Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment
Michael Card has written a book on this Gospel, which he regards as the Gospel of Identity, as it would have spoken to early Jews who believed Jesus was the promised Messiah and were looking for His return. This meant they were no longer welcome in the synagogue or their former Jewish community and now they were struggling to understand and live out their new identity found in Jesus. This is a great observation for the first readers / hearers of this book, but what about the reader today?
Perhaps more than any other of the Gospels, Matthew wants us to see the connection of Jesus to the Old Testament Scriptures and how Jesus is the FULFILLMENT of the promised Messiah / Redeemer / King.
And God chose a man named Levi, who Jesus gave the name Matthew (meaning God’s Gift). As a tax collector for the Romans, he would have been regarded as unworthy and a traitor (e.g., He spends his time with tax collectors and sinners…). Yet, as an accountant, Matthew would have been detail oriented and kept careful records. And he certainly had an excellent working knowledge of the Old Testament to point out the fulfillment to those like him who were looking for proof that Jesus is the Messiah.
Over the coming weeks we’ll look at the evidence this early IRS agent offers – a very compelling case.