Gospel according to Matthew . First of the New Testament books , originally written in Hebrew and later translated into Greek. It dates from around the year 41 AD and serves as a bridge between the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Greek Scriptures.
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- 1 Background
- 2 Purpose
- 3 Panoramic vision
- 4 Special Features
- 5 Sketch
- 6 Sources
This gospel should be placed in order first because it is an introduction to the New Testament and the person of Jesus Christ. Although the author is not mentioned in the biblical text, the unanimous testimony of the early church fathers (from about 130) is that this gospel was written by Matthew, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. While the Gospel of Mark was written for the Romans, and that of Luke for Theophilus and all Gentile believers, the Gospel according to Matthew was written for Jewish believers. The Jewish background of this gospel is evident for several reasons, some of which are:
- Support in Old Testament revelation, promises, and prophecy to prove that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah.
- His verification of the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham .
- The repetition that Jesus is “the Son of David “.
- The use of preferred Jewish terminology as ” kingdom of heaven ” (synonymous with “kingdom of God”) due to the reverent reluctance of the Jews to speak the name of God directly.
- His reference to Jewish customs without explanation, unlike the other Gospels.
However, this gospel is not just for the Jews. Like the message of Jesus Christ Himself, the Gospel according to Matthew was finally addressed to the whole church, faithfully revealing its universal reach.
The date and place of origin have not been determined, but there is good reason to believe that Matthew wrote it before 70 AD while he was in Palestine or in Antioch in Syria. Some of the biblical scholars think that the first of the four written gospels was Matthew; others attribute that place to the Gospel of Mark.
Matthew wrote this gospel in order to provide his readers with an eyewitness account of the life of Jesus, to assure them that Jesus Christ is the long-awaited Son of God and Messiah that the Old Testament prophets had announced, and to demonstrate that the God’s kingdom was manifested in Jesus Christ in an unprecedented way. Matthew was interested in implying that most of Israel rejected Jesus and his kingdom, refusing to believe, because he came as a spiritual and not a political Messiah, and that only at the end of the world will Jesus Christ come in glory, as the King of kings , to judge and govern the nations.
Matthew presents Jesus as the fulfillment of Israel’s prophetic hope. As evidenced in the text, he fulfills the Old Testament prophecy in: the way and place of his birth, the return from Egypt , the residence in Nazareth , the existence of a messianic predecessor ( John the Baptist ), the main location of his public ministry ( Galilee ), his works of healing, his role as God’s servant, his teachings in parables, his triumphal entry into Jerusalem , and everything concerning his arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection. Chapters 5-25 record five main discourses of Jesus and five narrations about his messianic exploits. The five discourses are: the sermon on the mount (chapters 5-7), the instructions to itinerant kingdom preachers (chapter 10), the parables of the kingdom (chapter 13), the character of true disciples (chapter 18), and the discourse on the Mount of Olives about the end of the world (chapters 8 and 9). The top five stories in this gospel are:
- Jesus performs great wonders and miracles as testimony to the reality of the kingdom of God (chapters 8 and 9).
- Jesus continues to demonstrate the presence of the kingdom of God (chapters 11 and 12).
- The proclamation of the kingdom of God causes various crises (chapters 14-17).
- Jesus travels to Jerusalem and spends his last week there (chapters 19-26).
- Jesus is judged, crucified, and risen from the dead (chapters 26-28).
The last three verses of the gospel constitute the great commission :
[…] All power is given to me in heaven and on earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to keep all the things that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Amen. – Matthew 28: 18-20 King James Version
There are seven main characteristics of this gospel:
- It is the most Jewish of the New Testament Gospels.
- It contains the most systematic provision of the teaching of Jesus’ healing and deliverance ministry.
- The five main discourses contain the most extensive texts of the Gospels on the teachings of Jesus during his ministry in Galilee and on eschatology .
- It identifies events in the life of Jesus as fulfillment of the Old Testament more frequently than any other book in the New Testament.
- He mentions the kingdom of heaven (kingdom of God) twice more than any other gospel.
- Matthew highlights the fair rules of the kingdom, the kingdom’s current power over sin, disease, demons, and even death, and the kingdom’s triumph in ultimate victory at the end of the world.
- It is the only gospel that mentions the church as a future entity that belongs to Jesus Christ (16:18; 18:17).
- Presentation of the Messiah (1: 1-4: 11)
- The Jewish lineage of Jesus (1: 1-17)
- His birth and flight to Egypt (1: 18-2: 23)
- The prophetic forerunner of the Messiah (3: 1-12)
- The baptism of the Messiah (3: 13-17)
- The temptation of the Messiah (4: 1-11)
- Jesus’ messianic ministry in and around Galilee (4: 12-18: 35)
- Summary of his early ministry in Galilee (4: 12-25)
- Discourse regarding discipleship in the kingdom (5: 1-7: 29)
- Narration I: Signs and wonders of the kingdom (8: 1-9: 38)
- Discourse on the proclamation of the kingdom (10: 1-42)
- Narration II: The Presence of the Kingdom (11: 1-12: 50)
- Discourse on the mystery of the kingdom (13: 1-58)
- Narration III: Crisis of the Kingdom (14: 1-17: 27)
- Discourse about participation in the kingdom (18: 1-35)
- The climax of Jesus’ messianic mission in Judea / Perea and Jerusalem (19: 1-26: 46)
- Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem (19: 1-20: 34)
- Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem (21: 1-26: 46)
- Triumphal entry and cleansing of the temple (21: 1-22)
- Controversies with the Jews (21: 23-22: 46)
- Denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees (23: 1-39)
- Mount of Olives discourse on the future of the kingdom (24: 1-25: 46)
- The conspiracy to kill Jesus (26: 1-16)
- The Last Supper (26: 17-30)
- Gethsemane (26: 31-46)
- Arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus (26: 47-27: 66)
- The arrest (26: 47-56)
- The Judgment (26: 57-27: 26)
- The crucifixion (27: 27-56)
- The burial (27: 57-66)
- The resurrection (28: 1-20)
- The glorious discovery of women (28: 1-10)
- False witnesses (28: 11-15)
- The commission of the risen Lord (28: 16-20)