How Does Matthew Prove That Jesus Is the Messiah?


Ed Jarrett

How Does Matthew Prove That Jesus Is the Messiah?

The gospel of Matthew, like the other three canonical gospels, tells the good news about Jesus. They are not biographies in the modern sense. They tell us very little about his early life. Rather they focus on what he did and said over the last three years of his life. The primary emphasis for all four gospels was Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection, spending a significant portion of their story on that last week of his life.

But each of the gospels also has its own individual emphasis and target audience. For Matthew, his target audience seems to be Jewish. And his emphasis is on demonstrating that Jesus is the Messiah foretold in the Jewish Bible. Matthew repeatedly references Old Testament passages and identifies their fulfillment in Jesus’ life and ministry. The intent of this article is to look at Matthew’s use of the Old Testament in affirming Jesus as the Messiah.

A Note about Old Testament Messianic Prophecy

Matthew, and other New Testament writers, reference many Old Testament passages and identify them as pointing to Jesus. And they do that under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But the prophets who were inspired to write these referenced passages did not always realize that they were pointing to a messiah far in the future.

One of the most obvious of these comes from Isaiah – a passage we hear numerous times each Christmas – but one we seldom examine closely. In Matthew 1:22-23 we find Isaiah 7:14 quoted: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).”

Without doubt this passage finds fulfillment in the birth of Jesus. But when Isaiah utters these words he had something else in mind. Isaiah 7:1-17 provides the context for this quotation. The sign given was to the godless king Ahaz. And it was a sign that would find fulfillment within just a few short years. I suspect that Isaiah had no idea that it also pointed to a messiah who would come some around 500-600 years later.

Another thing to note about these fulfilled prophecies is that we do not always know what passage Matthew is referring to. It would seem that sometimes, rather than referring to a specific passage, he is referring to a more general theme of the prophets. This happens a couple of times in Matthew 26:52-56 which refers to the method of Jesus’ capture and coming death.

And, finally, sometimes we have no idea what Matthew is referencing. In Matthew 2:23, Jesus’ family settles down in Nazareth. This fulfills what was spoken through the prophets, that he would be a Nazarene. There is no reference to anything like this in the Old Testament. That is not to call into question Matthew’s inspiration. But it does indicate that Matthew was drawing from a larger collection of writings than we have today.

Implicit Old Testament Allusions

Matthew makes about 20 specific references to Old Testament prophecy in relationship to Jesus. But he also seems to be making some implicit references as well.

In particular, Jesus is pictured as a new Moses who has come to establish God’s kingdom. Like Moses, who was rescued from the Pharaoh’s decree to kill baby boys, so Jesus was rescued from Herod’s killing of infants. Moses and Jesus both spend time in the wilderness in preparation for their primary ministry. And both of them are foundational in the establishment of God’s people; Israel for Moses and the church for Jesus. Both of them are teachers and miracle workers. Moses’ ministry ends at the Jordan River while Jesus’ begins at the Jordan. Moses leads 12 tribes, Jesus starts with 12 disciples.

The Son of David

In 1 Samuel 7:16 God promises David that “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.” There are messianic overtures to this passage that were especially relevant in the Israel of Jesus’ day. They chaffed under Roman rule and looked to the time when a son of David would rise to overthrow the Romans and reestablish David’s kingdom.

In Matthew 12:22-23, Jesus heals a demon possessed man who was blind and mute. In response the crowd begins to wonder, “Could this be the Son of David?” They were not just wondering if Jesus was a descendant of David. Instead, their question pointed back to 1 Samuel 7:16. Is it possible that Jesus is the one who will reestablish the kingdom? Eight other times in Matthew this title, Son of David, is applied to Jesus. And each time it has messianic implications.

Explicit References to the Old Testament

The table below provides a list of the explicit references Matthew makes. In each one of these, Matthew expressly says that something Jesus did, or that was done to him, was to fulfill what was written.

One of these (Matt. 3:1-3) is really about John the Baptist. But by establishing him as the forerunner of the Messiah, it points to Jesus as that Messiah. And a second of them (Matt. 4:5-6) is quoted by Satan in his second temptation. Satan tempts Jesus to fulfill this in a dramatic way in order to impress the crowds, but Jesus declined.

Matthew uses the rest of these fulfilled prophecies to demonstrate to his Jewish audience that Jesus is indeed their long awaited Messiah. And in Matthew 5:17 he makes that clear, quoting Jesus as saying that he had come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.

Chart of OT and NT prophecy connections

Why These References?

Why did Matthew chose these specific prophecies to prove that Jesus was the Messiah? There are many others that he could have used, some of which are referenced in the other gospels. I don’t believe there is any way that we can know the mind of Matthew, and why he chose these. But it is likely that he felt these would be convincing to the Jewish audience he wrote to. In the same way that John tailors his list of signs (John 20:30-31) to convince his audience that Jesus was the Christ, so it is likely that Matthew does the same.

