Week 3 – Jesus and the Bible
Read: Matthew 5:17-20 and your notes from Sunday morning’s sermon.
Intro: Jesus now speaks about the scripture and his attitude towards it. First of all, the Law He is referring to are the books of the Bible from Genesis through Deuteronomy. The prophets are referring to the books from Joshua to Malachi. So Jesus is referring to all of scripture here.
Regarding the Law, the Jews in this day picked out all 613 commandments contained in the scriptures and tried to follow them exactly. Jesus had an issue with this way of living and will go on to point this out later in Matthew, so it’s important that he prefaces that here by letting his followers know that it’s not the Law that He has an issue with. (Later we will find out that it’s the people making the Law their religion that He has an issue with.) Jesus lets everyone know that he has not come to get rid of the Law, or even contradict it.
But Jesus refers to all of scripture up until this point in time, (The Law and the Prophets) so he is telling them that not only is the Law valid, but he also has no intention of getting rid of any other part of the Bible either. He will go on to reference and mention the scriptures throughout His ministry.
Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. All of scripture up until this point leads to Jesus’s ministry, as well as His death and Resurrection. He lived in obedience to the Law but also in a relationship with the Father. He is the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets.
- Why might someone think that Jesus came to abolish the Law?
- What is Jesus’ attitude toward the Old Testament? How does this differ from popular Christian culture’s view of the Old Testament?
- Matthew 5:20 says: “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
- In light of Jesus being the fulfillment of the Law, what do you think this verse truly means for us, His followers? Can an imperfect person ever fulfill the Law? (If so, why did Jesus come to fulfill it if we already could on our own? – This part is rhetorical to get you thinking!)
Feel free to discuss or ask additional questions as they arise
Spiritual Practice: Prayer Week 3 – Learning to Pray – part 1
So now that we have a better understanding of the power of prayer, let’s talk about how we should pray. In the Bible, there are plenty of examples. Luke 11:1 says: “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”” So Jesus’ disciples didn’t just go on praying how they always had, they asked to be taught how to pray. They understood that in order for their prayer to be effective and make a difference, they needed to pray as Jesus did. So prayer involves a learning curve! It’s okay to not know exactly how to pray, and it’s okay to change the way you pray based on what you learn from Jesus. Once we understand that it’s okay to try a different way of praying, we can be free to pray like the disciples and others from the Bible did. When people in the Bible pray, they are so in tune with God and His Will that they don’t say at the end of their prayers: “…if it is your will.” They are already aware of what His will is before they ask Him to act. And they pray with an expectation, knowing that what they ask will be done. The disciples often commanded people to be well, or to stand, or to walk with their prayers. They didn’t hope it would happen, they KNEW it would happen. Next week we will learn more about HOW to pray. This week, take some time to read some prayers from the Bible and think about how these prayers differ from how you pray.
- Exodus 33:12
- 1 Samuel 2:1-10
- Daniel 6:10
- Daniel 9:15-19
Closing verse: John 15:7: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.