Matthew 27:46-47 (HCSB)46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling for Elijah!”
Those who say that Jesus never said that He was God often use this scripture to try and prove their point. On the surface it does look like Jesus is talking to someone other than Himself. In fact He didn’t even address Him as Father (another augment those same people make). This is the only time in scripture that He does not address God as Father.
Jesus was actually quoting from Psalm 22. This is a Messianic Psalm and is all about the crucifixion.
Psalm 22:1 (HCSB)1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? ⌊Why are You⌋ so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning?
Remember Jesus had been claiming to be the Son of God, being equal with God and, as the Jewish leaders believed, He was claiming to be God (see Jesus Is God)
God being somehow separated from God is a miracle that we can’t explain. There are some things that God has determined that we will not understand or be privy to.
Deuteronomy 29:29 (NLT)29 “The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.
Proverbs 25:2 (NLT)2 It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them.
Romans 11:33 (NLT)33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
God reveals the truths He wants us to understand when He feels we are ready to understand and apply them. When we don’t understand something, it doesn’t mean we are less of a Christian or not as smart as another. God, in His infinite wisdom, keeps some things hidden from us until just the right time, and guess what God determines that time.
Back to the theme of this post that when Jesus said “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”, that in no way meant that He was acknowledging that He was not God.
Jesus was both God and man united in one divine Person that includes the Holy Spirit (The Trinity is another post). Since He is divine He couldn’t die to His deity. He could however suffer the agony of separation, because at this point He was carrying the weight of mankind’s sin;
Isaiah 53:4-6 (NLT)4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.
Romans 4:25 (NLT)25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.
God couldn’t look upon sin even in or on His Son.
Habakkuk 1:13 (HCSB)13 ⌊Your⌋ eyes are too pure to look on evil, and You cannot tolerate wrongdoing. So why do You tolerate those who are treacherous? Why are You silent while one who is wicked swallows up one who is more righteous than himself?
Because the Son had taken sin upon Himself, the Father turned His back. In some way and by some means, in the secrets of divine sovereignty and omnipotence, the God-Man was separated from God for a brief time at Calvary, as the furious wrath of the Father was poured out on the sinless Son, who in matchless grace became sin for those who believe in Him.
Think about this, with Jesus’ birth there had been a separation of sorts. He had separated from His divine glory for our sake.
Philippians 2:6-8 (NLT)6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
This separation wasn’t one of nature, essence, or even substance. Jesus didn’t, to any degree, cease to exist as God or as a member of the Trinity. He didn’t stop being the Son, any more than a child who disobeys his human father in a major way, stops being his child. Jesus did for a time however lose the intimacy of fellowship with His Father much like that same disobedient child loses the normal, intimate loving relationship with his or her human father.
Admittedly this is a tremendous mystery but as I said earlier God has some things that He has not revealed to us. This mystery is far too deep for even the most devout and mature believers to comprehend. But with help from the Holy Spirit (also God) God has revealed the basic truth for us to accept and understand to the limit of our human ability. There is nowhere in scripture we can understand the depth of Jesus’ sacrificial death and His anguish other than the separation from His Father, however that happened, as he hung on the cross because of sin.
The Jewish leaders mocked Him by saying “Let’s wait to see if Elijah comes to save him”
Matthew 27:47-49 (NLT)47 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah.48 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink.49 But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”
They obviously believed that He claimed to be God. The proof that Jesus’ claims, including the one to be The Son of God, which the Jewish leaders said was blasphemy, were true was in His resurrection.
Jesus was God then just as He was from the beginning and will be for all eternity.
I’m writing this post on the day that Christians call “Good Friday”, the Friday before Resurrection Sunday or Easter. The things that the scriptures say happened on that day don’t seem like good things so why call it “Good Friday”.
First of all let’s deal with the argument, that some make, that the events didn’t take place on a Friday at all. Some say that Friday was indeed the day, others say Thursday, some even believe they took place on Wednesday. Since the day of the week isn’t specifically mentioned in the gospel accounts we can assume, that just like the exact date of Jesus’ birth, it’s not all that important. The important thing is that they did happened. What we are sure of is that the events, reported in the scriptures later really did happen, and in the order they are reported to have happened.
