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Matthew (Part 2)

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Introduction to Matthew

The Gospel of Matthew was written by Matthew, also known as Levi the tax collector. He probably wrote it around 48-50 A.D. The key word is “kingdom,” and it is used 28 times. Written primarily to Jewish readers, the book reveals Jesus as the Messiah, the King of the Jews, from the line of David.

A key characteristic of Matthew’s Gospel is his emphasis on the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in the life of Christ. His repetition on this point is further evidence of Matthew’s desire to convince his Jewish audience that Jesus was the Messiah promised by Scripture. It’s true that Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection ultimately set aside the requirements of the Law, yet Matthew zooms in on Jesus’ life and teachings as a fulfillment of that Law.

Like Moses, Jesus is a great teacher, but his message is new. Matthew records several of Jesus’ longer teachings or distopics. The Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) and His speech on the Mount of Olives (Matt 24-25) are well known, but there are three other long speeches of Jesus. Watch for those because they are important.

Curiously, Jesus refers to his followers as “little ones,” probably to emphasize that humility and dependence should characterize Jesus’ disciples.

Matthew also uses a number of titles for Jesus, including Son of David, Son of God, Immanuel, and Lord, which can mean simply “Master” but may also refer to God.

As we read in Romans, Matthew wants us to understand that Jesus came first to the Jews but the gospel is for all peoples. The Great Commission makes this very clear (Matthew 28:18-20). Throughout Jesus’ ministry, there is a growing conflict between the Jewish teachers and Jerusalem’s religious leaders who do not demonstrate the righteousness that God required. This conflict peaks with Jesus’ trial and crucifixion.

Matthew 1-4 deals with the miraculous conception of Jesus, His extraordinary birth, and some events surrounding His early life, including His very important genealogy. Matthew 5-25 details the earthly ministry of Jesus; these chapters are vital to understanding Jesus as the perfect man who lived on earth and fulfilled every requirement of the Old Testament Law. The last three chapters of Matthew depict the death and resurrection of Jesus. They present the good news of how Jesus took the sins of the world upon Himself.

Matthew 7:24-27

24 Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

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