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Matthew’s Jewish Gospel about a Jewish Messiah

Matthews’s Gospel presents the Jewish Messiah-Part One

Each of the four gospel writers focus on a specific audience, hence their purpose for writing. Matthew’s Gospel is written by a Jewish author about a Jewish Messiah and it is set in a Jewish context.

How does it commence? It immediately begins with the genealogy of Jesus (Messiah), the Son of Abraham, the Son of David (Matthew 1:1). Why does it start with a long and detailed list of names? Because genealogies are linked with identity and when considering Messiah, identity is connected with lineage, history and prophecy.

Consider that even today, if we were to walk into a book and magazine store, it wouldn’t be unusual to see half a dozen or more magazines devoted to ancestry. People go on websites or seek professional assistance to discover either their family tree or something via their DNA.

In the very first verse of the New Testament (Brit Hadasha), we discover that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Son of both David and Abraham. The Lord made respective covenants with both these patriarchs. Through Abraham all the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). ‘The Son of David’ was a Messianic title and his kingdom would be established forever through his lineage (2 Samuel 7:16).

Matthew’s Gospel presents the Jewish Messiah-Part Two

From the outset, Matthew enables the reader to recognise Messiah by citing a whole series of Messianic prophecies and carefully noting their fulfilment. The first seventeen verses chart the genealogy of Jesus through David and Abraham which are essential in establishing Messianic credentials.

Matthew often states something has been fulfilled or quotes the passage or prophet to make his points perfectly clear. In Matthew 1:22-23 he mentions the virgin birth as spoken by the Lord through the prophet and that His name shall be called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).

Then in Matthew 2:5-6 when the Magi are seeking the King of the Jews, the chief priests and scribes quote Micah 5:2 (Micah 5:1) in Tanakh, which states that the One to rule Israel will come from the tribe of Bethlehem Ephrathah, from the Tribe of Judah. This small village is located approximately 5 miles south of Jerusalem and Judah is one of the twelve tribes which narrows down the potential list of Messianic candidates.

Next, to escape the massacre of the innocents, Joseph, Mary and Jesus fled to Egypt according to the prophet (Hosea 11:1). Great suffering and slaughter of the young children occurred fulfilling the words of Jeremiah (Matthew 2:17-18; Jeremiah 31:15). They then returned and settled in Nazareth (Matthew 2:23; Isaiah 9:1-6).

Isaiah foretold that Messiah would be preceded by a messenger to prepare the way (Isaiah 40:3) and this is exactly what happened through John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1). So far, we have seen from His miraculous birth to the commencement of His ministry, Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Scriptures.

Matthew presents Jesus the Messiah as the King of the Jews-Part 3

The Gospels represent and detail different aspects of who Messiah is. Matthew portrays Jesus as the King, Mark the Servant, Luke demonstrates His humanity whilst John reveals His deity

The wise men journeyed from the East following His star in the hope of finding ‘the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2).’ In order to have a kingdom you need a king. Jesus promised His disciples that when the Son of Man (another Messianic title) sits on the throne of His glory, they would also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28).

When Jesus entered Jerusalem he rode in on a colt, the foal of a donkey. This might appear strange to typical expectations of grandeur though not to those who welcomed Him or to the Scriptures themselves. Matthew quoted Zechariah 9:9 “Tell the daughter of Zion, behold your King is coming to you, lowly and sitting on the foal of a donkey (Matthew 21:5).”

When the Romans crucified someone, it was common practise to nail a sign with their charge or accusation written against them. What could they accuse Messiah of? Amazingly the accusation written against Him was written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin.


Matthew presents Jesus as the Messiah mentioned in Isaiah 53-Part 4

Even until this day, Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is omitted in the regular synagogue readings though it is worthy of our attention since it is part of the Scriptures. This passage foretells the exact details of how Messiah would give Himself as a sacrifice and make atonement for our sins and thereby reconcile us with God. Like the Passover Lamb, Jesus was crucified at Passover. He is the Passover Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.

Matthew mentions the mocking that Jesus endured in fulfilment of prophecy (Matthew 27:29, 31; c.f. Isaiah 53:3, 7).

Matthew carefully notes the robbers crucified with Him according to the Scriptures (Matthew 27:38; Isaiah 53:9).

Matthew records that He yielded up His spirit (Matthew 27:50; Isaiah 53:12).

Matthew’s mentions some though not of all the moving and specific events listed in Isaiah 53. Messiah would have a unique birth, life, death and resurrection. His resurrection is the guarantee of our resurrection. For those who turn to Him, trust Him, obey and follow Him, they can have assurance of salvation and atonement for their sins, not through their works but through by His grace through faith in Him.