Sermon: Christ and the Scriptures
Scripture: Matthew 5:17-20
In this week’s lessons, we see what Jesus’ view of Scripture was and how he used it in his ministry.
Theme: Christ’s Use of Scripture
Furthermore, Jesus went on to teach that not only is Scripture absolute, and not only is every part of it absolute, but that he had come to fulfill it. This means that Scripture finds its fullest meaning in him. It is by him, for him, and about him—and it is an enigma unless the one who reads it sees the Lord Jesus Christ at its core.
We must remember that Jesus Christ was the author of Scripture during the Old Testament period, that subsequent to that he was the one who came and lived on earth to fulfill it, and then that he inspired the New Testament writers to interpret correctly the things that he had already done. If you have ever studied to be a teacher, you will know that one of the first things they tell you is that if you want to make your point clear you first have to tell your students what you are going to say, then you have to say it, and finally you have to tell them what you have said. This is what Jesus Christ did. He foretold his coming; he came; and then he told men about it. Thus, Scripture from beginning to end is of him.
All of these principles are illustrated by Christ’s own handling of the Bible and of particular scriptural texts. For instance, just one chapter earlier in the Gospel of Matthew, in chapter four, Jesus defeated Satan on the occasion of his temptation by the use of three direct quotations from the book of Deuteronomy. Jesus had gone into the wilderness to be tempted as a man by the devil. Satan came to him and basically said, “Look, you don’t want to defeat me as a man; why don’t you fight temptation by using your divine powers. Strengthen yourself supernaturally by commanding that these stone become bread.” However, Jesus replied in effect, “No, I will defeat you as a man by depending on Scripture; for it is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’” (Deut. 8:3).
Satan said, “All right then, if you want to use Scripture, we’ll do it that way. I am a Bible student myself, and in that capacity I would like to remind you of Psalm 91:11-12. It says, ‘For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.’ Why don’t you trust to that promise by throwing yourself from the temple, and when God does bear you up you will have provided a supernatural defense of your religious claims.” Jesus answered that temptation by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, “Thou shalt not put the Lord thy God to the test.”
By this time Satan was on the defensive in the battle with Christ, and he became entirely open in his bid for Christ’s approval. He said, “All right, I know that you are able to win this struggle and that you will win it. But I can order things so you will not have to die on the cross to rescue this world for your purpose. The world has been entrusted to me temporarily at least, as you yourself recognized when you call me the prince of this world. I will give it all to you now if only you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus replied with a final devastating sword thrust from God’s Word: “It is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve’” (Deut. 6:13). In the greatest spiritual battle of Christ’s life, in a direct encounter with the devil, victory was won by a direct quotation of three verses from the heart of the Old Testament law.
What does it mean to say that Jesus came to fulfill Scripture?
What were Satan’s temptations, and how did Jesus overcome them?
Application: How does Satan tempt you? What Scripture texts ought to be used to resist him?