The Gospel According to Matthew

Matthew 1 – 13

Divine Author                         God the Holy Spirit                                        2 Timothy 3:16

Human Author                        Matthew                                                          Tradition

Date of Writing                       c. AD 50 – c. AD 70                                       Prior to the fall of Jerusalem

Theme                                     The Gospel of the King                                  Matthew 4:17

Purpose                                   To Present Christ as Messiah                       Matthew 1:1-17

To Proclaim the Gospel to all Nations           Matthew 28:18-20

The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the earliest accounts of the life of Christ, covering His birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. The narrative, according to tradition, ascribes the gospel to Matthew, a tax collector. He is listed as one of the original Twelve Disciples whom Jesus called to be with Him during the days of His ministry, until His ascension.  

“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him” (Matt. 9:9).

“Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus” (Matt. 10:3).

Within 40 years after the Lord’s ascension, Matthew, led by the Holy Spirit, decided to record what he, and others remembered about Jesus. There were certain themes Matthew wanted others to keep in mind.

First, Matthew wanted to present Jesus as the fulfillment of all the promises made to Israel, beginning with Abraham. Matthew presents Jesus as the Messiah from the tribe of David with a legal right to the throne.

Second, Matthew wanted to present Jesus as a greater Lawgiver than Moses. In the Sermon on the Mount, while referencing Moses and the Law, Jesus would say, “But I say unto you.” 

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt. 5:43, 44).

The comparison and contrast of Jesus to Moses would have been of compelling interest to the Jewish audience to whom Matthew wrote.

Moses was of humble birth.                           Jesus was born in a stable. 

Moses was exalted to Pharaoh’s royal court. Jesus was given all power in heaven and earth. 

Moses left Egypt, the place of his birth,     Jesus left heaven, the place of His eternal dwelling,  
to help save others.                                           to seek and to save the lost.

Moses passed through the baptismal waters   Jesus passed through the waters of baptism
of the Red Sea.                                                of the Jordan River.                 

Moses was in the wilderness for 40 years.     Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days.

Moses received the Law of God.                    Jesus wrote the Law as God.

Moses gave the Law to Israel.                        Jesus gave the principles of His kingdom Laws to
                                                                     Israel, and then to all. 

Moses was a great prophet of God                 Jesus is the Greater Prophet of whom Moses spoke.
      Study Deuteronomy 18:15

Moses spoke face to face with God.               Jesus spoke face to face with God.
Study Deut. 34:12; Num. 12:8                       Study John 1:1

Moses was listened to by the Hebrews.          Jesus is to be listened to.
Study Deut. 18: 15                                          Acts 3:22-23

There are other analogies to be made between Moses and Jesus, but these will suffice to demonstrate what Matthew wanted to do.

Third, Matthew wanted to present Jesus as God with us. Not only is Jesus the legal King of Israel, a new Lawgiver, He is Emmanuel.

To accomplish these objectives, Matthew organizes his writing around several main sections. Each section presents a specific teaching.

This outline was by divine design because all Scripture is God-breathed. The Holy Spirit used the natural gifts of each author in writing Scripture, but the product was of God.

As an educated man, as a tax collector, Matthew had a logical mind, and that is reflected in the various sections.

In Matthew’s Gospel, chapters 1 – 3, the divine narrative unites the life of Jesus to the Old Testament. Jesus is the son of David, who is the son of Abraham. The word “son” is to be understood in the sense of “descendent”. Jesus Christ is a descent of David, which means He is of the Messianic line with a legal right to sit on the throne of Israel. Though his position in life is that of an exiled king, Joseph is a rightful heir to the throne and by way of extension, so is Jesus.

Jesus Christ is also said to be a descendent of Abraham, which means the promise given to Abraham to be a blessing to all the nations finds fulfillment in the Lord. Today, from every tongue, tribe, and nation, the name of Jesus is a blessing. Prophesy is fulfilled.

In the birth of Christ, Jesus is united to the Old Testament prophesies, which anticipated the Messiah would be of a lowly birth and have a humble beginning. “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:2-3). Nevertheless, the time would come when Jesus would become the Desire of all nations, for He is no mere human, He is Emmanuel, God with us.

In Matthew, chapters 4 – 7, there is the record of the temptation of Jesus, followed by the announcement of God’s kingdom. To make this announcement, Jesus left Nazareth, travelled north to Capernaum, on the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim, beyond Jordan, to Galilee of the Gentiles (Matt. 4:15). “From that time, Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matt. 4:17).

