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What did Jesus say about Keeping the Law

What did Jesus say about Keeping the Law

In addressing your question about Jesus’ teachings on keeping the law, let’s consider His statements within the broader context of the New Testament, particularly the Gospels. Jesus’ relationship with the Mosaic Law is complex and nuanced, reflecting both continuity with Jewish tradition and a transformative reinterpretation of it.

Relevant Bible Verses:

  1. Matthew 5:17-20 (Bold): “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. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes 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 does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
  2. Mark 12:28-31: When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “The most important one is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
  3. John 8:3-11: In the episode of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus demonstrates the spirit of the law over its letter by saying, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” After the accusers left, Jesus told the woman, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Three Main Takeaways:

  1. Fulfillment of the Law: Jesus emphasizes that His mission is not to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). His teaching and life bring to completion the law’s deeper purpose, pointing to a righteousness that transcends legalistic adherence and penetrates the heart’s intentions.
  2. Love as the Law’s Foundation: Jesus distills the essence of the law to the commandment of love—love for God and love for one’s neighbor (Mark 12:28-31). This principle of love becomes the lens through which the law is to be understood and applied.
  3. Mercy Over Judgment: In His interactions, such as with the woman caught in adultery, Jesus prioritizes mercy and forgiveness over strict judgment (John 8:3-11). He calls for a community that embodies grace, challenging legalistic interpretations that lead to condemnation.

In summary, Jesus’ teachings on the law call for a deep, transformative engagement with God’s commandments, where the essence of the law—love and mercy—shapes the believer’s life and actions.


  • Greg Gaines

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