Jesus’ View on Laws, Prophets, Psalms

INTRODUCTION/KEY EXEGETICAL POINTS

            There are misunderstandings among Christians and Judaisers regarding statement made by Jesus about the laws and prophets in the Old Testament. Due to this misconception, some have come to say that Jesus indeed annulled the Old Testament Law. Jesus did not actually annul the Law as some have said, but he came to fulfill it according to Matthew 5:17. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophet. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17 ([NIV]). This is a mistake both Christianity and Judaism make about the teachings of Jesus Christ. Both hold the erroneous view that Jesus departed from the teachings of the Old Testament, especially with regard to the law.

         In this exegetical approach to how Jesus views the Old Testament scriptures, there are parallel scriptures listed in the Old Testament which spoke concerning Jesus and were eventually fulfilled in the New Testament. In this study paper, the visit of Magi in Matt. 2:1-6 during the birth of Jesus prophesied by Micah, the deity and humanity of Jesus recorded in Matt. 22:44-46 prophesied in Psalm 110:11, the controversy concerning the contemporary of Elijah argued by the Pharisees and his disciples prophesied in Mal. 4:5-6, the parable of Jesus regarding the tenants in Matt. 21:33-44 referenced in Acts 3:17-18; 4:11-12 prophesied in Psalm 118:22-23 will be discussed in this study paper taking into account some theological issues and applications.

         According to the scripture recorded in Matt. 2:1-6, when Jesus was born, Magi from the east saw the star and eventually sought inquiry regarding this star because someone great is being born; therefore, they set out to meet the baby who was wrapped in cloth and placed in the manger. God in time past predetermined and pre-engineered for this to happen; therefore, he spoke through Micah, the prophet. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” This statement does not dictate Jesus’ view about the Old Testament, but it gives the prophetic views about the birth of Jesus.

         Jesus questioned the Pharisees concerning his identity in Matt. 22:41-46. They emphatically answered and said he was the son of David. Jesus commented and said how will Christ be called his son if David himself calls him Lord? He asked them this question because they have refused to recognize Jesus as the Son of God. If David himself calls him Lord as recorded in Psalm 110:1, it is the validity that Jesus is God. “The Lord says to my Lord; sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” Jesus’ view of this scripture indicates that the Old Testament validates his deity.

         In Matt. 17:10-13, Jesus explained to his disciples that John the Baptist is Elijah whom the Old Testament talked who will to be forerunner to prepare the way for the Savior. Malachi prophesied about the Prophet Elijah who would come to fulfill this. “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”(Mal. 4:4-5[NIV]). Indeed John the Baptist was the Elijah whom the prophet Malachi talked about. Jesus recognized the Old Testament as being authoritative and authentic. This affirms his statement recorded in Matt. 5:17 regarding the abrogation of the law as some had thought due to misconceptions.

         He finally concludes in Matt. 21:33-44 affirming that his death was prophesied in Psalm 118:22-23 using the parable of the tenants.

            “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place.When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone the builder rejected has become the cornerstone, the Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Jesus quoted these scriptures to confirm the prophecy in Psalm 118:22-23 regarding the stone that the builder rejected. He Jesus is the stone whom the Jews rejected and he has become the Savior of all mankind. In conclusion, Jesus’ view of the Old Testament scripture was not to abrogate it, but his was to ratify it as to prove its authenticity and inerrancy in scope.

THEOLOGICAL ISSUES

            The Pharisees had consistently denied that Jesus was the Son of God; as the result, he was declared blasphemous and heretic. His questioning of the Pharisees regarding his deity and humanity is theological in nature. Between the 14th and 16th century during the reign of Constantine, the emperor of Roman, this was a theological confrontation which existed as the result of the ideologies of Arus called the Arian Controversy. This controversy led to the meeting held in Constantinople to decide and conclude the finality of the outcome of this teaching propagated by Arus and his group regarding the Trinity. At the end of this meeting, it was concluded that indeed Jesus is both human and God in the flesh. The issue of whether Jesus is God or not is proven in the scripture discussed in this paper. If David calls him Lord and the Pharisees confirmed that he is the Son of David, then, Jesus is indeed both God and Man. He is God as the result of his virgin birth and he is man because he was born through a woman. If the Pharisees confirmed his humanity and David confirmed his deity because David was speaking by the Lord’s voice, which means Jesus existed before he was born into this world. If he existed, then he pre-existed. This explains to us his infinite nature which validates his eternality as being God who has no beginning and ending.

THEOLOGICAL APPLICATION

            If Jesus is God, then mankind can be saved through him according to scripture. We have a living hope that the hopeless, weary, frustrated, and sick can go to for hope, strength, counsel, and healing. He is the source of our enablement, salvation, and restoration.