Book of Matthew

From Issue: Discovery 7/1/2016

The Bible speaks of only one Gospel, but Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John present four separate accounts of the arrival of the “good news.” The apostle Matthew, whose name means “gift of the Lord,” was a Jewish tax collector—a job usually looked down upon by the Jews, especially when the collected taxes were for their Roman conquerors. Matthew was also known as “Levi” (Mark 2:14). He wrote this book prior to the destruction of Jerusalem (24:2).

By inspiration of God, Matthew gives five great speeches of Christ: (1) the Sermon on the Mount (chs. 5-7); (2) instructions given when Christ sends out His 12 apostles (ch. 10); (3) the kingdom parables (ch. 13); (4) dealing with feelings of pride and superiority in the kingdom (ch. 18); and (5) predictions about the fall of Jerusalem (24:1-35) and the second coming of Christ (24:36-25:46). Each speech ends with the same basic phrase—“When Jesus had finished these sayings….”

Central Theme:

Matthew wrote to the Jews so that they could know for sure that Jesus of Nazareth was truly the King/Messiah (or the “anointed one”) foretold by the Old Testament prophets. He was the long-awaited “Son of David” (Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; 12:23) and Son of Abraham (1:1) through whom all families would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). Matthew emphasizes that since Jesus is King, all Jews (and non-Jews—28:19) must submit to Him, bow before Him, and accept His kingdom. [NOTE: The word “kingdom” is found 56 times in Matthew, mostly in reference to God’s heavenly kingdom.] Matthew 5:17-20 gives the basic message of the book by telling of the fulfillment and completion of Mosaic religion in the work of Christ through His teaching and sacrifice, and the establishment of His kingdom.

Outline of Matthew:
  1:1-4:11   The King’s credentials (His genealogy, birth, baptism, and temptations)
  4:12-14:12   The King’s Galilean ministry
 14:13-17:21     The King’s outer Galilean ministry
  17:22-18:35   The King’s return to Galilee
  19-20   The King’s ministry in Judea and Perea
  21-27   The King’s final week on Earth before His crucifixion
  28   The King’s victory over death

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