The kingdom of heaven refers to an alternative spiritual reality to the kingdoms of this world. In the kingdom of heaven evil is confronted and righteously judged, the Lord is recognized as sovereign, and there is a new family, the family of God.

You will notice we say “brother
and sister” ’round here-
It’s because we’re a family
and these folks are so near;
When one has a heartache
we all share the tears,
And rejoice in each victory
In this family so dear.

I’m so glad I’m a part
of the family of God-
I’ve been washed in the fountain,
cleansed by His blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus
as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the family,
the family of God.

~Bill Gaither

The citizens of the kingdom of heaven, those who comprise the family of God, are instructed how to live for their happiness, and God’s glory. The essential teaching is set forth in the Sermon on the Mount.

In the Sermon Jesus teaches that all are welcome to the kingdom of God based on gospel repentance. Those who come will not negate the Law of Moses, but fulfil the spiritual dynamics of the Moral Law.

Kingdom Citizens are faithful to the Lord God and worship none other.

Kingdom Citizens are not idolaters.

Kingdom Citizens do not take the name of the eternal God in vain.

Kingdom Citizens do not forget to rest and worship.

Kingdom Citizens honor fathers and mothers.

Kingdom Citizens do not murder.

Kingdom Citizens are morally upright.

Kingdom Citizens do not steal.

Kingdom Citizens do not lie or give false testimony against their neighbor.

Kingdom Citizens do not covet what others have.

Who does not want to be part of the kingdom of heaven? Who does not want to live where hearts are transformed, and there is a capacity to love one another, including one’s enemies?

Following the Sermon on the Mount, chapters 8 – 10 of the Gospel of Matthew records the story of nine broken lives made whole by the kingdom of heaven. There three sets of threes.

First Set:         A leper                        A Centurion                A sick mother

First Interlude

The Call to Follow Jesus

 Second Set:    Stormy seas                 Demon possessed       A paralyzed man

Second Interlude

The Call to Follow Jesus

Third Set:        A dead girl                  Two blind men            A deaf mute   / A sick woman                      

The overarching message for those who received grace is that they should show grace. Those who have been blessed, should bless others. Those who have been led to Jesus, must be like Jesus.

This message was learned by The Twelve for Christ sent them out to preach the gospel they had learned.

In chapter 10, the Disciples are told what to say as they went forth to evangelize, and what to expect.

Some would accept the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and repent. Others, such as the Scribes and Pharisees would reject the gospel of the kingdom of heaven.

In Matthew chapters 11 – 13 the holy author records how people responded to Jesus.

As foretold, some loved Jesus and followed Him as the Messiah.

Others were skeptical, including John the Baptist who had a lapse of faith in his cousin, and needed to be reassured. Some members of Jesus’ own family were also skeptical, until after His resurrection.

Then there were the leaders of Israel. As a collective group, the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Herodians, and the scribes opposed Jesus. They set their hearts to silence Him any way possible, even to the point of murder. The religious leaders convinced themselves Jesus was a False Messiah. They said He was a blasphemer, and leading people away from Moses, the Law, and God.

Aware of the collective hostility to His ministry, Jesus spoke in parables in Matthew 13 about the kingdom of heaven. Using familiar images such as a farmer, a mustard seed, a pearl, or buried treasure, the Lord commented on those who accepted the kingdom, those who were ambivalent or skeptical about the kingdom, and those who rejected it.

Despite the skeptics and those who reject the kingdom, Jesus assured the people it would not stop spreading.

It is a wonderful gospel Matthew records, for it is full of hope. When people lose hope in God, in themselves, and in the future, despair and death are all that is left.

Jesus is telling His disciples in every generation; the best is yet to come.

As you study the Gospel of Matthew, look for the following.

First, look for quotations from the Old Testament. There are approximately 100 references to the Hebrew Scriptures in the Gospel of Matthew. About 40 of these are actual quotations. Take the time to read the references in their historical context. You will be blessed.

Second, study the people who accepted Jesus and followed Him. Perhaps you can identify with someone for these individuals are given to the Church as examples. Many converts to Christ are the poor, the uninformed, and the non-religious. “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1 Cor. 1:26).

Third, write down the promises of God, as the Holy Spirit reveals them to you. Hide the Word in your own heart, and for this reason. All doctrine should be practical, and all practice should be doctrinal.

He who has ears to hear, and eyes to see, behold the King, and His kingdom. Enter the kingdom by repentance and live your life as a Kingdom Citizens.

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