Introduction to Matthew – Part 2

Third Day
May 5, 2024

Continuation of Introduction to Matthew from last week.

Review of question from last week-
Q: We all have many voices speaking to us in our lives. 
What are some of these voices?
What voice speaks LOUDEST to you in your life? (Think about this!)

Matthew’s purpose in writing (this basically follows the outline in the book)

  1. The Critical Place of the Gospel of Matthew in the Bible (pg. 2 in book)
  2. While Matthew had several priorities in writing his Gospel, his main priority/purpose was to show and prove that Jesus is the King of the Jews, the expected and rightful heir to the throne of David; the Messiah. 
  3. Matthew’s second priority and purpose for writing is to teach about, and correct misconceptions about the Kingdom of Heaven. See this article about The Kingdom of Heaven (https://www.str.org/w/what-is-the-kingdom-of-heaven-). One clue to Matthew’s priority/purpose to look for in this article is how many links there are to the Gospel of Matthew in it. (Hint: The phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” appears thirty some times in Matthew and is used only in Matthew’s gospel. The other Gospels preferring the phrase, Kingdom of God.) In defining the word “kingdom, Craig Keener says, “The Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek terms here translated “kingdom” usually signify the concept “reign” or “authority” or “rule.” (The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, pg 68) The kingdom of Heaven then, would refer to that place where God rules. If we look at last week’s handout of the Bible Project video, we can see a bit if the themes of Jesus as the expected King, and His Kingdom, which I like to call OPPOSITE WORLD. 
  4. A key point to remember in all this is that The life and ministry of Jesus was carefully orchestrated from the heavens.
  5. He will prove these two main points (his priorities) points thru…
  6. Referring back to the prophetic scriptures repeatedly (the OT was the only scripture of his day). Because he referred back to the OT so often, his Gospel became a “connection”between the OT and the NT. Or, as the book says, the “hinge” or the pivot point between the testaments. Chuck Swindoll says, “By some estimates, Matthew has over sixty-five references to the Old Testament, compared to about thirty each for Mark and Luke and as few as fifteen for John.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary)
    1. Like Matthew, Paul also refers extensively to the OT in his ministry to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. At the beginning of his ministry, shortly after his conversion to Christianity, Acts 9:20 says, “At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God”
    2. And Act 17:1-3 says, “When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said.” Acts 18:4 also says, “Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.”
    3. Interestingly, Paul probably wasn’t following Matthew’s example of using the OT to prove Jesus is the Messiah, as much as he was following Jesus’ example of reasoning and reaching from the scriptures – the OT. Both Matthew and Paul were not only Apostles, but more importantly, they were followers.
    4. Phillip also reasoned from the scriptures to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:35
    5. To further support his case that Jesus was the Messish, Matthew also used evidence from genealogies to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. We will look at genealogies next week. Jesus’ genealogy is very interesting. 
    6. Summary: So – Matthew is the first book in the NT because it has a very deep and rich connection to the OT, which would have spoken very clearly and loudly to his intended, original audience. And the reason John’s Gospel, for example, seems so different in tone and content from Matthew;s Gispel, is that John wrote his Gospel some 30 or 40 years after Matthew’s was written, and Matthew’s Gospel had served it’s initial purpose very well in speaking to Jews, and the first generation of Jewish Christians. Because Matthew’s book was very popular in the latter half of the first century, there was no need for John to repeat Matthew’s work, as we will next.  
  7. Why Four Gospels? (Pg 2 in book)
    1. See the graphic in the book.
    2. Also, in addition to the graphic in the book, when at Trinity College in Deerfield, we studied the Gospel According to John in depth. And after Trinity, I studied it on my own. A truly fascinating and insightful book. I love that book. While John teaches many things, and is about many things, I would say without any hesitation that the main thing it teaches is that Jesus is God. That Jesus the Son is equal to God the Father. That the Father and the Son are One. There is absolutely no getting around it. Jesus is fully human, yes, but He is also, at the same time, FULLY DIVINE. The point I am making is that while John clearly reveals Jesus as God, Matthew clearly reveals Jesus as the Messiah. Taken together, Matthew and John give undeniable and irrefutable evidence that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God, that He is fully God, and that is our one and only Savior and Redeemer. This is another, powerful reason why there is more than one Gospel.