Matthew knows his audience well. He is not just telling a bunch of stories about Jesus. Instead he has put together a well-crafted account of Jesus life and ministry. An account that is focused on proving to his Jewish audience that Jesus is the Messiah promised in their Scriptures. And his use of the Old Testament prophets and psalms is an integral part of his proof.

Matthew, in this gospel, is doing what Jesus did on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:25-27), and Phillip did with the Ethiopian (Acts 8:34-35). He is proclaiming to them, from their Scriptures, who Jesus is.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/mbolina

Ed Jarrett is a long time follower of Jesus and a member of Sylvan Way Baptist Church. He has been a Bible teacher for over 40 years and regularly blogs at A Clay Jar. You can also follow him on Twitteror Facebook. Ed is married, the father of two, and grandfather of two lovely girls. He is retired and currently enjoys his gardens and backpacking.

5 Ways to Rebuild the Trust in Your Marriage After Deception

Dr. David B. HawkinsThe Marriage Recovery Center

5 Ways to Rebuild the Trust in Your Marriage After Deception

Most don’t realize the importance of honesty until someone has been dishonest with them. Relationships are built upon truth and trust. Without both, the relationship is sure to crumble.

Intimacy—“into me see”– requires safety and vulnerability, but to be vulnerable means you must trust the other person. You must know them and base your decisions on that knowledge. Trust is based on truth.

The moment a lie is introduced into a relationship, the foundation of that relationship is shattered. Lies and deceit create walls of protection and distrust which destroy intimacy and attachment. They erode safety and the willingness to be open and vulnerable. When two people trust one another, they are open and honest, acting unselfishly. They build the relationship together. Dishonesty shatters that trust.

Recently I’ve helped a number of couples recover from sexual infidelity, the ultimate deception. I’ve watched as the affair, and the layers of lies surrounding the affair, destroy trust, safety and connection.

“When I found out my husband Jerry had been lying to me about an affair early in our marriage, I felt like our entire marriage was a fraud,” Susan said to me.

She continued.

“Since he has been lying and covering up his earlier affair for years, I now look back and think our entire marriage is a farce,” she said. “It’s not just the affair I’ve found out about, but all the lies he told to cover up the affair. How do I even know what is truth and what is a lie?”

“How has his lying affected how you view your husband?” I asked.

“I used to think he was a good, honest man,” she said. “Now I question everything. He has been lying to protect himself. He valued his lies over me. He has placed himself above me and our relationship. I feel horrible and don’t know if I can stay married to him.”

“What I did was so wrong,” Jerry said, seeming to be remorseful. “I don’t blame her for being angry. I’d like her to trust me again.”

Susan shrugged, sharing how she now struggled to trust her husband with anything.

“If he could cheat on me and cover it up for years, what trust should I have in him now?” she said. “I don’t know what to believe.”

“I’m sorry for what I’ve done,” Jerry said. “I know you won’t be able to trust me for a while, but I hope someday to earn your trust again.”

Tragically, Jerry not only covered up his affair for years, but even changed his story several times, leaving Susan bewildered and frustrated. Susan is understandably angry, hurt and very distrusting. She is not sure she will stay with her husband. She fears staying and being hurt again, but also fears leaving and being alone.

What can be done to rebuild trust after deception?


Firstvalue honesty. Be explicit about the importance of honesty in your marriage and the fragility of trust. Share why you value honesty and ensure you are open with your mate about this value. Listen to their values on the topic of honesty. Establish early on that honesty must be an integral part of your marriage;

Second, practice honesty. Create a culture where honesty is exercised. Remind your mate about your expectations of honesty. Lies cannot be a part of your marriage; even the smallest of lies erodes trust. Scripture says: “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.” (Colossians 3: 9);

Third, be honest about deception. Admit when even the smallest of deceptions occur in your marriage. If you can be honest about the small things, or admit deceptions, you’ll be more inclined to be honest about bigger things. Share the impact of small deceptions, while making it clear that honesty is still valued over deceit;

Fourthweave honesty into your relationship. It has been said that the roots of big lies always begin with small lies. Have you succeeded in weaving honesty into your marriage? Do you trust your mate? If not, why? What needs to change to create absolute trust, safety and honesty in your marriage? Don’t be afraid to get professional help if there has been a significant breach of trust in your marriage;

Finally, appreciate and honor the impact of honesty. Nothing feels quite as good as being truthful. Knowing you have nothing to hide is a wonderful feeling. You never have to tell a lie to protect another lie, never needing to protect yourself from being discovered. If you have been dishonest, and most have at some time, begin now to be a truth-teller. Start building trust today, one step at a time.

