READING: Matthew 17
Matthew builds a solid case that Jesus fulfills the qualifications for Israel’s Messiah in His lineage, His healing ministry, and His teachings. Matthew does this by using more Old Testament quotations and allusions (almost 130) than any other New Testament book. The expression “what was spoken through the prophet was fulfilled” recurs nine times in this Gospel but does not appear in the other three Gospels (cf. Matthew 1:22; 2:23). This is a book of fulfillment in which Jesus as the Christ (Messiah) uniquely fulfills the messianic prophecies of the Hebrew Bible and offers Himself to Israel as her King. This is seen in the phrase “the kingdom of heaven,” which appears thirty-two times in Matthew and is found nowhere else in the New Testament (cf. Matthew 3:2; 4:17). This is an important theme, because the Jewish reader would wonder why Jesus did not overthrow the Romans and establish the promised kingdom if He was indeed Israel’s Messiah.
Lord, You veiled Your preincarnate glory and humbled Yourself in Your incarnation, Your servant ministry, and Your redemptive death. I rejoice that the story does not end there but continues with Your glorious resurrection, Your ascension, Your second coming, and Your eternal kingdom.
Meditation passage: verses 5, 22–23