Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:Matthew 1:22(NASB)
The Jews are the target audience of Matthew's gospel, and many prophecies relating to Jesus are found in his writings. Matthew opens by announcing that Jesus is the Son of David and son of Abraham, and throughout his gospel, Matthew refers to things which were fulfilled by Old Testament prophets - "as it was written.."
Matthew records Micah's prophecy of His birth in Bethlehem. He quotes from Isaiah, Malachi, Psalms and Zechariah detailing specific prophecies relating to the Messiah. Among other things it is prophesied that Christ would be preceded by Elijah; be called a Nazarene; spend time in Egypt; speak in parables and be praised by children
Throughout his writings Matthew quoted numerous prophecies which spoke of His crucifixion among criminals; His being betrayed and spat upon by evil men; being given vinegar to drink on the cross and buried in a rich mans tomb. He made reference to the potter's field, in Zechariah, that was bought with Judas' blood-money. He described the soldiers gambling for His garments; prophesied of the Messiah's resurrection from the dead; His ascension into heaven and Him sitting on the right hand of the Father - "as it was written.."
At the very beginning of his gospel Matthew's prepares his audience by listing the 42 generation of Christ's ancestry through the royal line of David. Starting with Abraham, he finally reaches Jacob, the father of Joseph - the husband of Mary, where Christ is finally identified as "JESUS, Who is called the Messiah". One cannot get away from the Jewish nature of Matthew's gospel, and for good reason, for salvation is from the Jews - because salvation must come through faith in JESUS, the Jewish Messiah.
Having just catalogued Christ complete genealogy, Matthew emphasised the significance of Christ's hereditary by explaining that all the generations from Abraham to David were 14; and from David until the exile to Babylon were also 14 generations; and from the exile to Babylon until the Messiah were another 14 generations.
He then gives additional detail of Christ's birth by recording that His mother Mary, had been engaged to Joseph, but was discovered to be pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit, before they came together in sexual union. Naturally Joseph was shocked at this news, but being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace Mary publicly, he spent time reflecting on this distressing information but finally decided to divorce his betrothed wife, secretly.
However, Jesus was not an ordinary baby, and although Mary and Joseph were simple folk, they were no ordinary couple for they had been chosen by God to raise His only begotten Son in their simple home in Nazareth. They were entrusted to raise Jesus to maturity and help prepare Him for manhood and the enormous task of redemption, for which He had been sent.
Matthew explained that an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins."
It is after Matthew's in-depth genealogy and unabridged, unflattering and embarrassing account of Mary and Joseph's betrothal and the birth of Jesus that he was finally ready to tell his Jewish readers, Now all this took place to fulfil what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:- "Behold, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a Son", whom Matthew identified as JESUS, Who is called the Messiah - "and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated "God is with us."
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gospel of Matthew and the beautiful way that he links the truth of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ with the many Old Testament prophecies that foretold of His life and ministry, His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. Thank You for telling us the end from the beginning, so that we might know the truth and be set free from slavery to sin, by faith in Him. Give me a greater understanding of Your word and more insight into the plan of redemption which threads its way throughout the old and new testaments. Help me to grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour in Whose name I pray, AMEN.