Table of contents
Like a good detective, let's examine this book.
Church is currently walking through the Gospel of Matthew together. Join the discussion below.
I love the book of Matthew. The author reveals how much God loves us all. Matthew, whose Hebrew name was Levi, was a tax collector by occupation. This means he would have been hated by those around him. He likely collected taxes from the very people he was now serving with as a disciple. Despite this, Matthew was chosen to be a disciple of Jesus. Through following, He learned the Way of Jesus, memorized His sermons, and recorded His miracles. Doubtless, his early training to crunch numbers and remember figures has now become extremely important in writing this Gospel. What an important lesson for all of us! God doesn't waste anything. He uses all things for His work in our lives.
🔍 Things to Notice
- Some scholars think Matthew first wrote his Gospel as pamphlets. He would have written out the five main sermons of Jesus. You could divide the Gospel of Matthew into five sections. There is a sermon and then miracles. Jesus tells us about the Kingdom of God, then shows us Kingdom power.
- The Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7) is one of the most famous discourses in history. There are also many phrases and statements in popular American culture that come from this sermon, even the "Golden Rule."
🙏 Jesus in this Book
(Every book reveals the glory of God, revealed in Christ Jesus)
- The Messiah and rightful King who is ushering in His Kingdom
- Jesus is King
- The long-awaited Messiah
- Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies
Who wrote it: Matthew (Levi)
Martyred: Approximately 60 AD. He was staked and speared to the ground while preaching the Gospel in Ethiopia. He was killed for questioning the morals of the king.
Who is the original audience:
Everyone, focuses on the Jewish nation
Where are we: Where are we: We are unsure where Matthew sat and penned his letter. This is obvious because Matthew would have been a traveling speaker. It is likely he wrote from Antioch because many in the early church were dispersed from there. Also, the earliest reference to the Gospel is from Ignatius, who was the bishop of Antioch.
When was it written: Notoriously difficult to date. Many believe it was between 60-65AD because there is no reference to the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem. The biggest timetable to consider is when the Gospel of Mark was written. It is widely believed Mark wrote his Gospel first. Then, Matthew and Luke borrowed from some of the elements to focus their Gospels.
What is the big idea: Matthew is establishing that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah the Jewish nation has been waiting for. He is also much more than that. He is the King of all and the Creator of all things.
Why is this book important: Matthew's Gospel is important because we have a clear lineage of Jesus' ancestry. Matthew also quotes and connects the Old Testament more than any of the other Gospels. Matthew also records many of Jesus' teachings. Matthew also has a few different events unique to his gospel. (i.e. Herod's slaughter of the firstborn.)
How can I apply it?: After 400 years of prophetic silence, the time has come for the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is here now. Just like then, we can feel as though God is silent. However, just because God seems absent doesn't mean He is inactive. God is always working. We can trust His authority. He can trust His Kingdomship. We can come to Him, bend our knees to His Rule, and enter the Kingdom of God.
- God is faithful
- Jesus has something to say
- The Kingdom of God comes in words and power
Quick Thoughts on Each Chapter
For the next while, we will be going back forth between the Old and New Testament. Today begins Matthew. Don’t skip the first 17 verses. Everyone of those names have the honor of being part of the story of God… just like me and you.
What do you bring a King who has everything? The wise men brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This represented Jesus’ royalty, His Deity, and His Mission. We can worship the King by affirming His Lordship in our lives, worshiping His holiness, and by sharing His mission to spread the Good News to everyone we meet.
John’s message is one of hope. He’s saying, “What we are doing isn’t working and we know it. But, there is hope. The King is coming and making everything right.” That is still the hope we have today.
The devil sets out to attack the identity of Jesus by saying, “If you are the Son of God, prove it.” The enemy will do the same to us. Our response is the same as Jesus. I don’t live to prove myself to the world, the flesh, or the devil. I live according to God’s Word and who He says I am.
The King sets the tone of His Kingdom. God’s Kingdom will always be counter-cultural. Perhaps it is time to stop seeing how close we can live to the world and still go to Heaven. Perhaps it is time to start seeing how close we can live to Heaven and still be on Earth.
Jesus continues to teach us about the rhythms of the Kingdom. Notice how He teaches us to talk with God. We begin with the phrase “Our Father in Heaven.” This reminds us that God is relational and wants to be seen as our loving Father. How we see God is huge. What do you think of when you think of God?
