Jesus and the law

The Mosaic Law was the highest authority for Israel. Its observance and fulfilment were considered the key to the relationship between mankind and God. Jesus did not repeal the law, however, He made it clear that He possesses a higher authority and that He is Lord over the law.


In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus took position on the law in the presence of His disciples and the people. In the so-called antitheses ("You have heard that it was said "but I say to you ...")–by way of which He clarified the law and led His listeners to the proper understanding of the will of God upon which it was based–He introduced Himself as the only one entitled to interpret the law with authority.


By exposing the core of the Mosaic Law, He made it clear that the law–like the entire old covenant–referred to Him, and that He had come to fulfil it. Through His obedience He countered the disobedience of the first human beings. With His perfect fulfilment of the law, He ended the unrestricted rule of sin over mankind.