JANUARY 5, 2022
The Gospel of Matthew
Welcome to day/unit 5 of an overview of the entire New Testament.
Personal Application: As we navigate crazy Covid and an even crazier culture, Christ comforts us! Jesus tells us what we need to hear and heed often in Matthew 11:28-30,
”28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (And all God’s people said/say: “AMEN!”)
Basic Background Information on the Gospel of Matthew:
Author: Matthew (is also know as Levi - see Mark 2:13-14). As a called disciple of Jesus, Matthew was an eyewitness of much of what he records in his Gospel. The specific account (Matthew’s mini-autobiography) where Jesus calls Matthew to follow Him, is recorded in Matthew 9:9-13.
Before Jesus called Matthew to follow Him, he was a tax collector. Tax collectors were often Jewish men appointed by the Romans and despised and hated by the ordinary people. Tax collectors were often rich (and dishonest) and considered unrepentant sinners by the religious authorities. Yet, it is this sinful tax collector named Levi or Matthew who Jesus called and transformed to be one of His Disciples!
Date Written: LCMS resources generally indicate Matthew was written about 50 AD. Some scholars say it could have been in the late 50s or 60s.
Intended Audience: Matthew clearly shows that Jesus is the Messiah Who fulfills God’s Old Testament covenant He originally made with Abraham (Genesis 15, 17). Matthew specifically magnifies for a Jewish reader that Jesus is the long awaited, promised Messiah Who fulfills all of God’s prophecies and promises of salvation for God’s chosen people.
Major Theme(s): Matthew stresses the Kingdom of Heaven or “the rule and reign of God” (as commentator Rev. Dr. Jeff Gibbs puts it) has arrived through Jesus. The phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” or “Kingdom of God” is used 48 times in Matthew (CSB, p.1577). Matthew mostly uses “Kingdom of Heaven (31 times) and repeatedly demonstrates Jesus is the promised Messiah (Christ) or Anointed One of God.
Discipleship is another major theme throughout Matthew. Matthew often quotes Jesus saying: “Follow me.” For examples, see Matthew 4:19, Matthew 9:9, Matthew 10:38-39, and Matthew 16:24-26. (You can input these verses quickly into www.Biblegateway.com)
Outline and Content: Matthew is one of the 3 Synoptic Gospels along with Mark and Luke. Synoptic means “Seen together.” Gospel = “Good News.” The four Gospels each tell us of the life, saving actions, teachings, mracles, and Ministry of Jesus from different points of view. They do not contradict one another, but they complement one another with material that is the same, similar, and/or unique.
- Matthew has 28 chapters.
- Matthew’s account records 5 major discourses of Jesus thoughout the Gospel (chapters 5-7, 10, 13, 18, 24-25).
Some Examples of OT/NT Connections in Matthew: Matthew 1: 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
- The Prophet Isaiah (7:14) specifically predicted all of this we read in Matthew 1 about 800 years before it happened.
Another Old Testament Prophecy is fulfilled in Matthew 2:13 Now when [the Magi] had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
- This fulfills the prophesy made in Hosea 11:1.
Matthew 21 records the Palm Sunday account with details about Jesus entering Jerusalem on a “colt, the foal of a donkey,” which fulfills what the prophet Zecharaiah predicted in 9:9.
Some Material Unique to Matthew:
- Matthew traces the genealogy (or family tree) of Jesus from Abraham. Obviously, Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. As the husband of the virgin Mary, Joseph was the legal father of Jesus, and Joseph’s ancestry connects Jesus with the line of David and as the fulfillment of God’s Covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15 & 17).
- Matthew 2 is the only place in Scripture which records the story of the Magi (or Wise Men) being led to worship Jesus (when he was likely about age 2) and the journey of the Holy Family to Egypt in order to escape the plans of evil Herod.
- Matthew records the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus (Matthew 5-7). The Beatitudes of Jesus are in Matthew 5:1-12.
- Jesus wraps up His sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:12 by giving us the so-called Golden Rule with an Old Testament connection: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
- Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7 - “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
- This statement of Jesus is unique to Matthew 9:35, “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
- Matthew lists the names of all the 12 Disciples in Matthew 10:1-4.
- If you are interested in parables, READ Matthew 13. It is a chapter filled with Parables of Jesus. It also explains that Jesus using parables is fulfillment of a prophecy from Isaiah (See Mt. 13:14-15 quoting Isaiah 6:9-10; this is yet another OT connection and fulfillment in Matthew!).
Matthew 13:34-35, 34 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables;
I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”
- Matthew 13:55-56 shares unique details about the family of Jesus, including names of 4 step-brothers: “55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”
- Matthew 24-25 There is a large amount of unique material in these two chapters of Matthew about the predictions, parables, and teachings of Jesus related to His Second Coming and the Final Judgement.
- Only Matthew has Christ’s full Great Commission with the Trinitarian formula for baptizing (Matthew 28:18-20).
Matthew 1 begins with a detailed genealogy of Jesus followed by a brief account of the birth of Jesus Christ.
A bunch of old names in a long genealogy may sound boring, but it is actually fascinating and magnifies the specificity of God’s revelation in actual human history!
NOTE some of the notorious sinners included in Christ’s family tree! Matthew 1:5 lists Rahab as part of the family tree of Jesus. Rahab was the Gentile prostitute who helped the Israelites spy on Canaan before Jericho was destroyed (Joshua 2). Likewise, Matthew 1:6 says “And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah…” Remember, Uriah was the man David arranged to be killed as part of his affair with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba! Yes, Jesus came from heaven to earth in the midst of sinners to save sinners (like all of us)!
The Lutheran Study Bible(LSB) provides profound comments on Christ’s sin-filled human genealogy or family tree (p.1578 of LSB): In the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Matthew makes no effort to hide sinners. Instead, he highlights them. Jesus’ancestors include prostitutes, adulterers, violent men, and other sinners of all descriptions. Though this might surprise us, the truth is that there were no people other than sinners to make up His genealogy. Jesus’ ancestors needed a Savior just a much as we do. If God, in His grace, can use such flawed and sinful people, how much more can He bless and use sinners who witness the Messiah’s sinless sacrifice and believe in Him today!
+Prayer+ Lord Jesus, thank You for including me, a sinner, among those You came to save. Amen.
More Personal Application of the Gospel of Matthew:
- As we face many storms of life, Matthew reminds us to put our faith in the One Who still stills storms! Matthew 8: 23 And when [Jesus] got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
- We observe the Festival of Epiphany each year on January 6th. The Ephipany season lasts until Ash Wednesday. Yes, wise men (and women) still seek Jesus! As we follow Jesus in our journey of faith and life, let’s re-read and reflect upon Matthew 2, a unique chapter where Matthew shares fascinating details about the Magi, evil Herod the Great, the story of the Holy Family in Egypt, and their return to live in Nazareth.
Can you think of another personal favorite passage or story from the Gospel of Matthew?
(Use your Bible or www.Biblegateway.com to help find a favorite verse.)
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for revealing the Kingdom of Heaven to us through Jesus and giving us Your Good News story of salvation through the Gospel of Matthew. You sent Jesus to save sinners - like former tax collector Matthew - and us.
Jesus, we need you!
Love us. Help us. Heal us. Forgive us. Save us, Jesus. Amen.
Pastor Scott Schmieding
Immanuel Lutheran Church and School
115 S. Sixth Street
Saint Charles, MO 63301