The first words of Matthew's Gospel are, "The book of Genesis". Perhaps this is meant to remind us of something?
In addition, perhaps the final verses of Matthew's Gospel are also meant to remind us of something?
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Mt 28:18-20, ESV).
Now compare that with the final verse of the Hebrew Bible (which finishes with 2 Chronicles):
"Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him. Let him go up'" (2 Chr 36:23, ESV).
In fact, putting these two observations together,
Matthew’s gospel begins like Genesis and ends like Chronicles, and thus encompasses the entirety of the Hebrew canon.
So says Peter Leithart in a fascinating article, Jesus as Israel: The Typological Structure of Matthew’s Gospel.
If Matthew begins like the beginning of the Old Testament and ends like the end of the Old Testament, we might wonder whether the intervening material will hint at the rest of the Old Testament. It does. Drawing on Leithart's article (with the five major discourses in bold)...
- Matthew 1–4: A wicked king tries to kill all the children, but one child is rescued, taken out of Egypt, passes through the waters and is tested in the wilderness.
- 5–7: Jesus gives the law on the mountain (like Moses)
- 8–9: Ten miracles (in contrast to the ten rebellions of Israel in the wilderness)
- 10: Jesus sends the Twelve into the land with authority (like Moses and Joshua)
- 11–12: Jesus is compared with David and Solomon, and offers rest
- 13: Jesus gives the parables of the kingdom (like Solomon)
- 14–17: A wicked king opposes God's prophet (like Ahab/Jezebel and Elijah). This prophet's (greater) successor performs many miracles (reminiscent of Elisha's miracles)
- 18: Jesus gives rules for his church (like Elisha giving rules to the "sons of the prophets")
- 19–23: The prophet comes to the temple in Jerusalem and speaks against it
- 24–25: Jesus speaks about the destruction of the temple and the end of the age (like Jeremiah or Ezekiel)
- 26–28: "Jesus experiences the exile and restoration of Israel herself in His death and resurrection"