December 2

Text: Matthew 1:22

Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled . . . (NASB)

Matthew saw Jesus as the fulfillment of scripture.  Often Matthew wrote that something that Hebrew scripture said was fulfilled by something Jesus did, something that occurred to Jesus, or a teaching emphasis Jesus had.  To Matthew, Jesus was definitely the result of Godís planning and intent.

As examples, Jesusí birth (Matthew 1:23), place of birth (Matthew 2:6), infant life in Egypt (Matthew 2:15), and Herodís attempt to kill the young Jesus (Matthew 2:18) were all in fulfillment of scripture.  So was Johnís ministry (Matthew 3:3), Jesusí responses to his temptations (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10), and Jesusí relocating in Capernaum to begin his ministry (Matthew 4:13-16). 

Sometimes a prophecy was fulfilled, sometimes a past event predicted an event in Jesusí life, sometimes a teaching to Israel determined what Jesus did, and sometimes it explained how Jesus behaved (see Matthew 11:5).  Also consider such statements in Matthew as 11:9, 10; 21:5, 16, 42; 22:32, 37, 39, 44; 26:31, 64; and 27:9.  Matthew was calling someoneís or some groupís attention to the fact that there was a definite correlation between Jesusí life and teaching and what many today would refer to as the Old Testament scriptures.

The question is not how did Matthewís use of scriptures fit our understanding or view of Hebrew scripture.  The question is how did Matthewís use of scripture fit the understanding of his time, and the use of scripture by his original audience?

The point: the author saw Jesus as the fulfillment of scripture.  To the author, Jesus was the act and intent of God.  The reason that a person should listen to Jesus was this: Jesus came from God.

Suggestion for reflection: Who is Jesus to you?  Why do you see him as you do?  (Read 1 Peter 1:10-16.)

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