Jesus is the promised Messianic King
The four gospels each tell the story of the person and work of Jesus Christ, but each does so from a different perspective and with a different purpose.
The Gospel of Matthew was written by a former tax collector who, predictably, uses more terms for coinage in his Gospel than any of the other Gospel writers. The twice-repeated From then on, Jesus began . . . (4:17; 16:21) creates a helpful trifold framework for the book in which Matthew introduces Jesus (1:1-4:16), unfolds Jesus’ ministry of preaching and healing until Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ (4:17-16:20), and then transitions toward the death, resurrection, and final events of Jesus’ earthly ministry (16:21-28:20). Matthew’s Gospel emphasizes that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised messianic King. The kingdom has drawn near (4:17) because the King is present!
Jesus as the Messianic king
Several features in Matthew emphasize Jesus as the Messianic king.
Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament Messianic prophecies
A key purpose of Matthew in writing his Gospel seems to be to prove to the Jews that Jesus of Nazareth fulfills the Old Testament prophecies about Messiah. Matthew repeatedly tells a detail in his Gospel, cites an Old Testament passage, and then explicitly comments on how the detail he mentioned fulfilled that passage. He does this far more than any of the other gospels. Some of the fifteen-plus examples one encounters in his Gospel include Christ’s virgin birth (1:22-23), His birth in Bethlehem (2:5-6), His exile in Egypt (2:15), His being called a Nazarene (2:23), His bearing our infirmities (8:16-17), and many, many others.
Jesus as preparing His subjects for His kingdom
Matthew includes five of Jesus’ discourses:
Jesus’ authority is universal and encompasses all nations
Each of the four gospels has some form of the Great Commission but Matthew’s is the best known and most quoted. Matthew makes clear that the Great Commission rests upon Jesus’ universal authority. His consummate authority over heaven and earth is what gives us the right and duty to urge all nations to become His followers. And all these followers are to fully obey all that He has commanded. That’s authority. But after all, He is the King!
Christ’s promised presence (28:20) to those who make proclaiming His authority their primary business brings us as readers full circle. In Matthew 1, Christ’s birth is the coming of Immanuel--God with us (1:23). Matthew’s closing words are Christ’s: “And, behold, I personally am with you always until the end of the age.” Immanuel has not left us but is rather with us as our constant companion until the time to proclaim Him to the nations is over.
Have you experienced Immanuel’s presence in your Great Commission work?
Review & Application:
About the Author
Timothy W. Berrey is the author of Planning Your Life God's Way and From Eden to Patmos: An Overview of Biblical History. He is the director of Graduate Studies at Bob Jones Memorial Bible College in Metro Manila, where he has lived with his wife Laura and six children since 2005.