Let’s start with the evening before “Good Friday”:
The Last Supper
Mark 14:17-26 (NKJV)17 In the evening He came with the twelve.18 Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me."19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one by one, "Is it I?" And another said, "Is it I?"20 He answered and said to them, "It is one of the twelve, who dips with Me in the dish.21 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born."22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, "Take, eat; this is My body."23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.24 And He said to them, "This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.25 Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
The Last Supper is what we call the last meal Jesus ate with His disciples before He was betrayed, arrested, and killed. It was more than just a last meal; it was a Passover meal. Passover was an especially holy event for the Jewish people in that it commemorated the time when God spared them from the death of the first born son, the final plague that resulted in their release from Egyptian slavery. The Last Supper brought the Old Testament observance of the Passover feast to its fulfillment At this Supper Jesus told the disciples and, by extension us, to remember what He was about to do on behalf of all mankind which was to shed His blood on the cross for our sins.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (HCSB)23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread,24 gave thanks, broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”25 In the same way, after supper ⌊He⌋ also ⌊took⌋ the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
Washing the Disciples’ Feet
John 13:1-6 (HCSB)1 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.2 Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him.3 Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God.4 So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself.5 Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.6 He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?”
Walking in sandals in Palestine in the in those days made it imperative that feet be washed before a communal meal. When Jesus got up and started washing the feet of the disciples he was doing what the lowliest servant was to do. They were shocked They should have been washing His and Peter said as much.
John 13:8 (HCSB)8 “You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said. Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.”
He gave them an example of humility and service to others that they and we are to follow.
John 13:12-15 (HCSB)12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you?13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am.14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.
Mark 14:43-52 (HCSB)43 While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. With him was a mob, with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders.44 His betrayer had given them a signal. “The One I kiss,” he said, “He’s the One; arrest Him and take Him away under guard.”45 So when he came, he went right up to Him and said, “Rabbi!”—and kissed Him.46 Then they took hold of Him and arrested Him.47 And one of those who stood by drew his sword, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his ear.48 But Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, as though I were a criminal, to capture Me?49 Every day I was among you, teaching in the temple complex, and you didn’t arrest Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”50 Then they all deserted Him and ran away.51 Now a certain young man, having a linen cloth wrapped around his naked body, was following Him. They caught hold of him,52 but he left the linen cloth behind and ran away naked.
John 18:12-13, 19-23 (HCSB)12 Then the company of soldiers, the commander, and the Jewish temple police arrested Jesus and tied Him up.13 First they led Him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 19 The high priest questioned Jesus about His disciples and about His teaching.20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus answered him. “I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple complex, where all the Jews congregate, and I haven’t spoken anything in secret.21 Why do you question Me? Question those who heard what I told them. Look, they know what I said.”22 When He had said these things, one of the temple police standing by slapped Jesus, saying, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?”23 “If I have spoken wrongly,” Jesus answered him, “give evidence about the wrong; but if rightly, why do you hit Me?”
Trial Before the Sanhedrin, (the religious Supreme Court).
Matthew 26:57-66 (HCSB)57 Those who had arrested Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had convened.58 Meanwhile, Peter was following Him at a distance right to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and was sitting with the temple police to see the outcome.59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false testimony against Jesus so they could put Him to death.60 But they could not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. Finally, two who came forward61 stated, “This man said, ‘I can demolish God’s sanctuary and rebuild it in three days.’”62 The high priest then stood up and said to Him, “Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?”63 But Jesus kept silent. Then the high priest said to Him, “By the living God I place You under oath: tell us if You are the Messiah, the Son of God!”64 “You have said it,” Jesus told him. “But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? Look, now you’ve heard the blasphemy!66 What is your decision?” They answered, “He deserves death!”
