The Gospel According to Matthew
In the past 6 years of sermons we have studied a good portion of Genesis, the historical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the prophets Daniel and Jonah, the Gospel of John, the epistles to the Philippians and 1 Thessalonians, Peter’s first letter and all three of John’s (not to mention series on discipleship, the church, and a few others you and I have forgotten). Working through Daniel I was looking forward to picking up some of those threads again in Revelation, but as the beginning of my 7th year preaching here draws near, I’m compelled to return to the Gospels.
The Gospels, or good news concerning Jesus, are portraits of Jesus inspired by the Holy Spirit and written by disciples of Jesus with the purpose that those who hear, read, and study them would believe in Jesus, become His disciples, and would learn how to live as His disciples. The different authors (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) have each uniquely selected and arranged their material. Their accounts complement one another, though at times leave us with unanswered questions. But first and foremost each must be taken as it comes to us and appreciated for it’s own contribution. Let us now turn our attention to Matthew’s presentation of the Good News of Jesus.
The Jewish nature of this gospel is often noted and Matthew quotes and alludes to the Old Testament more than the other gospel writers. He reveals Jesus to his readers as the fulfillment of the Old Covenant. The Jewish flavor is the result of understanding the true continuation of God’s people in the followers of Jesus. Matthew also emphasizes a break between the Judaism of his day and the disciples of Jesus and he points out the role Gentiles play in God’s plan. In his account Matthew gives special attention to the teaching of Jesus. He presents us with five discourses, well organizing and preserving the teaching of our Savior. The presentation makes Matthew very useful for instruction in the church. Let us give ourselves to the study of this gospel and learn to trust in Jesus, and to live the new life we have through faith in Him.