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Women World Leaders' Podcast

Sep 27, 2023

The Law requires strict adherence to attain perfect righteousness. Thankfully, it isn’t up to us to fulfill the law. Learn from Jesus' words as we study Matthew 5:17-20.


Welcome to Walking in the Word, the biblical teaching arm of the Women World Leaders podcast. I'm your host, Julie Jenkins. And I'm so glad that you are joining us today.

It is September as I record this, and the days of Summer 2023 are behind us. It’s hard to believe that soon we will be looking at a new year – 2024. This has been an exciting year for Women World Leaders. We are about to reach episode 500 of our podcast, the publication of Voice of Truth magazine will complete its 3rd year in December, and we have a NEW book launch THIS week! Keep your eyes open on social media and your email to get more information.

If you don’t get our emails and would like to, please visit and fill out our contact form so we can keep you up to date on all the happenings of the ministry. One of the happenings we are so excited about is that we are currently planning our fall event, Ignite Your Purpose—which will occur on October 14th in West Palm Beach, FL. This will be a morning of worship, prayer, biblical teaching, empowerment, and fellowship. We would love for you to join us – but be aware that tickets are going fast! So hop on the website,, now to order yours.

Each Wednesday on this podcast we have the privilege of walking through the Word together. We are currently walking through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and, in this season, we are revisiting Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount. Today, we will be examining what Jesus said about the law in Matthew chapter five verses 17 through 20.

Before we begin let's pray.

Dear Heavenly Father, we love you so much. We honor praise and thank you today for who you are. You are a good father. You are love, joy, peace, wisdom and strength. God, you never give up on us sometimes teaching us again and again. What it is you long for us to know. God, I ask that you open our minds today to your teaching help us understand on a deeper level. These words that Your Son Jesus spoke so many years ago. I thank you for recording those words in the Bible, and allowing us to come back to them today. Guide us as we study. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.

As we begin, just a reminder of where we are, Jesus is primarily teaching his disciples. It's part of their personal training, if you will.

Matthew 5:1 tells us that Jesus sat as he taught, which indicates that this was intended as an intimate teaching, as they gathered on the side of the mountain. But we can surmise that there were others listening in as well.

Have you ever been asked to leave the room, maybe as a child, so your parents could discuss something among the grownups? Or maybe a boss has asked you to leave the room so other higher-ups could discuss your position. Or maybe you've entered a room, and the conversation just seemed to stop, indicating that you were not welcome. You are not welcome to know what the discussion had been.

It's not a good feeling to be left out, isolated, and wondering what you are missing. I want to tell you clearly, Jesus will never leave you out. He welcomes you for every discussion, conversation, activity, and even blessing. I remember arriving at our church one Sunday to be told that I couldn't sit near the front. Because that Sunday, the front rows were reserved for someone important. In God's eyes, there is no one more important than you. When we all bow down and worship God together in heaven, you will be in the front row. Don't ask me how this can be. Our humanity tells us that only some privileged people get sit in the front. I don't understand it. But God looks at each one of us. God looks at you, and sees his most precious child of all. You are the apple of his eye. Whenever you want to hear Him, you can go to Him. Whenever you want to ask him a question, you can ask. God will always have time for every one of your questions, concerns, needs, and even desires.

Jesus may have been teaching the disciples that day. But he was teaching anyone who wanted to listen. And that includes us right now, as Jesus spoke the words that I'm about to read from Matthew 5, verses 17 through 20. He had you on his mind. There is something here that he wanted you to know today.

From the New Living Translation, Matthew 517 Records Jesus is saying,

“Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”

The Pharisees thought and taught that Jesus was attempting to destroy the teachings that had governed the Jewish people. The Law of Moses refers to the first five books of the Old Testament otherwise known as the Pentateuch. And the writings of the prophets includes the major and minor prophets as well as the historical books of the Old Testament.

In other words, the Pharisees believed and wanted everyone to believe that Jesus was speaking, teaching and living against the Hebrew Scriptures, in a sense, tearing them down and rendering them irrelevant. Jesus knows this and in this scripture, he addresses this fallacy head on saying, I have not come to abolish the Hebrew scriptures, but to accomplish their purpose, or as some translations say, to fulfill them.

Theologian Michael Wilkins describes the statement as “all of that the Old Testament intended to communicate about God's will and hopes for humanity, find their full meaning and accomplishment in Jesus teaching and ministry.”

And Warren Wiersbe likens Jesus fulfillment of the Old Testament to an acorn. Jesus did not come to smash the acorn to smithereens, but he came to grow that acorn into a majestic oak tree that was meant that it was meant to become. Jesus purpose was to accomplish all that the Old Testament said would be. He was the Promised Messiah, whom the Law and the Prophets pointed to.

