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The identity of Jesus

As well as showing how Jesus fulfils the law and prophets, Matthew also comments that ‘something greater than the temple is here’ (Matt. 12.6). Jesus’ identity runs through the opening chapters as the fulfilment of the Jewish hopes – a new Abraham to bless the Gentiles, a new Moses to enter all the lands, a new David to bring the consummation, even a new Israel to triumph in the wilderness. While Jesus refers to himself as ‘the teacher’ in 26.18 (and the ‘one teacher’ of 23.8), the disciples never call him teacher in Matthew: only opponents and questioners use this address (8.19; 9.11; 12.38; 17.24; 19.16; 22.16, 24, 36) – and ‘Rabbi’ is the salutation from the traitor, Judas (26.25, 49). Jesus is the Teacher – but he is much more than this: in Matthew, the disciples and those who ask for help call him kyrie, ‘Lord’ (8.2, 6, 8, 21, 25; 9.28; 14.28, 30; 15.22, 25, 27; 16.22; 17.4, 15; 18.21; 20.30, 31, 33; 26.22)…

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