Has your marriage been damaged by dishonesty? Do you want honesty to be the foundation of your marriage? Practice the above steps and notice the change. If you would like further help to restore brokenness in your marriage, we are here to help. Please send responses to me at and read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on our website and learn about our Personal and Marriage Intensives as well as our newly formed Subscription Group, Thrive, for women struggling from emotional abuse. 


Photo credit: ©Thinkstock

How to See the Soul of Your Teen


Lori Contributing Writer

How to See the Soul of Your Teen

“You love too much!” My teen angrily declared. I felt frustrated and misunderstood.

A quiet pause filled the room. The pursed lips slowly separated and added, “You don’t need to know everything!”

Initially all I heard was resentment. Hurt and anger welled up in me. My own insecurities rose to the surface. Doesn’t she want me in her life? Doesn’t she love me? I was focusing on the outburst rather than the need that was simmering just below the surface.

Before I could proactively and positively deal with this declaration, I needed to not take this outburst personally. Even though it was a direct hit, I wasn’t really the target; it was my inability to see it was time for some parenting adjustment to occur. Now that she was a teen, I needed to fine-tune my style to match her age and developmental stage.

This was important knowledge for me to acquire. Actually, this is a good thing. She feels safe and secure enough to express her frustration. Granted her words are harsh, but her actual message, “I feel smothered,” is understandable.

So often we fixate on the short term issue of how disrespectful a complaint is stated or a behavior exhibited while neglecting the bigger and underlying concern: the homework is left undone, chores forgotten, or disrespectful words uttered. Yes, of course these problems need to be addressed but there is a bigger issue lurking beneath the action. It is up to us to discover what is the heart reason for the poor decision, nasty comment, bad choice, or procrastination.

Seeing the Soul of Our Teens

To get to the heart of the matter we first seek to see the soul of the teen standing in front of us. When we recognize he or she is an eternal being created by God, for God, in God’s image, and fully known and loved by God, we are more able to see the soul of the person behind the behavior.

Looking at our loved ones in this way stirs compassion and love, even when life gets messy. When we dig a bit further we discover the motivation or heart reason—why they did or said what they did. Rather than react to the unpleasant circumstance, we will now move into a place where parenting becomes more effective and the goal more long term. This causes us to be more intentional and deliberate in shaping the character of our teens.

Our perception, when filtered through the lenses of love, will change our approach with our teen. Really observing the essence of who they are rather than seeing only what they do will be more effective and kind in supporting and encouraging our kids as they navigate teenage life.

A teen’s heart softens and is more receptive to training and correction when they feel understood and appreciated for who they are. When the correction and training are presented in love with humility the parent-child relationship stays intact. If the behavior is the only thing addressed, the pot of resentment is stirred, inadvertently hardening the child’s heart. Criticism and punishment will not accomplish the ultimate goal of molding a heart and will build a barrier between parent and child.

What Our Teens Need from Us

Parents and kids alike are eternal souls created in God’s image. Humans are relational, emotional, rational, volitional, and spiritual. Because of this, we all have the need to be loved and to belong, express our feelings, be respected, exercise free will, and experience spiritual fulfillment.

Our children give us clues as to what they need. To pick up on these cues, ask the Lord to give you His eyes. “Father, give me eyes to see and wisdom to know what my teen needs when he does or says certain things. Keep my mind fixed on what he needs rather than my personal feelings. Amen.” 

Interpreting Their Language

Here are some typical things teens may say:

  • “I’m almost sixteen.”
  • “You never let me_________.”
  • “You are so busy.”
  • “You never keep your promises.”
  • “You love __________ more.”
  • “I’m interested in (reincarnation, horoscopes, etc.”
  • “My grades (or my sports, activities, etc.) are the most important thing to me.”

These statements are a window into their soul. These utterances reveal a lot about your child and what he needs. Once we understand what they are really saying we can respond in a way that meets the need they are attempting to express.

“I’m almost sixteen” and “You never let me______.” 

These two comments represent both rational and volitional in born qualities. This teen needs his parents to know it’s time for a parental shift and for mom and dad to back off a bit and allow him to make some decisions. Talk about how freedom and responsibility are linked by trust and respect. Both parents and child need to participate in this formula if it is to work. Parents step back, the teen steps up.

“You are so busy.” 

Translation: “We don’t spend time together. I don’t feel as if I’m important to you. You don’t know anything about me or my life.” Even as prickly as a teen can be, he still needs his parents to show interest in him and in his world. Carve out time to hang out. Do something he loves to do together.

“You never keep your promises” or “You love __________more.” 

This child is telling you is feeling insecure in his relationship with you. He may even be saying, “I don’t trust you.” It is up to parents to keep promises, demonstrate love without comparing one child to another, and show an interest in the child’s life.

