How Did Jesus Fulfill the Law

By Christabel Lambo •  Updated: 09/15/23 •  14 min read

In order to grasp the profound significance of how Jesus fulfilled the law, we must embark on a journey into the depths of ancient prophecies and teachings, as revealed in the Holy Bible. Let us delve into the intricate tapestry of the Old Testament, unraveling the threads that foretold the coming of a savior who would bring fulfillment to the law.

One of the key teachings of Jesus on the law can be found in Matthew 5:17, where he states, ‘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.’ This verse clearly establishes that Jesus did not come to disregard or undermine the law, but rather to bring it to its intended completion.

To fully comprehend how Jesus fulfilled the law, we must understand the sacrificial system established in the Old Testament. In the book of Leviticus, we read about the necessity of offering animal sacrifices for the atonement of sin. These sacrifices served as temporary substitutes, foreshadowing the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus would make on the cross.

In Hebrews 9:22, we find a powerful affirmation of Jesus’ role in fulfilling the law through his sacrifice: ‘Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.’ Jesus, as the perfect and spotless Lamb of God, willingly offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice, shedding his blood for the forgiveness of our sins.

The establishment of a new covenant is another crucial aspect of how Jesus fulfilled the law. In Jeremiah 31:31-34, we find a prophecy that speaks directly to this new covenant: ‘Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah…I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.’

This new covenant, as stated by Jesus himself in Luke 22:20, was inaugurated through his blood: ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’ Through his sacrifice, Jesus established a new way for humanity to approach God, no longer bound by the strict observance of the law but instead guided by the indwelling of his Spirit.

The role of grace in this fulfillment cannot be overlooked. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us, ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.’ Jesus’ fulfillment of the law brought about a shift from relying on our own works to receive salvation, to recognizing that it is through God’s grace alone that we are saved.

In conclusion, Jesus fulfilled the law through his teachings, sacrifice, and the establishment of a new covenant. By fully observing the law and offering himself as the ultimate sacrifice, he brought about the forgiveness of sins and opened the way for a new relationship with God based on grace. As we delve into the depths of the Holy Bible, we gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the transformative nature of Jesus’ mission.

Key Takeaways

The Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus

The prophecies foretold in the Old Testament were indeed fulfilled by Jesus, providing undeniable evidence of his role in fulfilling the law. The scriptures are filled with numerous messianic prophecies that paint a vivid picture of the coming of a chosen one who would bring salvation and establish God’s kingdom on earth. These prophecies spoke of a Messiah who would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), from the lineage of David (Jeremiah 23:5), and would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6).

Jesus, as the fulfillment of these prophecies, perfectly embodied the long-awaited Messiah. His birth in Bethlehem, as prophesied in Micah 5:2, was not a mere coincidence but a divine fulfillment. His life was marked by the fulfillment of various prophecies, such as his ministry in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2) and his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). Even his death and resurrection were precisely in line with the prophetic words spoken centuries before his coming (Psalm 22:16-18, Isaiah 53:5-12).

One powerful example of Jesus fulfilling prophecy is found in the book of Isaiah. In Isaiah 53, the prophet describes a suffering servant who would bear the sins of humanity. This servant would be pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, and by his wounds, we would be healed. These words perfectly depict Jesus’ crucifixion and the purpose behind it. As it says in Matthew 8:17, ‘This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

Jesus’ fulfillment of these prophecies serves as a testament to his divine nature and mission. He did not simply claim to be the Messiah; he proved it through the alignment of his life with the words spoken by the prophets of old. By fulfilling these prophecies, Jesus demonstrated his authority and legitimacy in fulfilling God’s plan for salvation.

One cannot underestimate the impact of Jesus’ fulfillment of the prophecies on his teachings. His alignment with these prophetic words gave weight and authority to his teachings on the law. Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 5:17, ‘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.’ His fulfillment of the prophecies showed that he was not disregarding the law but rather bringing it to its true and intended fulfillment.

Jesus’ Teachings on the Law

One approach to understanding Jesus’ teachings on the law is to examine his interpretation and application of ancient religious texts. Jesus consistently emphasized the importance of the law while also offering a deeper understanding and application of its principles. In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus said, ‘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 tell you, 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.’

Jesus challenged the traditional interpretations and practices of the religious leaders of his time, focusing instead on the heart and intention behind the law. He called out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and scribes who followed the letter of the law but neglected justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23). Jesus taught that true righteousness comes from a transformed heart and authentic love for God and others.

To illustrate his teaching, Jesus shared the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). In this story, a man is beaten and left half-dead on the side of the road. Both a priest and a Levite, who were considered religious leaders, pass by without helping. However, a Samaritan, who was despised by the Jews, stops and shows compassion to the wounded man. Jesus used this parable to emphasize the importance of loving our neighbors as ourselves, regardless of their social status or background.

Jesus’ teachings on righteousness invited his followers to live lives characterized by compassion, humility, forgiveness, and selflessness. He taught his disciples to not only refrain from murder, but also from anger and hatred (Matthew 5:21-22). He instructed them to not only avoid adultery, but also to guard their thoughts and desires (Matthew 5:27-28). Jesus’ teachings went beyond mere adherence to external rules and rituals; he called for a genuine transformation of the heart.

This understanding of the law sets the stage for the subsequent section about the perfect sacrifice: Jesus’ atonement for sin. As Jesus said in Matthew 20:28, ‘the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ Through his sacrificial death on the cross, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law and offered forgiveness and salvation to all who believe in him. Jesus’ teachings on the law ultimately point to the need for a Savior and the grace of God in reconciling humanity to himself.