Trial Before Pilate
Mark 15:1-5 (HCSB)1 As soon as it was morning, the chief priests had a meeting with the elders, scribes, and the whole Sanhedrin. After tying Jesus up, they led Him away and handed Him over to Pilate.2 So Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You have said it.”3 And the chief priests began to accuse Him of many things.4 Then Pilate questioned Him again, “Are You not answering anything? Look how many things they are accusing You of!”5 But Jesus still did not answer anything, so Pilate was amazed.
To Herod for Interrogation
Luke 23:6-10 (HCSB)6 When Pilate heard this, he asked if the man was a Galilean.
7 Finding that He was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem during those days.8 Herod was very glad to see Jesus; for a long time he had wanted to see Him because he had heard about Him and was hoping to see some miracle performed by Him.9 So he kept asking Him questions, but Jesus did not answer him.10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing Him.
Back to Pilate
Luke 23:11-12 (HCSB)11 Then Herod, with his soldiers, treated Him with contempt, mocked Him, dressed Him in a brilliant robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.12 That very day Herod and Pilate became friends. Previously, they had been hostile toward each other.
Luke 23:26-31 (HCSB)26 As they led Him away, they seized Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, and laid the cross on him to carry behind Jesus.27 A large crowd of people followed Him, including women who were mourning and lamenting Him.28 But turning to them, Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and your children.29 Look, the days are coming when they will say, ‘The women without children, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed, are fortunate!’30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
Mark 15:25 (HCSB)25 Now it was nine in the morning when they crucified Him.
Luke 23:39-43 (HCSB)39 Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!”40 But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment?41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.”42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”43 And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”
Mark 15:33-34 (HCSB)33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.34 And at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Luke 23:44-46 (HCSB)44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three,45 because the sun’s light failed. The curtain of the sanctuary was split down the middle.46 And Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit.” Saying this, He breathed His last.
John 19:30 (HCSB) 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Why Did Jesus Had to Die?
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s commands, He had to punish them.
Genesis 2:16-17 (HCSB)16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden,17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
Genesis 3:6-7 (HCSB)6 Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate ⌊it⌋; she also gave ⌊some⌋ to her husband, ⌊who was⌋ with her, and he ate ⌊it⌋.7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
Ever since Adam’s sin, every human has been guilty of sin.
Romans 3:23 (HCSB)23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Sin is not just big things like murder, robbery, lying, but also includes love of money, hatred, pride, etc., and because of sin, everyone has deserved death which is eternal separation from God.
However, God did promise that He would send a sacrifice to take the punishment they, and we deserve.
Genesis 3:14-15 (HCSB)14 Then the LORD God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life.15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.
Until Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, came men would sacrifice innocent lambs and other animals. Then God Himself provided the only sacrifice that could atone for our sins.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (HCSB)21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Jesus had to die because He is the only one who can pay the penalty for our sins.
The story continues
After Jesus’ death;
There was a big earthquake
Matthew 27:51-52 (HCSB)51 Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split.52 The tombs were also opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
Jesus is Buried
Matthew 27:57-61 (HCSB)57 When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph came, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.58 He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then Pilate ordered that it be released.59 So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in clean, fine linen,60 and placed it in his new tomb, which he had cut into the rock. He left after rolling a great stone against the entrance of the tomb.61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were seated there, facing the tomb.
Jesus Rises from the Dead
Matthew 28:1-7 (HCSB)1 After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb.2 Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached ⌊the tomb⌋. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it.3 His appearance was like lightning, and his robe was as white as snow.4 The guards were so shaken from fear of him that they became like dead men.5 But the angel told the women, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.6 He is not here! For He has been resurrected, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.7 Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead. In fact, He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there.’ Listen, I have told you.”
It Is Good Friday
The things that Jesus went through were not good things. He was betrayed by a friend, falsely accused and convicted of crimes He didn’t commit. He was whipped, beaten, laughed at and killed in a very violent way. Those were not good things, but the results were good….very good.
Romans 5:8-11 (HCSB)8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, ⌊then how⌋ much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him.
1 Peter 3:18 (HCSB)18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm.
Do you see Good Friday as a “good” day? Has Jesus washed away your sins and forgiven you? Will you spend eternity with Him?
