The King’s new message was closely related to the message of the Old Testament and was a reaffirmation of it. Yet the emphasis of the gospel (“good news”) was radically different from the current understanding of the Old Testament—and Christ’s message struck violently against the Jewish tradition of His day.
We must see that the testing of Jesus had its place in God’s plan for his Son. The Spirit had just come on Jesus at the baptism, and that same Spirit now leads him to where the truth of that sonship would become clear through the process of resisting temptation.
Matthew introduces John the Baptist as the exact fulfillment of prophecy, and he ties together the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. There had not been a prophet in Israel for four hundred years, since Malachi. But after four hundred silent years, the flow of God’s revelation starts again as Matthew picks up precisely where Malachi left off.
The four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—all sound the same. Yet each Gospel has a distinct melody of its own. And just as we can recognize the melody of “Ode to Joy” each time we hear the first four notes, so can we recognize Matthew’s melody if we hear the recurring themes.