What was Jesus like?
Marvelous & Mighty
Many people marveled at Jesus (9:8, 15:31, 22:22, 22:33, 27:14). Quite a few passages state that Jesus was mighty. John Baptist teaches that Jesus is mightier than himself (3:11, John 1). Jesus said that "among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist" (11:11); so if Jesus is mightier than John Baptist, then Jesus must be the greatest of all men. Jesus says that one greater than the temple, one greater than Jonah, and one greater than Solomon is here (12:6, 12:41, 12:42).
Jesus' teaching was characterized by its authority. The people felt that Jesus "taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (7:29) and one Gentile recognized that authority (8:9).
"Who can this be..." (8:27)
"It was never seen like this in Israel!" (9:33)
"Could this be the Son of David?" (12:23)
"Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?" (13:54)
"Some say [that Jesus is] John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets" (16:14)
"Who is this?" (21:10)
"By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?" (21:23)
Jesus and the Holy Spirit, angels, and prophets
The Holy Spirit is described as having caused the conception of Jesus (1:18-20), delivered the name of Jesus (1:21), anointed Jesus at his baptism (3:16), led Jesus after his baptism (4:1), and gave him the power to cast out demons (12:28).
After his fast and temptation in the wilderness, Matthew says that "angels came and ministered to him [Jesus]" (4:1). Later, Jesus says that "more than twelve legions of angels" were at his disposal if he were but to ask his Father for them (26:53).
John, the Prophet
John Baptist was a prophet at the time of Jesus (11:9). Jesus identifies John as Elijah, who was to come before the Messiah (Malachi 4:5, Matt 11:14).
Did Jesus teach?
Teaching & Preaching
Jesus taught and preached throughout Galilee (4:23, 5:2) and in the temple in Jerusalem (23:1, 26:55) and possibly other places, though these aren't recorded. He taught in different types of settings, including synagogues (4:23, 9:35, 13:54), the temple (23:1, 26:55), mountains (5:1, 15:29), and from boats (13:2). His message was "the gospel of the kingdom" (4:23, 9:35). Jesus' first recorded message is, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"' (4:17). He taught on a wide range of topics, including: the Law (5:17-48, 22:34-40), charitable giving (6:1-6), prayer (6:7-15), fasting (6:16-18), the Sabbath (12:1-13), the kingdom of heaven (13:1-52, 22:1-14), traditions (15:1-9), divorce (19:3-9), taxes (22:17-22), the resurrection (22:23-33), the Messiah (22:41-26), etc. He also spoke in parables (13:1-52, 21:28-44, 22:1-14). Sometimes, he spoke only to his disciples (10, 13, 18, 20, 24-25).
Knowledge of the Scriptures
Jesus claimed to have an intimate knowledge and understanding of the Hebrews Scriptures (the New Testament did not exist during Jesus' earthly ministry). On one occasion, he said to some religious leaders, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God" (22:29). Twice, Jesus identified certain persons as having fulfilled specific prophecies (15:7, 13:14). Jesus interpreted his arrest as being a fulfillment of the Scriptures (26:54, 26:56).
People followed Jesus
Throughout Jesus' ministry, he was followed by multitudes of people (4:25, 8:1, 12:15, 13:2, 14:14, 15:30, 19:2, 20:29). These people were from a variety of places, including Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Decapolis, and beyond the Jordan river. Jesus also had disciples, and among them, 12 special disciples (10:1-4. Also some samples: 5:1, 12:49, 13:10, 15:32, 16:13, 20:17, 24:1, 24:3, 26:17).
People tested Jesus
The Jewish religious leaders took notice of Jesus. Both Pharisees and Sadducees tested Jesus on a number of occasions (16:1, 19:3, 22:35).
Did Jesus perform miracles?
Miracles in nature
The winds and the sea were obedient to Jesus (8:27). Jesus also fed 4,000 with seven loaves of bread and a few little fish (15:32-38) and fed 5,000 on a different occasion with fives loaves of bread and two fish (14:15-21). He sent Peter to catch a fish that contained temple tax money for himself and Peter (17:27). Also, a fig tree immediately withered when Jesus cursed it (21:19).
