Advent Day 10
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time…(22) But I say unto you (Matt 5:21-22).
In Matt 5:21-48, Scripture presents six antitheses to reframe the Law of Moses. These opposite statements pair “Ye have heard” with “But I say unto you” to form six contrasting, new thoughts about the Law that Jesus taught (e.g., 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). He introduced the Law in a new frame of Kingdom culture with full Messianic authority as the Incarnate God who became the Law with the form and purpose of the Word to fulfill it.
On the heels of the beatitudes (vv 1-12), the God who gave the Law to Moses mediated through angels, incarnated Himself in Jesus to become the Law (cf. Gal 3:13). God with us needed no mediators since He took on the identity of the Son superior over angels in the form and purpose of the Word (John 1:1; Heb 1:4). For this reason, He Himself could reformulate prophetic and rabbinic declarations and teachings with greater authority to proclaim it Himself for the coming Kingdom at hand.
Under the old covenant, rabbinical Torah teachings began with “Thus saith Lord.” However, Emmanuel, God with us, came not to destroy the Law but fulfill it (5:17; 9:13; 10:34, 35; 20:28) to save His people (1:21). Therefore, through His words, deeds, death, resurrection, and ascension He demonstrated God’s presence among His people (1:23) Thus, He came to complete the Law and purpose for which it existed (Isa 55:10-11).
Jesus has the authority to promote the Law of God because He fulfilled the Law and the Prophets to culminate the Law (Rom 10:4). He declared the importance of His fulfillment by punctuating it with a verily, meaning amen (Matt 5:17)! His authority derives itself from the embodiment of the invisible God with us in Jesus, which gave Him full rights to state “But I say unto you.” Thus, Jesus’ fulfillment illustrates the King who descended from David, as God directly speaking and dealing with man. Jesus—Emmanuel, God with us—has scriptural authority through His kingly assent from the Davidic lineage and having a God identity.
Jan Paron, PhD