Jesus ends His discourse by using the illustration of building a house on a solid or slippery foundation. This is the same with our lives. If we build our lives on the constantly changing sands of culture, we shouldn’t be surprised by the result. But, if we build our lives on the solid rock of God’s Word, we will be secure.
Jesus has taught us about the Kingdom. Now He shows us what it looks like. The Kingdom of Heaven is full of power to heal us everywhere we hurt.
V9-13- Jesus asks Matthew to be a disciple. I love this so much because Matthew had been a tax collector. This was the most despised profession at the time. No one likes the guy who takes your money and gives it to your enemy. Yet, Jesus saw value in Matthew. This helps us realize no matter where you’re from, no matter what you’ve done, Jesus sees value in you.
Jesus loves us all, but He also demands loyalty. There are many who want to only say “God is love.” That is suppose to end all discussion about faithfulness and holiness. A better statement would be, “God is love. Therefore, I bow my knee to Him. He leads. I follow.” Christianity is exclusive. Jesus is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.
V28-30: This is one of my favorite statements from Jesus. Jesus did enough by paying for sin. However, Jesus is also interested in healing our wounds. Oh how beautiful a Savior we have!
Verses 46-49: It doesn’t matter what family you are born into. You have the chance to be born again.
Jesus shares many different examples to describe the Kingdom of Heaven most likely because there were many different types of people following Him. He wants us all know what the Kingdom of God is and how it works in our lives. He is even more interested that we enter into the Kingdom of Heaven ourselves.
There are so many miracles happening in this chapter. What amazes you the most? Jesus feeding 5,000? There being leftovers? Jesus walking on water? How about the wind stopped as soon as Jesus entered the boat? Or, or… Peter walking on the water to Jesus?
Controversy alert! Some call Jesus rude for calling the lady a “dog.” First of all, this lady was a Canaanite. Many rabbis would have likely called her much worse. Secondly, He was not talking down to her. It could be translated as a term of endearment. The phrase here is more like a favorite household pet. So, when read without the “cultural lenses” of today, it might be closer to paraphrase as, “It isn’t right to take the food from the children and give it to you, sweetheart.”
Peter declares Jesus is the Messiah. This was a big deal because the Messiah, in the Jewish mind, was the Savior and Redeemer of the Jewish nation. Peter had no idea how much more Jesus was and is. How about you? If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?
One of the most fascinating chapters in the Gospels. Jesus’ transforms into spiritual form and He is joined by Moses and Elijah. If I think about it too hard, I get a headache. Lol. Such an amazing moment. I don’t blame the disciples for being terrified.
Jesus measures greatness very differently than we do today. He sees greatness in the simple, honest faith of a child. How do you measure greatness?
In the last section, Jesus challenges someone to place Him first above everything else. The rich man was willing to go a long way but not all the way in serving Jesus. This is a great challenge for us. How much do we truly love Jesus? Above it all?
V25-28- Jesus challenges us to see leadership as an opportunity to serve, not dominate. Jesus is the King of all yet He came to be the servant of all. How much more should we do the same! How can you serve someone today?
There is a lot going on in this chapter. The Crucifixion is about a week away. Jesus comes into the city of Jerusalem to the sounds of a parade. It must have been an amazing sight to see!
The Sadduccess couldn't see what God was doing because they didn't know God's Word nor the power of God. The opposite is true. To know God more, seek to know both better.
Jesus loves us enough to challenge us when we are going the wrong way. The religious leaders were not only going the wrong way, they were leading others the wrong way too. God loves us enough to lead us in the right direction.
Jesus talks about the future. As you read, you’ll see there’s a lot of bad news. Don’t miss this important point… Jesus knows. Nothing takes Him by surprise and always leads us through any trouble we face.
Let’s talk about Proverbs for a second. We always include an extra chapter just in case you want to read a little more. Someone once said, “Psalms teaches me how to relate to God. Proverbs teaches me how to relate to people.” Imagine having a daily meeting with the wisest leader… ever. That’s the book of Proverbs.
V17- This is why we worship through communion. Jesus is saying the bread and cup are a representation of His sacrifice. The feast of Passover was a celebration of when Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage. Because of Jesus, we have been delivered from sin and death. We have been made new. Praise the Lord.
Two people betray Jesus… Peter and Judas. Both realized what they did was wrong. However, one killed himself and the other goes on to lead the early church. One found death and the other found life. What was the difference? Peter returned to Jesus. We all sin. We all regret our mistakes. Just be sure you always return to Jesus.
Jesus is with us always. What an amazing promise!