Series 2, Lecture 6: Matthew 5:18 — Christ’s Hyperbole or Christ’s Indicative (Take two)

Lecture 6 considers the words of Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount and specifically Matthew 5:18. Jesus’ teaching methods were simple; his lessons straight forward and easy for the common man to grasp. This simplicity corresponds with his “ordinary” or “intuitive” approach to the Scripture, a hermeneutic that resonated with the Jewish believers. His words and the Old Testament complemented one and other in that their subject and object was Jesus. The Old Testament was not an obstacle to the Jews that required Pharisaical comment to understand but was simply the message of Jesus written hundreds of years before. Nowhere in the Scripture does the message of Jesus cause doubt or question the cohesive relationship between the Scripture and Himself. Rather, as part of His Messianic ministry Jesus speaks of the authority and preservation of the text as a witness to who He is. Did those on the mount believe Jesus was exaggerating for effect, didn’t really mean jot and tittle, and was utilizing a common literary device, oriental hyperbole — or was he promising the preservation of the smallest elements of the Scripture thereby assuring the preservation of the Law?

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