Sometimes in Scripture, God has imbedded a message in the combination of verses of a longer passage, even if that message is not explicitly stated. I found an example of this as I was reading in Matthew’s Gospel account. In the first two chapters, Jesus is presented as the Davidic King and the fulfillment of the whole Old Testament. Let’s see how.
To begin with, the name “David” is repeated six times in the first twenty verses of the Gospel (Matthew 1:1, 6, 17, 20). Additionally, the word “Messiah” or “Christ” is repeated four times (vv. 1, 16-18). The Jewish readers of this Gospel would immediately have picked up on this theme. The Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:8-17) was a theme that beat passionately in their hearts, and seeing this in the very beginning of the Gospel shaped how they would read the story of Jesus.
Additionally, Joseph is identified by “an angel of the Lord” as “Joseph, son of David” (Matthew 1: 20). Joseph was a poor carpenter, and his ancestral line was cursed, yet he was identified as standing in the royal family (1). This further stresses the emphasis upon Jesus being from the Davidic line.
The other message presented in the text is one that has to do with a pattern, and that’s the pattern of Joseph. And I mean both in the Old and New Testament. Consider the following similarities:
- Both have a father named “Jacob” (Genesis 37:1-3; Matthew 1:16).
- Both were spoken to by God in dreams (Genesis 37:5-9; Matthew 1:20, 21; Matthew 2:13, 19-22).
- Both went to Egypt to be used by God to preserve their families (Genesis 45:5; Matthew 2:13).
- Both knew Egypt was not their final home (Genesis 50:24; Matthew 2:13).
Pretty striking, right? Now, add to this the multiple notes in Matthew One and Two about prophecy, such as, “Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet” (Matthew 1:22; 2:5, 15, 17, 23).
What does all this tell us? Well, it clearly points out that the Old Testament foreshadowed Jesus, even in the pattern of the time in Egypt. Matthew is emphasizing this, showing that all of these various aspects of the Old Testament come together in the life of Jesus. He is telling his readers that Jesus is what they have been looking for their entire lives.
In none of the texts cited is any of this actually stated, but we can’t help but see this when we read the passage as a whole from a Jewish perspective. Go ahead: take time and read the first two chapters of Matthew. You’ll see he’s crying out, “Here He is—the Messiah we’ve been waiting for. Just look at all the evidence, even in the events surrounding His birth.”
As I was studying these points, I was reminded how incredible the Bible actually is. There is so much detail God has included in it. We ought to study all of it, and that includes setting aside time to look at some longer passages rather than just a few verses. Both aspects of study are necessary, but to strive to understand everything God was saying about Jesus, we need to diligently search all of it.
- I first learned about this while attending Clarks Summit University. However, comparing 2 Kings 24:15 with the text and NASB footnotes of Jeremiah 22:24-30 and Matthew 1:11 will demonstrate this fact through the various names of the same Jewish king.