If your answer to those questions is no then you will die in your sin and spend eternity separated from God where there will be torment.
2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 (HCSB)8 taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord’s presence and from His glorious strength
If on the other hand you want to be able to answer the questions with a yes you must embrace Jesus’ death on “Good Friday” as payment for your sins. You must acknowledge that He took your punishment. Here’s how you do that;
Romans 10:9-12 (NLT) If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him.
If you want to receive God’s grace and all the benefits that God has promised to His children then pray this prayer in all sincerity (only you and God know if you’re really sincere);
“Dear God, I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to turn from sin. I now invite Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Savior.”
If you have just prayed this prayer, in all sincerity, call, text, email, Tweet, change your Facebook status and tell somebody. Leave me a comment here or send me an email with this Link. Then find a bible believing church and start to fellowship with other believers. Welcome to the family of God. From now on “Good Friday” really will be “Good Friday” for you.
While delivering His famous “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus made the following statement;
Matthew 5:17-19 (NKJV)17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
What did He mean?
Some people think that since He came to, and did, fulfill “The Law” that “The Law” no longer applies to Christians.
If that is the case then let me ask a few questions;
We know the answers to these questions. Yes these things still apply to us today. Yet Jesus said that He came to fulfill “The Law” and His last words on the cross were “It is finished”, meaning all that He came to do while on earth was complete and, we can assume that included fulfilling “The Law”.
John 19:30 (HCSB)30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Let me clear up the confusion.
What Law are we talking about?
The first thing we need to do is to determine is, when Jesus referred to “The Law” what He was talking about. Was it the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20:1-17?
The “Sermon on the Mount” comprises the entire fifth chapter of Matthew and in it Jesus referrers to and extends to statements from the Law but only two of them are from the Ten Commandments.
Matthew 5:21 (HCSB) “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment.
Matthew 5:27 (HCSB) “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery.
The other topics Jesus covered—divorce, oaths, revenge, and hatred—are taken from other places elsewhere in the Old Testament.
Deuteronomy 24:1 (HCSB) “If a man marries a woman, but she becomes displeasing to him because he finds something improper about her, he may write her a divorce certificate, hand it to her, and send her away from his house.
Numbers 30:2 (HCSB) When a man makes a vow to the LORD or swears an oath to put himself under an obligation, he must not break his word; he must do whatever he has promised.
Deuteronomy 19:21 (HCSB) You must not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot.
Leviticus 19:18 (HCSB) Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself; I am Yahweh.
When He said “The Law” and the Prophets that would indicate that He was talking about more than the Ten Commandments, and the first five books, of what we now know as the Bible. In another place He includes even more;
Luke 24:44 (HCSB) Then He told them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
The Hebrew word for law is Torah. It’s really God’s instructions for living and not only legal regulation. It is often understood to mean the first five books of the bible, (in some cases includes the entire Old Testament) and before and during Jesus’ days on the earth and even among Jewish people today, the rabbis make it their goal to understand and teach these instructions fully.
The Old Testament, is the Scripture used by the Jews in Jesus’ day. It was generally divided into three sections The Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), History (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings, 1st and 2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther), Poetry or Writings (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon), and Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi).
Jesus was, in effect, saying that He came to fulfil everything written in what we know as the Old Testament that pointed to Him.
How did Jesus Fulfill the Law?
Remember the Scripture at the beginning of the post says that Jesus didn’t come to abolish but to fulfill “The Law” which we have now determined to be the Hebrew Scriptures or Torah. Jesus loved and obeyed “The Law”. He fulfilled all the prophecies about Himself as the Messiah, He fulfilled the demands of the Mosaic law as codified in The Pentateuch, which called for perfect obedience.
The Greek word pleroo is translated “fulfill” in Matthew 5:17. Strong’s defines pleroo;
“to make replete, i.e. (literal) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figurative) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc. :- accomplish, × after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.”
To fulfill can mean to complete or accomplish, but it can also mean to fill to the full. Taken in context, when Jesus said that He did not come to abolish but to fulfill, His intent is clear. Jesus came to fulfill the true meaning and purpose of what the Law was all about.