“I’m interested in (reincarnation, horoscopes, etc.)”  or “My grades or my sports are the most important thing to me.” 

This teen is letting the parent know he is interested in spiritual things and may be creating idols of temporal things. This child is hungry for meaningful conversations about things of God. He may need guidance and modeling that shows the character of a person is more important than academics, the arts, athletics, affluence, and accomplishments. If Jesus isn’t filling the spiritual needs, something else will fill that vacuum.

If we only respond to external actions and behavior as opposed to the soul and character of an individual we will find our kids are more susceptible to rebellion and resentment. They will become people pleasers over God chasers. It is likely they will withdraw or act out. It is us, their parents, to be a student of our child. By looking at who they are and determining the “why” of the behavior we will be better equipped to give our kids what they need. If we only deal with the “what” we will never get to the real issue behind it.

Here’s a series of three steps a parent can take that assists in parenting to the teen’s soul:

  1. State the observed problem. “You sound hurt.” (Push aside the desire to defend yourself.)
  2. Address the issue, “You said I love _____ more.” (State the facts.)
  3. Ask your child what he thinks a solution to the problem could be. “What can be done to change this?” or “What can I do to change this?” (Encourage him to help solve the problem. Decide to be a part of the solution.)

Developmentally, your young person is at a place where he needs more responsibility and some autonomy. Give him permission to have some choices and allow for flexibility in decision-making. Spend time with your teen. Let him know you love him because of who he is, not what he does. He needs to know, even if he fails, you are beside him and will never leave nor forsake him. Provide opportunities for him to stretch his wings and take some reasonable risks. Let him own the outcome. Don’t take over. Pray with and for your child. Show him what it means to follow Jesus.

Parents are often better at seeing the soul of a little one. We say, “Oh he didn’t mean to do that.” We are more prone to give grace with younger kids than with teens. We want to grow kids who are responsible for themselves and their actions while letting them know they are fully known, understood, and loved by their earthly parents and Heavenly Father. In a household with teens, be sure to have large doses of grace, respect, and kindness. Parent to your teen’s soul.

Lori Wildenberg, a licensed family and parent educator and parent coach, is passionate about helping families build connections that last a lifetime. She is the author or co-author of five books. Lori’s most recent book The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connection was just released! She loves working with moms and dads to assist them in their quest to be the best parent they can be. Lori and her husband Tom have four young adult children. You can find Lori on Facebook and on Instagram. For more information or to sign up for Lori’s weekly Eternal Moments blog go to

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/digitalskillet



The bride wore black, Day 10

Today’s reading is drawn from Hosea 1:11.

When you and I were growing up, we learned about prostitutes. It may have been from something we saw on television or heard from one of the tough guys at school, but we were introduced to what some have called, “the oldest profession in the world.” We were told that some people literally sell themselves to willing buyers for a one-time sexual experience. We discovered that there are pitiable people in the world who, in every sense of the word, are “used.”

The story of Hosea is one of the most emotionally gripping in the entire Bible. Here was a man called to be a prophet of God. As he was preparing for his ministry to the Israelites, God visited him with a message: “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife.”

Hosea, assuming he was like you and me, must have been stunned with this directive. Certainly Hosea had hoped to find a nice Jewish girl, a virgin from a good home to be his lifelong companion. How Hosea must have been crushed with this horrific assignment!

So Hosea met a prostitute named Gomer and asked her to be his bride. Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for Hosea on their wedding night? . . .

Don’t you wish he could have married his highschool sweetheart who would have been ecstatic about spending her first night basking in the delight of her precious, innocent husband? Instead, Hosea got a woman for whom the thrill was gone from life. A hardened woman. Our hearts ache for Hosea, don’t they?

Now we know how God felt. His people, whom He had loved and protected, had slept around in a spiritual sense. Not once or twice on business trips, they had flaunted their unfaithfulness to him, literally bringing their false gods into the holiest of places . . . shamelessly brandishing their infidelity.

God was furious, angry that His people had been so foolish . . . so calloused . . . so arrogant. But mostly, God’s heart was broken. What could have been a holy union between God and His beloved people had become a punch line — the brunt of laughter and ridicule. So God told Hosea that it wasn’t good enough for him to know about this spiritual adultery, he wanted Hosea to feel it . . . to literally live with the heartbreak of loving a rugged harlot instead of a cherished and virtuous bride. What an incredible lesson.

You and I are like those arrogant Israelites . . . and like the adulterous Gomer. We are men who seek approval and pleasure apart from our faithful God. This story is an illustration of exactly what it’s like for God to love us. He could do so much better, but He loves us more that we could ever know . . . more than we ever deserved . . . even more than we loved our childhood sweetheart. Isn’t this awesome?