Jeremiah and Christ: Messianic Expectations

Matthew is the first book of the New Testament. He is one of the twelve Disciples of Christ and happens to be the only person to reference Jeremiah in the New Testament, calling him out by name. Within the book, Matthew mentions Jeremiah on three separate occasions. In Matthew 2:17, 16:4, and 27:9. Each reference is significant as Matthew and Jesus recognize Jeremiah as a prophet and the fulfillment of the coming of the Messiah.

The book of Matthew provides backstory of the Israelites and the coming of Christ. Throughout second chapter of Matthew, the narrative “appear to be arguments from the Torah that Jesus was the messiah and the fulfillment of the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants”, (Cambell 6).  The passage Matthew 2:17 directly quote Jeremiah 31:15. It repeats the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy that, “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children because they were not” (Jeremiah 31:15). Both passages refer to an important time in Jewish history. This is the conquest of the Babylonians over Jerusalem. It was a time of suffering for Jews after coming to the Promised Land. During this time, Jeremiah was called by God to prophesize to the Jewish people and the King, to follow and put their faith in God. However, Jeremiah’s words fell on deaf ears. The people continued to turn away from God and fell into a long period of misery. The passage is important not because of the weeping, however the events that unfold after. Rachael is symbolism for the people of Israel. After she wept, her tears were silenced and she was renewed. She was given a promise that “there is hope” and “they shall come again from the  land of the enemy”, (Jeremiah 31: 16-17).

Because Matthew refers to Jeremiah 31:15 in his narrative, it indicates that Matthew acknowledged the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy. He is also associating the story of Jeremiah to the story of Christ. Christ represents the fulfillment of the coming messiah. Through the coming of the messiah God is fulfilling his promise and ensures that Christ will save the people, delivery them, and bring them back into God’s mercy and kindness.

Jeremiah is also referenced by name in Matthew 16:14. Here, Jesus turns to his disciples and asks them curiously what the people think of him. The disciples answer honestly that, “thou art John the Baptist, some Elias, and others Jeremias or one of the prophets”, (Matthew 16:14). Many scholars indicate that Jeremiah is referenced to help understand how Jesus was compared, believing that he may be a prophet and not the Son of God. However, one scholar indicates that Jesus and Jeremiah are compared “not for messianic verification but because Jeremiah spoke against the temple while standing within in” (Winkle 158).  Jeremiah was a fearless prophet who continuously attempted to change the people and foretold their suffering. Doing this he spoke against the temple. He called it as a place for politics and false prophets and not with God. Jesus too did this. He preached against man and his idolatry within the temples. Due to this similarity, Winkle felt that this reference, like Jeremiah 31:15 indicates a messianic undertone.

 

 

 Reference

 

Winkle, R. (1986). The Jeremiah Model for Jesus in the Temple. Andrews University Seminary Studies 24(2) 155-172. Andrews University Press. Retrieved from: http://www.auss.info/auss_publication_file.php?pub_id=730&journal=1&type=pdf

Campbell, L. (2000). Matthew’s Use of the Old Testement: A preliminary analysis. Zenos Online Journal. Issue 3, pp. 1-37. The Crossroads Project. Retrieved from: http://www.xenos.org/ministries/crossroads/onlinejournal/issue3/mtmain.htm

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About Russia Robinson

I am an independent freelance writer and free thinker. I strive to use my writing talents to benefit the greater good of society, one word, one sentence, one page at a time. Originally from Richmond, California I attended San Francisco State University receiving a BA in English Creative Writing and American Literature in 2004. After this I attended post graduate studies in 2008 at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University in Technical Writing. With an academic background in English, I have spent more than 10 years’ helping young people succeed. This can be seen in my career background in education and mental health. I am a certifiable Language Arts teacher for the state of Georgia. I also worked in social services including juvenile mental health treatment services and counseling. As a result, I understand the diversity of problems people face in their everyday lives. With words put together like so, I promote equality and a healthy society for all people regardless of individual differences. Conducting research, writing articles, essays, and blogging, I push to educate others about various issues that affect people. I also do this creatively through short stories, poems, pictures, and a novel in progress. My hobbies and interest are reading and learning. I enjoy all things art and all things nature. From camping and astronomy to photography and cooking, I enjoy sighting seeing and socializing just as much as I enjoy curling in bed with a good book or binge watching TV.
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