The Profession of Faith
Jesus fulfills the Law to the point of taking upon himself
“the curse of the Law” incurred by those who do not “abide by the
things written in the book of the Law, and do them,” for his death
took place to redeem them “from the transgressions under the first
The Jewish people and their spiritual leaders viewed Jesus as a
He often argued within the framework of rabbinical interpreta-
tion of the Law.
Yet Jesus could not help but offend the teachers of the
Law, for he was not content to propose his interpretation alongside theirs
but taught the people “as one who had authority, and not as their
In Jesus, the same Word of God, that had resounded onMount
Sinai to give the written Law to Moses, made itself heard anew on the
Mount of the Beatitudes.
Jesus did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it
by giving its ultimate interpretation in a divine way: “You have heard that
it was said to the men of old . . . . But I say to you. . . .”
With this same
divine authority, he disavowed certain human traditions of the Pharisees
that were “making void the word of God.”
Going even further, Jesus perfects the dietary law, so impor
tant in Jewish daily life, by revealing its pedagogical meaning through
a divine interpretation: “Whatever goes into a man from outside cannot
defile him . . . (Thus he declared all foods clean.). What comes out of a
man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man,
come evil thoughts. . . .”
In presenting with divine authority the
definitive interpretation of the Law, Jesus found himself confronted by
certain teachers of the Law who did not accept his interpretation of the
Law, guaranteed though it was by the divine signs that accompanied
This was the case especially with the sabbath laws, for he recalls
often with rabbinical arguments, that the sabbath rest is not violated by
serving God and neighbor,
which his own healings did.
Like the prophets before him Jesus expressed the deepest
respect for the Temple in Jerusalem. It was in the Temple that
Joseph and Mary presented him forty days after his birth.
age of twelve he decided to remain in the Temple to remind his
7:13; cf. 3:8.
5:36; 10:25, 37-38; 12:37.