Before the gospels and Pauline epistles, early church Christians related to the Old Testament as Scripture and viewed their Christian walk as the fulfillment of the promises made to Israel from the Old Testament, which foretold of the coming age of the Messiah. The first New Testament Christians understood the importance of the Old Testament; it was their “Bible” they preached from. Just as in the early church, Christians today need the Old Testament for preaching and in which to reference and understand Christ’s purpose for why he came.
Consider some of Jesus' most pertinent statements regarding the Law and the Prophets.
Jesus summarized the Law and Prophets in Matthew 22:37-40. But the Sermon on the Mount best delivers insight into the mind of Christ regarding his view on this subject. He told his audience, “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” (Matt 5:17). Jesus easily identifies his position here. From Romans 3:31, Paul validates what Jesus is saying. The fulfillment of the law is then established or fulfilled through faith in Christ Jesus. The Law means nothing if salvation and righteousness can take place from the fulfillment of an imperfect Law; therefore faith confirms the Law’s integrity.
How did Jesus view his own relationship to the Old Testament?
The Old Testament refers to Jesus Christ. Jesus himself made the claim that the old Scriptures spoke about him, which was shown in one of his first sermons in Nazareth. While there, Jesus went to the Synagogue on the Sabbath and read from Isaiah 61. Jesus told his listeners what he just read from Isaiah had been fulfilled in him (Luke 4:16-21). In another instance Jesus was talking with his disciples after his resurrection. In this dialogue he explained to them the examples that related the Scriptures [Old Testament]
Bibliography: Aldrich, Roy L. “Causes for Confusion of Law and Grace Confusion of Law and Grace.” Bibliotheca Sacra 463, no. Jul (1959): 222–229. Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Volume I: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. Second Edi. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2010. Greidanus, Sidney. “Preaching Christ from the Old Testament.” Bibliotheca Sacra 641, no. Jan (2004): 4–13. Hodges, Zane C. “Law And Grace In The Millennial Kingdom II . Law in the Millennial Kingdom III . Destroying the Law.” Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society 38, no. Spring (2007): 32–38. Schmidtbleicher, Paul R. “Balancing The Use Of The Old Testament.” Chafer Theological Seminary Journal 3, no. Jul (2002): 40–62.