What Covenant was Jesus born under? Part 1
The scripture leaves not doubt as to the answer to this question.
“When the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, BORN UNDER THE LAW, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship (Gal. 4: 4-5).
So Jesus was born under the law, grew up under the law, lived under the law, ministered under the law, and died under the the Old Covenant.
In some Bibles the words of Jesus are printed in red, and most people are taught that they are for New Covenant people and that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are New Covenant books. But, is that the case? Many people get upset with such a suggestion, They maintain that “we have not seen Jesus with our own eyes, not heard His voice with our own ears, not felt his touch, but we have His words in red and now you are saying that it was more for Old Covenant people.”
The fact that Jesus words were more for Old Covenant people does not mean that New Covenant people should not read and heed them by applying them to their life in living...assuming that they have studied them diligently and accurately, in their historical and contextual setting. It is established that Jesus' teaching was under the Old Covenant therefore, His words must be interpreted with respect to that truth before they are applied to the lives of people under the New Covenant context.
Probably one of the most recognized teaching of Jesus is what is known as the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew chapters 5 and 7. Many post-cross people take the teaching to be for them, but are they right, what is happening here?
John the Baptist was preaching “Repent for the kingdom of God has come near” (Matthew 3:2). What would the average Jewish person listening to this teaching hear and understand? He/she would have danced for joy. God was about to fulfill His promises. “Repent” do an about face “turn around” be faithful to the Old Covenant. The curse will be removed.
After centuries of oppression wars, revolutions, and domination by foreign people, the phrase “the kingdom” was taken to mean primarily a political meaning. The kingdom would be ushered in when God sent His messiah, a political leader,a freedom fighter to set the Jewish people their oppressors. He would lead a national war to gain them from independence from Roman control and set himself up as their king.
With that kind of Jewish thinking, Jesus took up the message that John the Baptist started preaching, “repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near (Matthew 4:17). The Sermon on the Mount was Jesus’ teaching to correct the misconceptions attached to the kingdom of heaven and redefining it according to the truth as to what the kingdom of heave was. Jesus knowing that He was moving towards the cross, he prepared the people to receive that message of salvation by grace through Him.
This teaching of Christ, when compared to what they though it was, confused and frustrated the people as to the meaning of the kingdom. On the other hand, it showed the real reason for the Law of Moses. Early in His teaching Jesus proclaims the key point: “I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20).
If that confused them, He goes on to add to their confusion by saying that being angry with your brother in your heart is as bad as murder...lusting in your heart after a woman is as bad as adultery...Give up the eye for an eye and instead love your enemies. He then says something that is mind blowing, Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (5:48). Wow, now that is something to live up to!
In order to understand the red letter words of Jesus, we have to ask, What do the red letter words mean? What was Jesus’ purpose in saying them? If you were to read them in their historical and contextual setting, I believe the answer is clear: Jesus, though focusing on the Law...goes far beyond its literal surface meaning. He is revealing the spirit of the law.
This perfection that He called for was not attainable through the keeping of the law, Jesus was beginning to tell them a way in which its perfection was attainable.