Over the summer we parted with our highly problematic and fully paid for SUV and went back into the place known as Minivan land. Rather than battling with the problems of a used vehicle, we bit the bullet and bought new (after much negotiation and playing the car sales game by yours truly). Buying a new vehicle means lots of paperwork and lots of fine print. It also means you sign a contract to pay for said vehicle (can you believe dealerships actually want money?). While this is not our preferred way, it was the best way given the circumstances. But now we have a contract, with all its fine print, that we must fulfill (as quickly as possible is our desire!). If we do our end and complete, or fulfill our contractual obligations, the vehicle title will be mailed to us and the van will be completely ours. If we fail to do so, then the fine print says that action could be taken against us and our citizenship in Minivan land that we enjoy could be taken away!
Contracts are a part of life. I have one for my role as a coach even. I also enter into non-written, verbal contracts with my players to motivate them. One is, “if you take a legitimate charge during a game, I will buy you a dairy queen blizzard of your choosing”. This agreement exists because taking a charge is a difficult thing to do. To accomplish it, you must, as a defender, stand still while an opposing player runs you over on their way to the basket! We’ve had five games (all wins!) but I have yet to buy a DQ blizzard. They aren’t fulfilling their side so they don’t get the prize!
As we continue working our way through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shifts His disciples’ attention from being salt and light to speaking about a holy contract and its fulfillment.
The Old Testament Law (read Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy) contains the Covenant between God and His people (the people of Israel). A covenant is like a contract, a holy one, a holy ‘promise-based’ one. If you read the last portion of Deuteronomy you will find that God promises to abundantly bless those who “choose life” by “choosing God” and fulfill the commandments. At the same point, God promises that those who violate the holy contract will lose life, they will “choose death”, and instead of blessing, they will experience a cursed existence.
Yet herein lies the problem. They can’t do it. They say “oh yes! We will fulfill it all!”, but they fail again and again and again. Their sinful desires, their broken natures, win every time. So, rather than receiving blessing, they live in brokenness, generation after generation.
So what is Jesus going to do about it?
He begins by saying He is not going to get rid of the Holy promise, the holy contract is not revoked.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them…..Matthew 5:17 NIV
Jesus isn’t interested in throwing out the old promise God made. Why would He be? The things God asked (commanded) His people to do were life-giving things! And the things God said not to do were death-bringing things!
But for thousands of years, people have failed to come close to accomplishing it. So is Jesus gonna give them a pep talk and say “try harder guys, you can do it!”??? Nope! Then what?
Let’s finish the sentence…
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.Matthew 5:17 NIV
When my contract is paid, Minivan land is all ours. When a player takes a charge, the blizzard of their choice will be given.
If someone paid what I owed on the van in my place, the van would be ours, right?
The Law is a beautiful promise, but one that we cannot fulfill because we are broken, spiritually shipwrecked, people. But hallelujah! Jesus has come to fulfill it on our behalf.
And if He does so, what do we get?