Where the Law said do not lie, do not steal, do not commit adultery (Exodus 20:1-17), etc., Jesus obeyed the moral law perfectly.
He never sinned.
1 Peter 2:21-22 (HCSB)21 For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps.22 He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth;
He satisfied the sacrificial requirement of the shedding of blood for forgiveness of sins.
Hebrews 9:12 (HCSB)12 He entered the most holy place once for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
He fulfilled the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah.
Isaiah 7:14 (HCSB)14 Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.
He was the prophet Moses talked about.
Deuteronomy 18:18 (HCSB)18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.
He's our priest.
Psalm 110:4 (HCSB)4 The LORD has sworn an oath and will not take it back: “Forever, You are a priest like Melchizedek.”
He was crucified.
Psalm 22:1 (HCSB) My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? ⌊Why are You⌋ so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning?
He was rose from the dead.
Psalm 16:10 (HCSB)10 For You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay.
Here is what Expositor’s Commentary on Matthew says about Matthew 5:17-19:
"The best interpretation of these difficult verses says that Jesus fulfills the Law and the Prophets in that they point to him, and he is their fulfillment. The antithesis is not between ‘abolish’ and ‘keep’ but between ‘abolish’ and ‘fulfill’" (page 143).
The Law of the Lord is perfect
Psalm 19:7 (HCSB)7 The instruction of the LORD is perfect, renewing one’s life; the testimony of the LORD is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.
Till heaven and earth pass away, God's Law all of it—will continue to accomplish all that it was sent to do;
Isaiah 55:10-11 (HCSB)10 For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return there without saturating the earth and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat,11 so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it ⌊to do⌋.”
You Can Fulfill “The Law” Too!!
We are saved by God's grace. Jesus honored “The Law” as God's Holy Word and declared the Law to be perfect, non-negotiable. The fulfillment of the Law is found in Christ Himself and His finished work of redemption.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (HCSB)8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift--9 not from works, so that no one can boast.
Romans 6:14 (HCSB)14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.
The Spirit gives us the ability to "love one another"
John 13:34-35 (HCSB)34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
When we love one another we have fulfilled “The Law”
Romans 13:8 (HCSB)8 Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Christians don’t work to fulfill the Pentateuch which Jesus fulfilled for us….we fulfill “The Law of Christ”
Galatians 6:2 (HCSB)2 Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Jesus, through His life and teaching, magnified “The Law”. His perfect example give full meaning to “The Law”. Jesus live and example emphasized the principle underlying “The Law”, the principle of love. That’s how He could respond to the young ruler;
Matthew 22:34-40 (HCSB)34 When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together.35 And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him:36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.38 This is the greatest and most important command.39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
If you were asked, “Are you a Christian” how would you answer? My guess is that the overwhelming number of you would answer “Yes”.
An extensive survey conducted by Pew Research Center, and reported in its “2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study”, shows that 71% or approximately 173 million Americans identify themselves as Christians. That number has declined over the years but is still the largest percentage, by a wide margin, of those who identify with an organized religion or have have no religious affiliation at all.
Worldwide, while the percentage of those, throughout the world who identify themselves as Christian, continues to decline, a comprehensive demographic study of more than 230 countries and territories conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life “Global Religious Landscape”, released in 2012 estimated that 31.5% of the world’s population ( 2.2 billion people) was Christian.
Next question; “Why do you say you’re a Christian?”. Here are some answers I bet you’ve heard over the years;
All of these things are good things but do they, and other good stuff, make you a Christian?
The bible tells us that we can’t be made acceptable to God by good works.
Titus 3:5 (NKJV) not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit
What is a Christian?
The word, Christian, comes from the Greek word, christianos, which is derived from the word,christos or Christ, which means "anointed one." A Christian, then, is someone who is a follower of Christ. Pretty simple right? But it’s much more than that.
The first time that we are introduced to the word Christian is in the book of Acts.
Acts 11:25-26 (HCSB)25 Then he went to Tarsus to search for Saul,26 and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.
