Old Testament in Jesus
When we read through the Gospels, especially that of Mathew, we find that when he and the other evangelists point to Jesus, their statements are always backed up by prophecies from the Old Testament. Mathew, however, invariably compares Jesus to great personalities in the OT and to places of important events. By this, God is teaching us about Himself through the use of things and events familiar to people; He uses old truths to instruct us in new ones. This is done chiefly with the aim of bringing the surpassing glory of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant into focus. Great personages and long cherished memories bring clarity to the divine person of Christ. Jesus' coming marks the dramatic climax to the OT as He fulfills all the prophecies made by God through His instruments, the prophets throughout the history of salvation.
The New Moses
As the supreme lawgiver of the Old Covenant, Moses prefigures Christ who gives the New Law in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7). Jesus also re-enacts experiences from Moses' infancy and his 40 days of fasting in solitude (Matt 4: 2; Ex 34: 28). Finally, Moses bears witness to Jesus greater glory at the Transfiguration (Matt 17: 1-5), where Jesus is portrayed as the prophet-like-Moses (Matt 17: 5; Deut 18: 15).
The New David
As Israel's ideal king, David foreshadows the role of Jesus, who assumes His royal throne forever (Matt 1: 1; 2: 2; Lk 1: 32-33). Jesus is greater than David (Matt 22: 41-450). His hungry disciples, like David's companions, are permitted to breech the Sabbath (Matt 12: 3). As David gave Israel rest from its enemies (2 Sam 7: 1), so also, Jesus saves Israel from its sin (Matt 1: 21).
The New Temple
The Temple at Jerusalem housed the presence of God in the midst of Israel. Similarly, Jesus comes, bearing within Himself God's glory in a more profound way; He embodies divine holiness (Matt 1: 23; 12: 6; Jn 1: 14; 2: 19-21). It is thus the Temple - God's dwelling place among His people that prepared Israel to accept Christ's incarnation. His presence is likewise embodied in a new Spiritual Temple, the Church (Matt 16: 18; 18: 20).
The New Israel
As Israel's Messiah, Jesus re-enacts the experiences of the Israelites in their exodus from Egypt (Matt 2: 15). He endures a 40-day period of testing in the desert, corresponding to Israel's 40 years of testing. Unlike Israel, however, Jesus prevails over the devil through His obedience and trust in God (Matt 4: 1-11). Jesus' disciples are now assigned Israel's vocation to be a light to the world (Matt 5: 14; Is 42: 6).
The New Solomon
Solomon the "son of David" prefigures Jesus as the royal Son of God (Mat 16: 16; 2 Sam 7: 14). Like Solomon, He receives gifts from the nations (Matt 2: 11; 1 Kings 10: 23-25). As the wise Solomon (1 Kings 3: 12) built Israel's Temple (2 Sam 7: 12-14), Jesus is wisdom-in-the-flesh (Matt 11: 19; 12: 42) and God's appointed builder of the New Temple, the Church (Matt 16: 18).
The New Jonah
Jonah, the Nineveh prophet's experience of sleeping on a ship and calming a storm (Jon 1: 1-16) anticipates Jesus with His disciples (Matt 8: 23-27). Jonah's three days in the belly of the great fish foreshadows the death and third-day Resurrection of Jesus (Matt 12: 39-41). In addition, the ministry of Jonah to the Ninevites beyond the borders of Israel anticipates the spread of Christ's Gospel to all the nations (Matt 28: 18-20).
Having now gone through these details of the fulfillment of OT prophecies in the NT through Jesus, we not only see the chronology of events, the mutual harmonisation and blending between the OT and the NT but especially come to realise that the Bible is truly the work of God, the Word of God, even though He had used human instruments to fulfill His divine plans for the world. I am sure that now when we read the Bible, it will be in greater depth, deeper understanding and most ardent love for the God in the presence of Jesus Christ that it portrays to us. May the Holy Spirit guide us in reading, listening to and carying out God's word in our daily lives.
Patrick John Ashing, Oblate OSB Cam