Jesus continues in verse 18, “I tell you the truth until heaven and earth disappear. Not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.”

Each part of the law and every prophecy given by God's chosen prophets had a purpose. And in Jesus, that purpose was fulfilled. Jesus was born and raised in the Jewish tradition, tending to every Jewish ritual. He fulfilled the law completely as no one else could before or since, living a sinless life. In his teaching, he taught the true meaning of God's Word, as God intended, not as the tainted version that the Pharisees spun.

And of course, though, unknown at the time of the speaking, Jesus fulfilled the law in his death, and resurrection. We still study the Old Testament, God's law and we should, but we should study it with the understanding that in Jesus, it is fulfilled. Scholars will tell you there are three categories of the Jewish law. The ceremonial law had to do specifically with how God instructed the Israelites to worship, through sacrifice and offering. Each part of the ceremonial law was specifically crafted by God, to point the worshipers to Jesus Himself. We are not held to this part of the law because, as Jesus stated, even the smallest detail has been fulfilled. Some versions call this detail the smallest stroke of the pen. The actual translation is the word tittle, ti t t le. A Jewish tittle is what you and I would call a serif, a small projection on the top or the bottom of a letter, which in Hebrew, differentiates one letter from another.

You could spend hours every day for years of your life studying the Old Testament, and never fully comprehend the depth of prophecy that the Jewish law held, as it pointed to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In fact, many have set out to disprove that Jesus was the Son of God by studying the prophetic law, only to come away knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was exactly who he said he was.

The second category of Jewish law was the civil law and this applied to daily living, because our world and culture are so different now, these no longer apply to us. But again, each tittle prepared the people for what was to come.

Finally, the third category of Jewish law is the moral law. These are the direct commands from God that teach us how to relate to God, and how to relate to each other. The Moral Law of God has not and will not change. This is the core of what God wants us to know, and how He yearns for us to respond to him and to other people.

It's important to note that Jesus obey the law completely as prescribed by God in each of these three areas, even if the Pharisees didn't see it that way. And then Jesus drew the line between himself and the Pharisees, saying in verses 19 and 20. “So if you ignore the least commandment, and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But anyone who obeys God's laws and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. But I warn you, unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of the religious law and of the Pharisees. You will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

The goal of the Pharisees was To be righteous, and hear Jesus calls them out, saying that the degree to which the Pharisees are righteous will never be enough to get them into the kingdom of heaven. This should speak to all of us. It should show us even today, that no amount of studying God's Word serving in God's Church giving to a ministry or even taking care of homeless orphans is good enough to receive our ticket to heaven. In fact, the righteousness that God demands of us before we can spend eternity with Him, is impossible for us to gain. We must be perfect.

That lipstick you stole from your mom's purse when you were six. that disqualifies you. That piece of chocolate you ate in the closet and then told your kids you don't know what happened to it, disqualifies you. The anger you felt at the car in front of you in car line that wouldn't turn when it was his turn after you waited for 25 minutes in the same spot, disqualifies you.

Okay, I should say those all disqualify me. Because those are my stories. But I'm sure you have your own. So how do we gain the right righteousness? How do we become right with God? Unblemished, pure and holy enough to stand beside God for eternity? There's only one way and his name is Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross for you. For me and my stolen lipstick, that we should have the opportunity to take on his righteousness.

Our righteousness will never cut it. But Jesus’ righteousness is a shoo-in. And he offers it to each of us, no matter what shape our lives are him.

Remember that third category of the Jewish law, the moral law, the moral law concerns itself with relationship. And when you give yourself over to your relationship between you and God, when you willingly repent of your sins and ask God to show you which way to walk, by the way, his answer is always that he wants you to walk with Him—then you are cleansed, made pure, made righteous, and you are gifted the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus did not come to abolish the law. He came to fulfill the law to pay our penalty for sin that we no longer have to fear death, but can look forward to eternity with Him. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ, which Jesus ushered in as he fulfilled the law.

Let's pray.

Dear, most holy God, thank you for making a way for us to spend eternity with you. Thank you for teaching us by way of the law and then for showing us that You alone are everything we need. Jesus, I pray for anyone listening who has tried to do it on her own and has not surrendered her life to you. Put your loving arms around her reveal yourself to her today. Give her courage and strength to humbly bow before you call her to your side forever. God would give You all the praise and glory and while we do our best to walk with you every day. We look forward to the day when we are walking with you and simplicity and joy. Thank you for making that possible for each of us. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

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