Biographies are a favorite choice for many readers. People’s lives are fascinating—what they do and why. The Bible is no exception. The New Testament opens with four different eyewitness or based-on-eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus Christ. Because in some way, we all see and record events uniquely, each Gospel writer crafted their story of Jesus’ life with a special emphasis.
For instance, the Gospel of Matthew was written by Matthew, also called Levi, one of Jesus’ original Twelve disciples. What appears to have compelled Matthew to write his account is a desire to show unequivocally that Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies making Him the long promised messianic King.
Matthew accomplishes this feat in several ways. First, the author tells his readers ten different times that Jesus was fulfilling something promised or predicted in the Old Testament. As an example, Matthew writes regarding Jesus’ birth, “Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, “God with us”’” (Matthew 1:22-23). This prophecy from Isaiah and was spoken about 700 years prior to Christ’s birth!
In addition, Levi used sixty-five Old Testament quotations linking their fulfillment to Christ. And if that wasn’t enough, in Matthew’s account he also penned about 262 allusions, meaning that he called things to mind from Old Testament people, places, events, etc., without mentioning them directly. He linked these allusions to Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of their meaning. As an example, Matthew alludes to the connection between Israel’s King Solomon (900 BC), who the Queen of Sheba acknowledged with gifts of great worth—with Jesus as Israel’s King, who wise men came from afar to shower with highly valuable gifts (1 Kings 10:1-13; Matthew 2:1-12). Matthew is showing his readers that Jesus is indeed Israel's forever King.
When Jesus originally called Matthew to leave his tax collecting duties to follow Him as a disciple, Mathew didn’t yet understand that Jesus was the promised Savior and King, the very Son of God. But this former tax collector gained understanding as he walked the dusty roads of Israel being taught by Jesus. Matthew then passed on what he learned to us. The author makes a compelling case about who Jesus is and calls us, as his readers to respond to what we know. Jesus life truly is the best story ever told!
If you would like to learn more about Matthew’s account of what Jesus said and did, you can use my new Bible study guide, Dusty Sandals: A Woman’s Walk Through the Prophecies and Promises of Matthew (nancygemaehlich-author.com).