Three Major Themes in the Gospel of Matthew


In the previous post, I mentioned that the Gospel of Matthew has a special Jewish flavor in its contents and characteristics, since it was written especially for Jews in mind. It’s Matthew’s effort to tell the story of Jesus in the backyards and alleys of Jerusalem and the hills and plains of Galilee and beyond that Jesus was the Promised One, a true deliverer – Messiah – who came to establish the Kingdom of God. Let’s review briefly three major themes that run throughout the gospel account here.

1. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.

a. Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy.

Matthew quotes prophet Isaiah (7:14) to point out how Jesus fulfilled the prophecy through virgin birth (Matthew 1:23). Micah 5:2 is fulfilled by being born in Bethlehem. The prophecies in Hosea 11:9, Micah 7:9 were also affirming that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Isaiah 40:1,2; 52 Psalm 118:12, Zechariah 12:10, and the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 52, all these are testifying Jesus as the Coming Messiah.

b. New Moses

Moses in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament have significant similarities. Both were priests, and teachers of the Laws. Their birth caused uproar and disruption in the society. Moses received the Law in the Sinai, and Jesus gave the Golden Rules (first sermon) in the Mount Olive. Moses is the mediator of the Old Covenant through animal sacrifice, whereas Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant through his own blood.

c. Jesus as the King from the line of David.

The genealogy of Jesus clearly shows that he is from the line of David. The significant number of passages in the Scripture tells us that he is from the Davidic line. People in Israel addressed him as the “Son of David” during his earthly ministry (Matthew 12:21; 21:42). Therefore, He is the rightful heir the throne of David.

d. Jesus is the Seed of Abraham

Jesus is attributed as the hope of nations, whereas Abraham is known as the blessings for the nations.

2. God (the Father/King) is the God of both Grace and Judgment

This theme also plays out throughout the book. The Parable of Weeds (13:24-42), the Parable of Talents (25:14-30), and the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (20:1-16) show how gracious God is. At the same time, the Parables of the Great Banquet (22:1-14), the passage of the Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees (22-25), and the signs and of the end time and judgement day chapters show how strictly judgmental he is.
3. The Kingdom of God does not Belong to One Particular Ethnic Group.

It is extended to all people from all nations and tribes. Matthew 28:16-20 explicitly talks about people from ends of the earth; the book of Revelation (7:9) also gives us the heavenly glimpse that a great multitude of people beyond our capacity to count come from every nation, and all tribes and people and tongues and worship the Lamb.

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3 thoughts on “Three Major Themes in the Gospel of Matthew”

  1. Pingback: The Law of Moses
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