Jesus performed many healings for "people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments" (4:24). This includes: fever (8:15), bleeding (9:22), blindness (9:30, 12:22, 15:30, 21:14), the mute (9:33, 12:22, 15:30), paralysis (4:24, 8:13, 9:7), the lame (15:30, 21:14), withered limbs (12:13), the maimed (15:30), leprosy (8:3), epilepsy (4:24), and demon-possession (4:24, 8:16, 8:32, 9:33, 12:22, 15:28, 17:18). On some occasions, he healed numbers of people (4:24, 12:15, 14:14, 15:30, 14:36, 21:14, 19:2). He also raised the dead (9:25).
Miracles surrounding Jesus himself
During Jesus' ministry, he was transfigured before three of his disciples and became glorious to behold (17:2). When Jesus died, the veil of the temple was torn in two, there was an earthquake, and many dead people came back to life (27:51-53).
Jesus' disciples performed miracles, too
Jesus' disciples also performed signs. Jesus "gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease" (10:1).
Religious leaders demanded a sign from Jesus (12:38, 16:1), but the only sign that Jesus gave them was Jonah, saying "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
Did Jesus make any claims about himself?
Who did Jesus claim to be?
Jesus affirmed his identity on three occasions. First was with his disciples. After asking them who they thought he was, Peter responded, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (16:16). Jesus blessed Peter and told his disciples not to tell anyone who he was. Later, before the Jewish council, the high priest demanded, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" (16:64) Jesus responded, "It is as you said." A little later that day, governor Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?" (17:11) Jesus responded in the same way as before, saying, "It is as you say."
Only God can forgive sins
Jesus claimed to have "power on earth to forgive sins" (9:6). He demonstrated his power by performing a physical miracle at the same time. The Jews were offended because only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:7).
Only God is good
On one occasion, someone came up to Jesus and addressed him as "Good Teacher." Jesus asked the man, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, God" (19:17). Jesus did not affirm or deny that he was good, but he left an open question: if Jesus is good, then he must be God because only God is good.
Only God is to be worshiped
The commandments given to the nation of Israel in the days of Moses made it clear that only the one true God was to be worshiped (Ex 20). Jesus affirmed this during his temptation in the wilderness when he said, "You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve" (4:10). Yet, there were occasions where people worshiped Jesus and he did not stop them. Two of these took place after his resurrection (28:9, 28:17). Earlier, during the last week of his earthly ministry, "the children [were] crying out in the temple and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" (21:15) The chief priests and scribes were very upset and brought this to Jesus' attention. In response, Jesus quoted Psalm 8:2 "Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise." It seems that Jesus was saying that it was right for the children to praise him, who is God.
Only God sends prophets
Only God sent true prophets. In Jeremiah 23:16, God warns the people not to listen to people who call themselves prophets and yet "speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the LORD." Yet, Jesus said on one occasion, "Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets" (23:34).
When John Baptist spoke about the Coming One, he described both the threshing floor and the wheat as belonging to him - but that the chaff would be burned (3:12). Jesus describes the heavenly angels as being the Son of Man's (13:41) and said that the Son of Man "will come in the glory of His Father" (16:27) and will sit "on the throne of his glory" (19:28, 25:31).
Did Jesus make any claims about his power?
Fulfillment of the Scriptures
Jesus claimed that he would fulfill the Law and the Prophets (5:17).
Jesus claimed that his blood would be shed for the remission of sins and that this would be in the establishment of a new covenant (26:28).
Only way to God
Jesus claimed that only God's Son knew God (11:27) - meaning that only he knew the Father - and that only God's Son could reveal the Father to others. He also claimed that whoever confesses him before men, that Jesus will confess him before his Father in heaven (10:22).
Judgment and Authority
Jesus claimed to know who would fare better in the coming judgment (11:21-24) and who would enter into the kingdom of God (21:31). He also claimed that the Son of Man would be the one to reward each (16:27). After Jesus' resurrection, he claimed to have all authority: "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth" (28:18).
