What does it mean that Jesus fulfilled the Law?

by Matt Slick

Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill," (Matt. 5:17).  So, first, we can see that Jesus did not come to get rid the Law or make it invalid.  Instead, he came to fulfill the true meaning and purpose of what the Law was about. Where the Law said do not lie, do not steal, do not commit adultery (Exodus 20:1-17), etc., Jesus obeyed the moral law perfectly. He never sinned (1 Peter 2:22).  Where the Law talked about sacrifices and requirement of shedding of blood for forgiveness of sins, Jesus was the high priest (Hebrews 3:1; 4:14; 5:10; 6:20) who shed his own blood for the forgiveness of our sins (Hebrews 9:12, 14; 10:10, 19; 13:12, 20).  Where the Law talked about the coming Messiah, Jesus was that Messiah, the one born of the virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18, 25), who is the seed of Abraham (Genesis 22:18; Matthew 1:1), who was to be a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:18; Matthew 21:11), a priest (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:5-6), who was crucified (Psalm 22:1, 11-18; Luke 23:33), and rose from the dead (Psalm 16:10; John 2:19-31; Matthew 28:6-7; Luke 24:6).

Jesus said in John 5:39, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me."  The Old Testament Scriptures were about Jesus who came to fulfill all the prophecies and requirements that the Old Testament law stipulated that was necessary for him to be the Messiah as well as to live that Law perfectly, something only he could do because he is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14; Colossians 2:9).

Furthermore, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament Law in its representation of him via typology.  Consider the following table that shows the relationship between Isaac and Jesus. The Old Testament Isaac was a type of Christ.

"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am," (John 8:56-58).

Only begotten Son Genesis 22:2 John 3:16
Offered on a mountain, hill Genesis 22:2 Matt. 21:10
Took donkey to place of sacrifice Genesis 22:3 Matt. 21:2-11
Two men went with him. Genesis 22:3 Mark 15:27; Luke 23:33
Three day journey. Jesus: three days in the grave Genesis 22:4 Luke 24:13-21
Son carried wood on his back up hill Genesis 22:6 John 19:17
God will provide for Himself the lamb Genesis 22:8 John 1:29
Son was offered on the wood Genesis 22:9 Luke 23:33
Ram in thicket of thorns Genesis 22:13 John 19:2
The seed will be multiplied Genesis 22:17 John 1:12; Isaiah 53:10
Abraham went down, Son didn't, "not mentioned." Genesis 22:19 Luke 23:46
Servant gets bride for son Genesis 24:1-4 Eph. 5:22-32; Rev. 21:2,9; 22:17
The bride was a beautiful virgin Genesis 24:16 2 Cor. 11:2
Servant offered ten gifts to bride Genesis 24:10 Rom. 6:23; 12; 1 Cor. 12:4-31

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.