“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.”
This is what Moses prophesied to the Israelites after he stayed on the mountain for 40 days and forty nights and the Lord wrote on the stone tablets a second time. True enough, God did raise up a prophet from among the Jews. Jesus is the new Moses. Just as Moses went up the mountain to receive the 10 Commandments from the Father, Jesus goes up the mountain to teach the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). This is what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 12:1: “These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you to possess—as long as you live in the land.” These long narratives in the Torah make it clear how God wanted His people to act, to relate to Him and each other. He wanted to set His creation right again. God’s laws were given to His people in the context of a covenant relationship.
From the very start of Jesus’ life, we see uncanny parallels with the early years of Moses. Just as the baby Moses was endangered by the edict of Pharaoh, so too was Jesus’ life endangered by King Herod who ordered the slaughter of children in Bethlehem from the age of two or younger (Matthew 2:16-18). Jesus’ parents brought him to Egypt, then returned to Galilee when it was safe. Moses fled to Midian and returned back to Egypt to liberate the Hebrews from slavery. Like Moses, Jesus sets people free in His new covenant which liberates us from sin and death.
“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,” Jesus tells the crowd up on the mountain, after He taught them the Beatitudes. “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. 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.” (Matthew 5:17-19)
In conclusion, He said, “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.” How will our righteousness surpass the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. I believe the answer lies not in following all the laws in the Torah, but in living a radical life of compassion and love.