What Was Jesus’ Intention?


"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. 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. 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 religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!'" - Matthew 5:17-20

Jesus was a Jew and preached to a Jewish audience. Although he was beloved by many, some of his Jewish followers were concerned that he was calling for the eradication of the Torah and the creation of an entirely new covenant in its place. This was never his intention. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reassured his disciples that despite the revolutionary content of some of his teachings, he had no intention of “abolishing the law or the prophets”.

Jesus said that "not one letter…will pass from the law until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:18). The original Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew says "not one iota". The Greek letter iota is derived from the Hebrew letter yod. Its name comes from the Hebrew word yad (יד) meaning "hand", because it is shaped like a little finger. Yod is so small that ancient scribes sometimes left it out of words to save space.

Jesus’ audience spoke Hebrew and would have immediately understood his point: the yod is the smallest - and seemingly most trivial letter - in the Hebrew alphabet. So "not one yod will pass from the law" means "not even the smallest detail will be eliminated from the Torah." - Israel Institute of Hebrew Studies

Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe who has sanctified us with His commandments; in gladness and in joy You have given us for an inheritance. Amen.
Apr 23 2018