It appears only two more times in the Bible.
Acts 26:28 (HCSB)28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily?”
1 Peter 4:16 (HCSB)16 But if ⌊anyone suffers⌋ as a “Christian,” he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in ⌊having⌋ that name.
A Christian is someone who has been born again by God.
John 3:3,7 (NKJV) Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV) having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
A Christian puts their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His finished work.
John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 6:47 (NKJV) Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
Acts 16:30-31 (NKJV)30 And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
31 So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."
1 Corinthians 15:3 (NKJV) For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
Colossians 2:11-12 (NKJV)11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
Acts 10:39-41 (NKJV)39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
Now that you know what and who is a Christian I’ll ask the question again “Are you a Christian”? If the answer is yes then you shouldn’t be afraid to examine yourself. In fact the Bible tell us to do just that.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV)5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified.
1 Corinthians 11:28, 31 (NKJV)28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
2 Peter 1:10-11 (NKJV)10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Ask yourself these questions
(from the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry article “What Kind of a Christian are You?”)
Does being a Christian mean that you don’t sin?
Of course not.
1 John 1:8 (NKJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
But if and when a Christian does sin;
1 John 1:9 (NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Are You a Christian?
Only you and God know know the answer. He and you know if you have truly trusted Jesus and are seeking to follow Him.
Are you trusting Christ alone for your salvation, and are you seeking to follow Him as the Lord of your life? If not make sure today by committing your life to Christ today and become a true Christian. The Bible says;
Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV)9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
If you're ready... pray;
“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!”
If you have just prayed this prayer, in all sincerity, call, text, email, Tweet, change your Facebook status and tell somebody, leave me a comment here or send me an email me Here. Then find a bible believing church and start to fellowship with other believers. Welcome to the family of God…. Christian.
I’m glad you asked!
Jesus is the "Son of God"
The phrase, "Son of God," occurs more than 40 times in the Bible, all but one of them in the New Testament. Each time “Son of God” is used, in the New Testament, it’s referring to Jesus. It’s a title that denotes His preeminence, holiness, and relationship to God the Father. As I mentioned in earlier posts, the fact that Jesus referred to God as His Father, was the primary reason the Pharisees wanted to kill Him (see Jesus is God).
John 10:25-30 (HCSB)25 “I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me.26 But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep.27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.30 The Father and I are one.”
The Jewish leaders wanted to kill him because He was claiming to be God's son therefore being equal with Him.
John 10:31-36 (HCSB) 31 Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him.32 Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?”33 “We aren’t stoning You for a good work,” the Jews answered, “but for blasphemy, because You—being a man—make Yourself God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your scripture, I said, you are gods?35 If He called those whom the word of God came to ‘gods’—and the Scripture cannot be broken--36 do you say, ‘You are blaspheming’ to the One the Father set apart and sent into the world, because I said: I am the Son of God?
The question then becomes how can He be both the father and the son? Here's what Jesus said at another time in the presence of Jewish religious leaders;
John 17:1-5, 10-11, 20-26 (HCSB)1 Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You,2 for You gave Him authority over all flesh; so He may give eternal life to all You have given Him.3 This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.4 I have glorified You on the earth by completing the work You gave Me to do.5 Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You before the world existed. 10 Everything I have is Yours, and everything You have is Mine, and I have been glorified in them.11 I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one as We are one.20 I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.21 May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.22 I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one.23 I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.24 Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world’s foundation.25 Righteous Father! The world has not known You. However, I have known You, and these have known that You sent Me.26 I made Your name known to them and will make it known, so the love You have loved Me with may be in them and I may be in them.
In summary here’s what He said;
Reading this in context it’s clear that Jesus’ statements about the Father in no way deny that He is God, because He makes claims that only God can make (See Jesus Is God He Has Attributes That Only God Has).