The Perfect Sacrifice: Jesus’ Atonement for Sin

An examination of Jesus’ teachings reveals the profound significance of his sacrificial death on the cross as a means of atoning for humanity’s sins. Through his redemptive work, Jesus offers salvation to all who believe in him, providing a way for humanity to be reconciled with God. This act of love and sacrifice demonstrates Jesus’ deep compassion for humanity and his desire to bring about their spiritual transformation.

One of the key aspects of Jesus’ redemption and the salvation he offers is forgiveness. The Bible teaches us that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross provides the means for the forgiveness of sins, offering a path to reconciliation with God. In Matthew 26:28, Jesus himself says, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’ Through his death, Jesus paid the price for our sins, allowing us to receive forgiveness and have our relationship with God restored.

Another aspect of Jesus’ redemption is liberation. Through his atoning death, Jesus sets humanity free from the bondage of sin and its consequences. In Romans 6:18, the apostle Paul writes, ‘You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.’ Jesus’ sacrifice enables us to live a new life in righteousness, free from the chains of sin that once bound us. This liberation is not just a temporary freedom, but an eternal one, as Jesus promises in John 8:36, ‘So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’

Furthermore, Jesus’ redemption brings about the restoration of the broken relationship between humanity and God. In 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, Paul explains, ‘All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ.’ Jesus’ sacrifice offers hope and the promise of eternal life to all who believe in him. As it is written in John 3:16, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’

In the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), Jesus illustrates the depth of God’s love and forgiveness. The prodigal son squandered his inheritance and lived a sinful life, but when he returned to his father, he was met with love, forgiveness, and restoration. This story highlights the power of Jesus’ sacrifice to restore broken relationships and offer hope to those who have strayed.

In light of Jesus’ redemptive work, he establishes a new covenant that fulfills the old law, bringing about a new way of relating to God. As Jesus himself said in Matthew 5:17, ‘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.’ Through his death and resurrection, Jesus opens the door for all who believe in him to experience the fullness of God’s love, forgiveness, and eternal life.

The Bible is filled with stories and verses that reveal the profound significance of Jesus’ sacrificial death and the salvation he offers. By studying these scriptures and reflecting on their meaning, we can come to a deeper understanding of Jesus’ redemptive work and the incredible gift of salvation that he offers to all who believe in him.

Jesus’ New Covenant: Fulfilling the Old Law

Jesus’ fulfillment of the old law comes through the establishment of a new covenant that brings about a transformed way of relating to God. This new covenant, initiated by Jesus, replaces the old covenant of the Mosaic law, as stated in Hebrews 8:13: ‘By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.’

One of the key aspects of Jesus’ new covenant is the redemption through grace. In Ephesians 2:8-9, it is written, ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.’ Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross offered forgiveness and reconciliation with God to all who believe in Him. This grace extends to everyone, regardless of their adherence to a set of rules and regulations.

To further understand the transformative power of grace, let’s look at the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus, accusing her of committing adultery, which was punishable by stoning according to the Mosaic law. They wanted to test Jesus and see if He would uphold the law. Instead, Jesus responded with grace and compassion. He said to the accusers, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ One by one, the accusers left, realizing their own imperfections. Jesus then told the woman, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.’ Through this story, we see that Jesus extends grace to the woman, offering her forgiveness and a chance to start anew.

In the new covenant, grace is not simply a means to avoid the consequences of breaking the law. It is a transformative force that empowers individuals to live in accordance with the law’s true purpose and intent. As Romans 6:14 states, ‘For sin shall no longer be your master because you are not under the law, but under grace.’ Grace enables believers to experience a deeper and more intimate relationship with God, as they are no longer bound by the strict adherence to the old law.

The Role of Grace in Fulfilling the Law

The role of grace in the fulfillment of the law is clearly emphasized in the Holy Bible. In Ephesians 2:8-9, it is written, ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.’ This verse highlights the fact that grace is a gift freely given by God, not something that can be earned through our own actions.

One of the most powerful stories that illustrates the transformative power of grace is the Parable of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32. In this story, a son asks his father for his share of the inheritance and squanders it in reckless living. When he realizes the error of his ways, he humbly returns to his father, who, instead of punishing him, welcomes him back with open arms and celebrates his return. This story demonstrates how God’s grace is available to us, no matter how far we have strayed or how many mistakes we have made. It is a reminder that God’s love and forgiveness are always there for us, ready to restore us to a right relationship with Him.

In Romans 3:23-24, it is written, ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.’ This verse emphasizes the importance of forgiveness in the role of grace. Through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, believers have the opportunity to receive forgiveness for their sins and be reconciled to God. This forgiveness not only brings freedom from guilt and shame, but also enables believers to extend forgiveness to others, fostering healing and reconciliation in relationships.

The transformative power of grace is fully realized when believers fully embrace the role of faith and the importance of forgiveness in their lives. Hebrews 11:1 states, ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ This verse reminds us that faith serves as the bridge that connects us to the power of God’s grace. It is through faith that we receive the gift of grace and are empowered to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Christabel Lambo

Here is the profile rewritten in the first person: My name is Christabel, and I am a passionate teacher of the faith and mother of three children. For over a decade, I have been teaching theology and counseling at a local bible school. In addition, I write and lead women's Bible studies at my church, offering practical and biblical advice on marriage, parenting, family life, and spirituality. As a mother of three busy kids myself, I understand the challenges of juggling family, work, and faith. My aim is to help other moms and wives grow deeper in their walk with God by applying theological insights to real-world situations. I draw upon my education, life experiences, and maternal wisdom to connect with women and offer encouragement through my writing. My greatest joy is being able to equip and inspire Christian women to thrive spiritually amidst the everyday busyness of life. I love digging into Scripture and finding nuggets of truth that provide guidance for the issues and questions my readers face. My prayer is that the biblical counsel I provide gives women strength and hope to embrace their calling as wives, mothers, and daughters of Christ.