Matthew 5:17-18 “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. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
When it comes to thinking about why Jesus came into the world; why he was born; why God decided to become incarnate, we can’t afford to ignore the reasons he directly gives.
This text is one of those examples. Jesus gives a reason for his coming by highlighting what he didn’t come for to begin with. What he didn’t come to do was to abolish the law and the prophets, but on the contrary, he came to fulfil them!
What does he mean? When he speaks of the law and the prophets he speaks of the first or old covenant that God established with the people of Israel. Now we know that the old covenant was in fact replaced with a new one, because the old one was obsolete. Jesus inaugurated that new covenant (see the 14th advent thought), so we may all be forgiven for thinking that Jesus did abolish the law and the prophets.
That would be a mistake; Jesus can’t contradict himself! The old covenant fails to produce in terms of what people need the most – a relationship with God that can’t be broken. The old covenant is reliant on perfect performance by both parties, and the people involved in that covenant, like all people, constantly fell short. However, the old covenant is not a failure when it comes to fulfilling its purpose. The reason is, it was never God’s purpose to use the old covenant to accomplish that unbreakable relationship, it was his intention to use it to highlight the fact that people need God’s grace to establish a permenant relationship with him; their own efforts simply can’t do it!
Jesus didn’t come to abolish that purpose, he came to fulfil the end that the old covenant was purposed to highlight. That’s the point of Jesus’ coming in the first place. He came to establish the new covenant which graciously adopts people into relationship with God, not on the basis of what they have done, but on the basis of what he has done, perfectly and forever!
Jesus’ birth spells the beginning of the end of the 1500 year lesson in how we can’t save ourselves and the inauguration of the substance that can and will save people. Christmas represents the beginning of the solution to mankind’s most pressing problem!