Today, we pick up our study in Matthew 4:23- 5:1 and see how Jesus did not come to fulfill the Law and how that he was following a precedent that all kings of Israel were commanded to follow.
The Gospel of the Kingdom
vv.23-25 Some make a distinction between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God. Initially, Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven while he was in Galilee. When he was rejected, he began to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God. The gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven concerns this physical life and the reestablishment of the Davidic throne upon which the Messiah will sit. The gospel of the Kingdom of God concerns the spiritual life and the righteousness through faith in the risen Savior who will return to Earth someday and set up the Kingdom of Heaven. John the Baptist and Jesus initially came teaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven in hopes that Christ would be received as the Messiah.
When this message was rejected, the Kingdom of Heaven was no longer taught, but the Kingdom of God. Luke 19:42 “Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” Others will argue that the words are merely interchangeable in the context and there is no difference between the two.
The Healing Ministry of Jesus
We also see in these verses that Jesus had already begun his healing ministry. We need to understand that the purpose of the healings was certainly that he loved the people, but it also served to confirm that he was indeed their long awaited Messiah. John 5:36 “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” Jesus, and the later the apostles, also used the gift of healings as a means of not only proofing that they were indeed sent from God, but also as a means to draw a crowd for the deliverance of the gospel.
The Law of the Kingdom
Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: Some today have wrongly called this section of Scripture, “The Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes.” They are neither. It is no sermon at all; instead it is a giving of the law by the new King. It should be called “The Law of the Kingdom”. In chapters 5-7, Jesus is giving the Law of his kingdom. If you study the Old Testament, all kings were defined, good or bad, by their relationship to the Law. A good king, kept the Law of his own Kingdom (cf. Deut 17:14-20).
The First King
Speaking of kings, “Who was Israel’s first king” (cf. Deut 33:1-5)? So, just as Moses gave the Law, and every king thereafter reiterated that Law, so Jesus is doing the same. However, Jesus is going a little further and expanding upon it a little bit.