Read John 5:45-47. What powerful message does Jesus give us here about His relationship to the Bible?
Some people claim that when Jesus spoke He put His words in stark contrast to the words of Scripture, as we find them in the Old Testament. They say that the words of Jesus are even elevated above the words of Scripture.
In the New Testament, we read that Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said … but I say to you … ” (Matt. 5:43-44; compare with Matt. 5:21-22, Matt. 5:27-28, Matt. 5:33-34,Matt. 5:38-39). When Jesus said these famous words in the Sermon on the Mount, He was not trying to abandon or abolish the Old Testament, as some interpreters claim. Instead, He responded to various interpretations of Scripture and to oral traditions that were used by some interpreters of His day to justify behavior toward other people that God did not condone and never commanded, like hating your enemy (see Matt. 5:43).
Jesus did not abolish the Old Testament in any way or in any degree lessen its authority. The opposite is true. It was the Old Testament that, indeed, proves who He is. Instead, He intensified the meaning of the Old Testament statements by pointing us to God’s original intentions.
To use Jesus’ authority to disqualify Holy Scripture or to denigrate some parts of the Bible as uninspired is perhaps one of the subtlest, and yet most dangerous, criticisms of Scripture, because it is done in the very name of Jesus. We have Jesus’ example of how much authority He gave to the Scriptures, which, in His day, consisted of the Old Testament only. What more evidence do we need about how we should view the Old Testament, as well?
Far from weakening the authority of Scripture, Jesus consistently upheld Scripture as a reliable and trustworthy guide. In fact, He unambiguously states in the very same Sermon on the Mount: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17, NASB). And He continues to say that whoever “annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19, NASB).
|What are some of the key doctrines that, to this day, find their grounding in the Old Testament? Think, for example, of Creation (Genesis chapters 1-2) and the Fall (Genesis chapter 3). What other crucial Christian truths do we find in the Old Testament that are later amplified in the New Testament?|