September 27th - Jim Phillips - Matthew 5:17-20


Dear Anchor,

This Sunday, we will continue our study of the greatest Sermon ever preached, The Sermon on the Mount. Marbury did a great job of walking us through some difficult passages last week, covering Matthew 5:21 through the end of the 5th chapter. I would like to back up and do a deep dive on four verses, Matthew 5:17-20. I want to focus on these verses because I believe them to be the critical part of the sermon and the key to understanding all that Jesus has to teach us. I find these verses to be some of the most interesting, confusing and challenging in all the Bible. Certainly verse 20 is one of the most astonishing statements Jesus ever made and I assure you it blew the mind of those listening that day. The response of the crowd when Jesus finished certainly indicated their astonishment.

These 4 verses breakdown neatly into two sections, verses 17 and 18, Christ and the Law, and verses 19 and 29, the believer and the Law.  It is important to understand what Jesus means when he mentions in verse 17, the Law and the Prophets. What exactly is meant by that term. How did Jesus mean it and how did the listeners understand it?  What does he mean by the words abolish/destroy/do away with and in what ways does Jesus fulfill the Law and the Prophets. Verse 19 begins with the word therefore, which indicates the beginning of the application of the previous two verses. How do we understand verse 19 in light of grace. In Romans 6:14, Paul says we are “not under law, but under grace”. In verse 19 Jesus says not to set aside these commands and then seems to contradict that in the balance of the chapter. Verse 20 is the most important verse in the entire Sermon and is the key to understanding the entire sermon. If he were preaching to us today he might say to us, unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of Billy Graham, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. How could their righteousness exceed that of the Pharisees? Read Mark 7:6, Mt. 23:23 and Luke 18:9-14.

Finally, there is great application for us today in our study, but we need to do some digging and I need your help. I have given you some reading and study to do for Sunday and if you do this I think we can move quickly through many verses and. I also need you to pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten the eyes of our heart so that we may really know and understand the hope he has called us to. The Pharisees seemingly had made their religion difficult with the thousands of rules they had added to the Law. But in reality they had made it easier because it required nothing of their heart.


Verses 10:1,2 and 11,12

Verses 4:14-16 8:1,2 7:23-25

Verses 9:11,12


Other verses to read:

John 5:9

Luke 24:27 and 44

Romans 6:7& 7:7

Gal. 3:24 & 6:2


Blessings to all and pray for one another. See you Sunday/



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