" at church. I liked the lyrics to many of the verses, but this one reminded me of myself.
I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”
Continuing our study in chapter 5, these are the next words Matthew records of Jesus' sermon:
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. 18I 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. 19Anyone 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. 20For 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.
Based on these words, do you believe we should still live by Jewish laws if we are followers of Jesus? Some people say that Jesus fulfilled the Law, therefore, we no longer have to keep it. Does this view contradict what Jesus taught here? Or since many also believe Jesus "accomplished" the fulfilling of the Law, we are free from the rules and legalism? Do you think Jesus' ministry was such that people questioned whether he was trying to do away with the Law and the Prophets and that's why he brought this up in his sermon?
The Pharisees and teachers of the law would have been some of the most outwardly pious people of that culture. They kept all the rules of the Law plus added more in an effort to make sure they didn't break any of the commandments accidentally. Why do you think Jesus said our righteousness needed to be more than these people's? I've seen a Muslim writer say that this is where Islam comes into play. Perhaps he meant with all their rules and regulations even in such minute matters, a true follower of Muhammad exceeded the righteousness of those religious people of Jesus' day. Do you agree or disagree with this possibility? Do you believe this is what Jesus had in mind?
What questions or thoughts does this passage bring to your mind?