The Fulfillment of the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Here, Jesus is speaking about the essentiality of upholding the eternal laws of righteousness. The universal laws on the basis of which earth and heavens are governed, are also governing the lives of human beings. So these laws are not to be manipulated, or bent in order to suit our convenience. “The Law” referred to here is the Law of the Moses – The Ten Commandments and other moral and religious precepts set forth in the Torah. Great Prophets issue proclamations of eternal truths which are changeless, creedless and universally applicable in all ages and circumstances. But with passage of time, these truths are distorted and manipulated to suit our convenience. When these pseudo religious distortions are exposed by true reformers, they are condemned by the established priestly classes. So Jesus is trying to emphasize that “I have not come to destroy the universal laws of righteousness, but to revive and fulfil them”. These eternal universal principles should never be compromised or diluted in the name of liberalisation by those who find such high spiritual standards as difficult to achieve. Rather, man should honestly acknowledge his inability or even unwillingness to follow such godly ideals.

All phenomena, whether of earth or heaven are all the manifestations emanating from the one Divine intelligence. Hence Jesus declares that even if “heaven” and “earth” dissolve into nothingness, the divine law which comes from the Divine intelligence will still stand real. He declares this when he says “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

Jesus understood that all earthly and heavenly manifestations have one purpose : to make visible the Invisible Perfection through the active expression of the divine laws of righteousness. Hence he emphasized that till the laws in all their details are fulfilled, as intended by God in His Cosmic Plan, heaven and earth will go on existing.

19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For 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. 

The ‘Kingdom of heaven’ refers to the state of Cosmic Consciousness, in which all dualities are abolished completely. While there is no essential difference among souls who have completely attained the state of Cosmic Consciousness, there are various grades of saints among those who have contacted God, but are not yet established in the final union.  While the first contact with God gives great bliss to a devotee, it does not obliterate all the effects of past actions. With continuous experience of God’s contact, the stored up effects of past actions are gradually burnt out. The degree of purification the saint has undergone, is a measure of his greatness.

While the foremost in the kingdom of God, automatically obeys the greatest and the least laws of the divine, the lesser- than- perfect ones may digress slightly from the divine laws, and hence are regarded as “lesser”, according to the standards of God-known souls. The greatest among the saints not only preach but also demonstrate by example, the highest and the least of the Divine laws. 

Jesus knew that the Pharisees and scribes, even though they spoke a great deal about holy scriptures, their righteousness was only skin deep, and they lacked inner realisation of the underlying truth. Thinking of truth is good, if it increases the desire to follow the laws of truth. However, thinking and talking of truth, but neglecting to apply it to one’s actions and behaviour amounts to hypocrisy. Therefore, it is of utmost necessity to practice truth in one’s life. 

The explanations have been based on my reading Sri Sri Paramhansa Yogananda’s book “The Second Coming of Christ”.

Please forgive me for any mistakes, and please feel free to correct me… This is a humble attempt to bring to you these profound teachings, with my limited understanding. 

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Divya Pai

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