    3. Another reason, some believe, is that the law requires more than one witness. The NT has four.
  8. Matthew’s Distinctives
    1. Matthew – We all probably know that Matthew, whose original name was Levi, was a tax collector, and therefore hated by all the Jews. They were hated so much, that they were not even allowed in the synagogue, and the synagogue was central to life of Jewish culture. But – just as a tidbit of curiosity, did you know Matthew may possibly have had a brother who was also an Apostle? We know that Peter and Andrew were both Apostles and brothers. And we know that James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also both Apostles and brothers, because the scripture tells us. But Mark 2:14 tells us not only that Matthew’s original name was Levi, but also that he was the son of Alphaeus. Now, if you look at Matt 10:3, you will see we are given a list of the Apostles, and one of the names on the list is James, so of Alphaeus. Now most of the Apostles, maybe all of them came the area of Galilee and Capurnum. So, I would submit the very real possibility that Levi and James were possibly brothers, or even cousins, like Jesus and John the Baptist. With all the other people who were related in Jesus inner circles, and with Alphaeus not being a common name – at least in the scriptures, and with Capurnum and Galilee not bring huge urban areas, it is not a far-fetched idea. But, to be perfectly clear, the scriptures don’t tell us, so this is just pure speculation on my part. (See John MacArthur, Jr., Daily Readings from The Life of Christ, vol. 2, page 50 (Moody Publishers, 2009). See also Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete New Testament, page 848 (David C. Cook, 2007).
    2. Matthew’s Readers – as mentioned, the initial intended audience was early Jewish Christian and Jews.
    3. Matthew’s Central Message – That Jesus was the expected Messiah, the final, and eternal King to sit on David;s throne.
    4. Matthew’s Key Verse according to the book
      1. Matt 27:37 “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
      2. I would also add the Great Commission as being a key/good summary verse: “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
    5. Matthew’s Basic Structure
      1. Five Discourses, or teaching blocks of specific, focused content (arranged thematically, and not necessarily chronologically)
        1. Matt 5-7 – Sermon on the Mount
        2. Matt 10 – Commission of the Twelve
        3. Matt 13 – Parables
        4. Matt 18 – Teaching on the Church
        5. Matt 24-25 Olivetree Discourse
    6. Historical Setting of Matthew – briefly (the following is not from the book)
      1. Abraham born around 1951 BC
      2. David born about 1040 BC
      3. First Temple built around 957 BC
      4. First Temple destroyed around 586
      5. Temple rebuilt as the “Second” Temple and completed in 516 BC. 
      6. Last book of the OT, Malachi, written in 430 BC.
      7. The was no further word from God until John the Baptist, around 28-29 BC.
      8. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
    7. KEY PLAYERS (this is not in the book)
      1. Pharisees
      2. Saducees 
      3. Scribes/Teachers of the Law/Jews
      4. Zealots
      5. Herodians
      6. Disciples
      7. Apostles
    8. The Cosmic Battle (now we are back in the book)
    9. Paradise Lost
    10. The Covenants
      1. God’s Covenant with Abraham
      2. God’s Covenant with David
      3. The Covenant Completed in Christ
    11. Paradise Regained

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT:
In Matthew 17:5, God the Father says about Jesus, ““This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!

QUESTION:
What does this verse mean to you? What does it say to you, personally? Specifically?
Do you think of it as a command? If so, how seriously do you take it? 
Considering that Bible study does not really do much good without application, how does this apply to your life? 

Bible Project Gospel of Matthew, Summary part 1

Bible Project Disclaimer: While the Bible Project Animation Videos are generally very good, we at the Orchard Church do not necessarily agree with every single point of every single video. Particularly, for example, we do not agree with everything they teach regarding the Atonement (which is NOT referenced here in the Matthew summaries.)
All authors, teachers, preachers and churches have points upon which we disagree, are flawed or mistaken in some way or another. Only the Bible is perfect in all it says and teaches. Grace abounds, even while holding tight to sound doctrine. Know your Bible well! For more disclaimer info, go to our Links page.

The Olive Tree Bible App is free and comes with several free books. You can buy additional books if you like.
Olivetree Bible App website – home page

Holman Commentary of Matthew in Olive Tree r

Olive Tree Support page “HOW TO” videos

Good article on The Kingdom of God by Tim Barnett of Stand To Reason

Why did God give us Four Gospels by GotQuestions.org