Christians are always interested in knowing much about Jesus Christ, the pioneer of the Christian religion. His story and great deeds have been recorded much in the Gospels and a little bit in Acts of the apostles. The four gospels have similarities since they talk much about Jesus, his ministry, and death. However, each gospel has some uniqueness since different authors wrote them. Many Christians are interested in the gospel of Matthew, a disciple of Jesus, and have asked, “How is Jesus portrayed in Matthew?”
In the book of Matthew, Jesus is portrayed as the Messiah, the son of God from the genealogy of David. He is also portrayed as the new Moses, who came to strengthen the laws that God gave to humans. He has also been described as a loving teacher full of compassion for his people and ready to serve humankind with genuine love from God.
As one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, Matthew is in an excellent position to inform us who the Lord Jesus Christ was. He was one of the people who interacted with Jesus Christ at a personal level and therefore understood him better. How did Matthew portray Jesus in his gospel? What is the main lesson in the book of Matthew? These are some of the questions Christians are curious to learn. Read the article to the end to find out about these and more about Jesus in the gospel of Matthew.
What was Matthew’s perception of Jesus?
Matthew regards Jesus as the true Messiah promised by God, who came to die for the world to be saved. Matthew 1:2-16 traces the genealogy of Jesus to one of the patriarchs, Abraham, all the way to Joseph, his earthly father. By tracing him to the great man Abraham, Matthew perceived Jesus as the Messiah the Old Testament prophets had promised. Therefore, he believed that the promised one was none other than Christ Jesus.
Matthew quotes the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus Christ from his birth to his ministry and death and ascension. This is another way that Matthew portrays Jesus as the promised Messiah, the true son of God. He quoted over 60 prophecies about Jesus Christ long before he was born.
Matthew 5:17-18 gives the sermon on the mountain portraying Jesus as an upholder of the Jewish law and not a destroyer as some Jews had thought. Through this description, Jesus is seen as a guardian of the Jewish law given to Moses to give to the people of God.
Matthew also perceives Jesus as a teacher. At least 12 times in the book of Matthew, Jesus is mentioned as a teacher. Matthew 5:2 talks about Jesus opening his mouth and teaching the crowd. By saying over 12 times that Jesus taught his people, Mathew has portrayed Jesus as a teacher of the word who was much better than the Pharisees and Sadducees.
These are some of the significant ways that Matthew has used to portray Jesus Christ. Matthew tried to prove the most crucial bit that Jesus is the promised Messiah, and he achieved this by quoting several prophecies that had been fulfilled.
What are Jesus’ characteristics according to Matthew?
In the book of Matthew, Jesus is portrayed as loving and compassionate in how he deals with his crowds. He understood that even though they wanted to listen to his word, they were also human and were prone to hunger and fatigue. On two occasions, Jesus fed many people after realizing they were hungry and tired after following him for three days. While working closely with his disciples, he ensured that the people had something in their stomachs to keep them going. One of the instances is quoted in Matthew 14:13-21.
Jesus is also portrayed as being authoritative in his teachings. This is quoted in Matthew 7:28-29 where after one of his teachings, the crowds were amazed at how he taught with authority, unlike the scribes.
Jesus was obedient to his father’s will, as quoted in Matthew 26:39. While praying for his last moments before facing death, Jesus asked the father to take the cup away from him, but only if it was His will. He wanted the will of God to always prevail as the obedient son that he was.
Jesus was always patient with his disciples and other followers and always had time to answer their questions keenly. He always gave satisfactory answers, and whenever he knew his followers had not understood him, he explained further. He lived up to his title of a teacher as he handled his crowds like one. One instance where Jesus patiently explained to the masses is noted in Matthew 13.
Jesus is also seen as forgiving, as he taught in Matthew 18:21-22. Jesus always walked his talk, and in this sermon, he taught people to forgive others seventy times. By this, he wanted people to learn to forgive like God the father does countless times.
How does Matthew portray Jesus as the new Moses?
In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says that he did not come to abolish the laws of Moses but to strengthen them. In the Old Testament, the guardian of the laws of God was Moses, and now Jesus Christ had come to fulfill the purpose of the law. This meant that Jesus had picked the mantle from Moses and was ready to deliver the people of God from sin the same way Moses gave them from Egypt years back.
Does Matthew explore the divinity or humanity of Jesus?
The book of Matthew explores the divinity of Jesus Christ to a reasonable extent as he tries to prove that he is the true son of God. He does so in the following verses;
Matthew 2:7 tells the instance where the three wise men visited Jesus, and immediately they saw him, they bowed down to worship him. At the time, Jesus was just a baby. Being worshipped and receiving offerings of expensive gifts like gold was proof that Jesus possessed divinity.
Matthew 25:31-46 explains how Jesus will ultimately judge humankind in the end. He promised to come with the angels and separate the righteous and the sinners. This is further proof of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 1:18-25 gives the instance where Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary. It is unheard of for a virgin to give birth, but due to the divine nature of Jesus, he had to be born of a pure woman.
In Matthew 28:9, Jesus appears to his disciples after the resurrection. By defeating death, Jesus proved that he was divine.
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus tells his disciples that all authority on heaven and earth has been given to him. By having authority both in heaven and earth, Jesus is proven to be divine.
How does Matthew portray Jesus as a teacher?
Matthew portrays Jesus as an authoritative yet humble teacher. In Matthew 7:28-29 the crowds are awed at how Jesus taught them the word authoritatively. By speaking the word this way, Jesus proved to the masses that he was teaching the accurate word of God.
Jesus has been mentioned as a teacher over 12 times in Matthew since, most of the time, he sat people down and taught them the word while explaining it thoroughly.
What is the main lesson of the Gospel of Matthew?
The Gospel of Matthew has several lessons that Jesus taught. However, several Biblical scholars have suggested that the book’s main lesson is that Jesus Christ was the Messiah promised in the Old Testament prophets. By quoting several prophecies, Matthew proved that Jesus was God’s divine son who came to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies.
What makes the gospel of Matthew different from the other books?
Matthew’s gospel differs from other gospels due to its focus on Jesus Christ as the promised son of God and king of the Jews. Matthew is suggested to have been written for the Jews who had not yet accepted Christ as the Messiah. Matthew focuses on the Old time prophecies about Christ while giving proof of their fulfillment in the book. With a focus on Jewish laws and prophecy fulfilments, Matthew is regarded as one of the most uniquely written books of the bible.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.