The Bible
New Testament
Jesus Christ

How did Matthew portray Jesus?

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June 13, 2014 3:17PM

There are a number of ways that Jesus is portrayed by Matthew.

Firstly Jesus is portrayed throughout the book as the one who fulfills the Old Testament prophecies about the messiah. This probably explains why Matthew is placed first among the New Testament books as it forms a natural bridge between the Old Testament and the New.

Secondly, Jesus is portrayed as the King, and this theme is followed through in terms of the outline of the book as a whole.

1. Matthew 1:1 - 4:11 - The Presentation of the King

2. Matthew 4:12 - 7:29 - The Proclamation of the King

3. Matthew 8:1 -11:1 - The Power of the King

4. Matthew 11:2 - 16:12 - The Progressive Rejection of the King

5. Matthew 16:13 - 20:28 - The Preparation of the Disciples of the King

6. Matthew 20:29 - 27:66 - The Presentation and Final Rejection of the King

7. Matthew 28:1-20 - The Final Vindication of the King

Source: Nelson's Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts: Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1982. p. 309

Matthew has long been recognized for its Jewishness in that it refers to the prophecies known by the Jews and also to Jewish laws and religious customs. Jesus, as the authoritative teacher, the King of the Jews who has the right by His divine power to alter the laws that He Himself gave to Israel, is in contrast to the tentative teachers of the day who had no real authority but only opinions. In this way, Matthew clearly points to Jesus' divinity since only God could alter or change the laws that He had given to Israel.

Matthew 7:29 (King James Version)

29For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

The formula "You have heard that it was said by them of old time....But I say unto you," is repeated no less than six times in the section Matthew 5:21 through to verse 48. This indicates some examples as mentioned above of Jesus', divine authority.

In the passages immediately following the Sermon on the Mount various demonstrations of Jesus' power are made. He is portrayed as having authority over various diseases, over nature, over demons and even over death itself. In the passage in Matthew 9:1-8 where He heals the man with the palsy, He is shown as having authority to forgive sin. The scribes present are shown in verse 3 to be thinking that Jesus was speaking blasphemously to forgive sin. Quite apart from the fact that Jesus demonstrated the ability to 'read their minds', this is a clear pointer to the fact of His divine authority to forgive sin, since the scribes rightly recognized all sin as ultimately against God and thus only God had the authority to forgive it. In this connection it is worth noting that Jesus did not have to pray to God to forgive the man but He did it Himself.