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The gospel of Matthew begins with details relating to the birth of Jesus. Very quickly, it moves on to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies and, having described Joseph's dream of Jesus' birth it says,"Now all this happened to make what the Lord had said through the prophet come true." (Matt I.22) On questioning the anticipated birth place of Jesus, Herod is reminded "Bethlehem in Judea...For this is what the prophet wrote...from you will come a leader who will guide my people..."(Matt 2.5-6)
Jesus, the Nazarene, confirms "what the prophets had said"(2.23). Isaiah and Jeremiah are revered and including direct references to them are purposeful and intended to encourage and reassure the Jews. Jesus refers to "the kingdom of heaven" to ensure that there are no exclusions. References to "God" are minimal.
The all-important law has not been overlooked either and "Do not think that I have come to do away with the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets.....but to make their teachings come true."(5.17)
The fact that the people are reminded repeatedly of the prophesies, ensures that Matthew's gospel presents Jesus as the "Teacher," so ordained and promised. There is an optimism that is consistent with Jesus as the Messiah.
Any quotations are taken from The Good News Bible, 6th Edition published by The Bible Society of South Africa.
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