Did Jesus Come To Fulfill The Law?
Muslims say YES.
Christians say YES.
But both have a different understanding of the verse that addresses this question.
In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says: “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.”
The keywords are “the Law”, “the Prophets” and “fulfill”
When muslims read this verse, they have in mind the laws like not eating pork, etc.
That’s a very shallow understanding of this verse. Read it again.
“I have not come to abolish the Law”. There were many laws but Jesus specifically said “the Law”.
Every Jew understood what Jesus meant. Even if you ask Jews today, they’ll tell you….
“The Law” refers to The Torah, which are the books of Moses, that is the first five books of the Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
“The Prophets” refer to the writings of all the prophets like Isaiah and others. These are the rest of the books that make up the Old Testament.
So when Jesus said that He had come to FULFILL “the Law and the Prophets”, He was saying that He was going to fulfill the entire Old Testament!
Let this truth sink in.
Now, naturally the next question one would ask is how does Jesus fulfill the entire Old Testament? What does it mean?
What does He FULFILL in the Old Testament?
The answer: He fulfills all the prophecies about Him in the Old Testament.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, “He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be FULFILLED that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44)
Did you see that?
What was written about Jesus in the Old Testament (Law of Moses, the Prophets and Psalms) that Jesus fulfilled?
Throughout the Gospels you will find the answers. Dozens of examples of how Jesus fulfilled what was written about Him in the Law and the Prophets and Psalms.
Let’s look at just a few samples in Matthew.
In chapter 1:22-23 “All this took place to FULFILL what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
2:14 “And so was FULFILLED what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
2:23 And he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was FULFILLED what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
All these are found just in the first 2 chapters of Matthew alone!
Read the New Testament and see for yourself how many Old Testament prophecies Jesus fulfilled. And there are still more prophecies yet to be fulfilled. These will be fulfilled when Jesus comes again.
This is the meaning of the word FULFILL. In the original Greek, the word used is πληρῶσαι (plērōsai), which carries the meaning: “to make full, to complete”.
Jesus came to COMPLETE the prophecies in the Old Testament regarding himself.
The mistake muslims make is to assume that FULFILL in Matthew 5:17 just means OBEY. It means that but it also means much more than just obey.
If OBEY was meant in this verse, the Greek word used would be hupakouó: which means “to listen, attend to”.
Do we, then, abolish the Law by this faith? Of course not! Instead, we uphold the Law. (Romans 3:31)