Jesus claimed to have an intimate knowledge of the kingdom of heaven. He taught about the kingdom in Matthew chapter 13 and specifically on the topic of marriage and the resurrection in chapter 22. Jesus also made a statement about God's presence in Matthew 18:10 when he said, "in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven."
Jesus claimed that in the future, he would always be with his followers (28:20) and that "where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (18:20).
Did Jesus make any claims about the future?
Jesus' death and resurrection
Jesus predicted that he would be betrayed by one of his 12 disciples, condemned by the Jews, killed by means of crucifixion, buried three days, and that he would rise to life again (12:40, 17:22-23, 20:18-19, 26:2, 26:12, 26:21-25, 27:63). He also predicted Peter's denial (26:34).
Destruction of the temple
Jesus predicted the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem (24:2).
Jesus claimed that he would do many things:
"I will make you fishers of men" (4:19)
"I will build My church" (16:18)
"I will give you rest" (11:28)
"I will go before you to Galilee" (26:32)
Jesus claimed that he many things would happen, including (but not limited to):
"they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (24:30)
"you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven" (26:64)
"then I will declare to [those who do not do the will of My Father in heaven], 'I never knew you'" (7:23)
"You who have followed me [the 12 disciples] will also sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (19:28)
"I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom" (26:29)
How did people address Jesus?
The disciples addressed Jesus as Lord (8:21, 8:25). This includes Peter (14:28, 16:22, 17:4, 18:21). Peter is also the disciple who identified Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of the living God" (16:16). However, when Peter denied Jesus, he referred to him as "the Man" (26:72, 26:74). The leper and centurion who had faith in Jesus addressed him as "Lord" (8:1, 8:5-6, 8:8). Four blind men and a Canaanite woman in the region of Tyre/Sidon all addressed Jesus as the Son of David (9:27-28, 20:30-33, 15:22, 15:25, 15:27). In the two places where Judas addressed Jesus, he called him "Rabbi" rather than "Lord" (26:25, 26:49). The religious leaders also addressed Jesus as "Teacher" (9:11, 12:38). Demons addressed Jesus as "Jesus, You Son of God" (8:29).
How does the Gospel of Matthew refer to Jesus?
(These counts are approximates. I haven't QC'd them. They include titles of address, narrative references, and prophetic references.)
'Jesus' appears 171 times. In Hebrews, the name Jesus means "the LORD is salvation."
'Young Child' appears 7 times.
'the carpenter's son' appears 1 time.
'this man' appears 2 times.
'the man' appears 2 times.
'of Galilee' appears 2 times.
'of Nazareth/Nazarene' appears 2 times.
'Rabbi/Teacher' appears 12 times.
'Good Teacher' appears 1 time.
'Prophet' appears 4 times.
'My Servant' appears 1 time.
'Just Person/Just Man" appears 2 times.
'innocent blood' appears 1 time.
'in whom [God] is well pleased' appears 3 times.
'that deceiver' appears 1 time.
'This fellow' appears 2 times.
'the Coming One' appears 1 time.
'Son of Man' appears 31 times.
'Christ' appears 16 times. 'Jesus Christ' or 'Jesus the Christ' or 'Jesus who is called Christ' 6 times.
'Son of David' appears 7 times in reference to Jesus, once in reference to Joseph, the husband of Mary.
'your King' appears 1 time.
'the king' appears 2 times.
'King of the Jews' appears 4 times.
'King of Israel' appears 1 time.
'Ruler' appears 1 time.
Facts about Messiah
Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:5).
Elijah would come first (Matthew 17:10).
Messiah would be the Son of David (Matthew 1:1).
'Lord' appears 30 times.
'Lord of the Sabbath' appears 1 time.
'LORD' appears 1 time. (3:3)
'Shepherd' appears 1 time.
'Son of God' or 'Son of the living God' appears 9 times.
'My Son' appears 3 times.
'My Beloved' appears 1 time.
Jesus also called God his Father
'My Father [who is] in heaven' appears 7 times.
'My Heavenly Father' appears 2 times.
'My Father' appears 8 times.