The title “Son of God” doesn’t mean that Jesus is God’s biological Son. It also doesn’t mean that the son is inferior to his father. Scholars say that the term “Son of God” in the original languages refers to likeness, or “of the same order.” That means that when He referred to Himself as the Son of God Jesus meant that He has divine essence as does God. Or in other words Jesus has the “DNA of God”. A human son shares his father’s DNA and although they are different people they are both men. In the case of Jesus He has the DNA of His Father so they are both God and, because there is only one God.... you get the picture. Here’s an explanation by Professor Peter Kreeft, a former professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College. Professor Kreeft is the author of numerous books as well as a popular writer of Christian philosophy, theology and apologetics:
“What did Jesus mean when he called himself the ‘Son of God’? The son of a man is a man. (Both ‘son’ and ‘man,’ in the traditional language, mean males and females equally.) The son of an ape is an ape. The son of a dog is a dog. The son of a shark is a shark. And so the Son of God is God. ‘Son of God’ is a divine title.”¹
Jesus is the “Son of Man”
I just wrote that Jesus is both the “Son of God” and God but to now say that He’s also “Son of Man” sounds, at first glance, like a contradiction doesn’t it? But there’s no contradiction at all..
The Gospels record that Jesus referred to Himself as "Son of Man" more than 70 times. “Son of Man” is Jesus' favorite designation, of Himself. He is the only one who used this title. He used it to emphasize His humanity. His disciples and others never used it when addressing, or talking about, Him.
When He asked His disciples who they said He was he referred to Himself as “Son of Man:
Matthew 16:13 (HCSB)13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
The Messiah would be a man
Jeremiah 23:5-6 (HCSB)5 “The days are coming”—⌊this is⌋ the LORD’s declaration— “when I will raise up a Righteous Branch of David. He will reign wisely as king and administer justice and righteousness in the land.6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. This is what He will be named: Yahweh Our Righteousness.
Daniel 7:13-14 (HCSB)13 I continued watching in the night visions, and I saw One like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before Him.14 He was given authority to rule, and glory, and a kingdom; so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.
Matthew 16:16-18 (HCSB)16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”17 And Jesus responded, “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven.18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.
Matthew 26:62-64 (HCSB)62 The high priest then stood up and said to Him, “Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?”63 But Jesus kept silent. Then the high priest said to Him, “By the living God I place You under oath: tell us if You are the Messiah, the Son of God!”64 “You have said it,” Jesus told him. “But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
This statement infuriated the religious rulers because He was claiming to be the Messiah.
He was divine but also human
Though the Bible does not define its exact meaning, the title "Son of Man" may refer to the fact that Jesus was completely human. He, as God, left His home in heaven and came to live among men as the perfect human being. It seems by using the title "Son of Man" Jesus wanted to convey the truth that He was entirely human.
Philippians 2:6-8 (HCSB)6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form,8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross.
Galatians 4:4-7 (HCSB)4 When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
As a man He fulfilled the Law of Moses and did what no other human being was able to do. As the “Son of Man” He identified with the people He had come to save.
Matthew 5:17 (HCSB)17 “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
To fulfill the law He had to uphold it in everything He said and did, and He had to do that as a man. As a man, He showed the holy, spiritual purpose of God’s law in both the letter and in the intent of the heart.
The “Son of Man” forgave sin, and only God can do that
Mark 2:10-12 (HCSB)10 But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He told the paralytic,11 “I tell you: get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”12 Immediately he got up, picked up the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
He came as the “Son of Man” for a reason
Luke 19:10 (HCSB)10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
The “Son of Man” suffered on behalf of man
Mark 8:31 (HCSB)31 Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be killed, and rise after three days.
Mark 8:31 (HCSB) Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be killed, and rise after three days.
The “Son of Man” will be exalted
Matthew 25:31 (HCSB)31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
Yes Jesus is God
Jesus emptied Himself and took on the form of man and walked with His creation, in the flesh, for thirty-three years but He was and still is God.
1 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
In my first post I wrote about Jesus’ claims that He is God; in the second post I gave you attributes of Jesus that only God can have. In this post I answered the question how can Jesus be “Son of God, “Son of Man” and God. In my next post I’ll talk about some other characteristics that only God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit share. Stay tuned.
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.