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                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                        Introduction To Matthew


1. The book of Matthew has always occupied a position of high esteem in
   the faith and life of the church:

   "When we turn to Matthew, we turn to the book which may well be
   called the most important single document of the Christian faith,
   for in it we have the fullest and the most systematic account of
   the life and the teachings of Jesus."  (William Barclay)

2. The writings of the early church fathers reveal that it was...
   a. The most frequently quoted
   b. Perhaps the most widely read gospel
   ...during the first two centuries of the church's history

[Why was this book so popular?  Perhaps we can understand why as we
consider some background information pertaining to it...]


      1. The apostolic origin and canonical rank of the gospel of
         Matthew were accepted without a doubt by the early church
      2. Matthew, surnamed Levi, had been a tax-collector...
         a. He was one of Jesus' earliest disciples - Mt 9:9; Mk 2:14
         b. He was chosen to be one of the twelve apostles - Mt 10:2-3
      3. Being a close associate of Jesus during His ministry...
         a. Matthew's gospel is a first hand account
         b. Unlike Luke who depended upon other eyewitnesses - Lk 1:1-4

   B. BEFORE 70 A.D....
      1. Irenaeus says it was written when Peter and Paul were
         preaching in Rome
      2. Eusebius states that this was done when Matthew left Palestine
         and went to preach to others (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 24)
      3. Clement of Alexandria said that the presbyters who succeeded
         each other from the beginning declared that "the gospels
         containing the genealogies (Matthew and Luke) were written
         first" (Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, VI, 14)
      4. A date before 70 A.D. is considered by many to be the most


      1. Written to Jews, designed to prove that Jesus is the Messiah
         of OT prophecy
      2. Evidenced by his frequent appeal to OT Messianic prophecies
         a. He quotes from almost every book in the OT
         b. Twelve times he identifies O.T. prophecies as fulfilled in
            the life of Jesus
            - Mt 1:22; 2:15,23; 4:14; 5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14,35;
              21:4; 27:9
      -- One could say that the theme is: "Jesus, King of the Jews"

      (adapted from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)
      1. The birth and childhood of Jesus Christ - 1:1-2:23
         a. Genealogy of Christ - 1:1-17
         b. Birth of Christ - 1:18-25
         c. Visit of the Magi - 2:1-12
         d. Flight into Egypt and massacre of the infants - 2:13-18
         e. Residence at Nazareth - 2:19-23
      2. The preparation for the ministry of Jesus Christ - 3:1-4:11
         a. The forerunner of Christ - 3:1-12
         b. Baptism of Christ - 3:13-17
         c. Temptation of Christ - 4:1-11
      3. The ministry of Jesus Christ - 4:12-25:46
         a. His ministry in Galilee - 4:12-18:35
            1) Residence at Capernaum - 4:12-17
            2) Call of four disciples - 4:18-22
            3) General survey of the Galilean ministry - 4:23-25
            4) Sermon on the mount - 5:1-7:29
            5) Ten miracles and related events - 8:1-9:38
            6) Mission of the twelve - 10:1-42
            7) Christ's answer to John, and related discourse - 11:1-30
            8) Opposition from the Pharisees - 12:1-50
            9) A series of parables on the kingdom - 13:1-58
           10) Withdrawal of Jesus following John's beheading - 14:1-36
           11) Conflict with the Pharisees over tradition - 15:1-20
           12) Withdrawal to Phoenecia and healing of a Canaanitish
               woman's daughter - 15:21-28
           13) Return to the Sea of Galilee and performing of miracles
               - 15:29-38
           14) Renewed conflict with the Pharisees and Sadducees - 15:
           15) Withdrawal to the region of Caesarea Philippi - 16:5-
           16) Instruction of the twelve at Capernaum - 17:24-18:35
         b. His ministry in Perea - 19:1-20:16
            1) Teaching on divorce - 19:1-12
            2) Blessing of the children - 19:13-15
            3) Interview with the rich young man - 19:16-30
            4) Parable of the laborers in the vineyard - 20:1-16
         c. His ministry in Judea - 20:17-34
            1) Another prediction of Christ's death and resurrection 
               - 20:17-19
            2) Ambitious request of Zebedee's sons - 20:20-28
            3) Healing of two blind men - 20:29-34
         d. His ministry in Jerusalem - 21:1-25:46
            1) Triumphal entry - 21:1-11
            2) Cleansing the Temple - 21:12-17
            3) Cursing of the barren fig tree - 21:18-22
            4) Questioning of Jesus' authority and his parabolic answer
               - 21:23-22:14
            5) Questioning of Jesus by various groups - 22:15-46
            6) Jesus' public denunciation of the Pharisees - 23:1-39
            7) Olivet Discourse - 24:1-25:46
      4. The suffering of Jesus Christ - 26:1-27:66
         a. Plot against Jesus - 26:1-16
         b. The final meal - 26:17-30
         c. Prediction of Peter's denial - 26:31-35
         d. Events in Gethsemane - 26:36-56
         e. Events at the Jewish trials - 26:57-27:2
         f. Remorse of Judas - 27:3-10
         g. Events at the Roman trials - 27:11-31
         h. The Crucifixion - 27:32-56
         i. Burial - 27:32-56
      5. The resurrection of Jesus Christ - 28:1-20
         a. Discovery of the empty tomb - 28:1-8
         b. Appearance of Jesus Christ - 28:9,10
         c. Report of the soldiers - 28:11-15
         d. The great commission - 28:16-20


      1. We've noted its frequent appeal to OT prophecies
      2. It's organization is mostly topical, as opposed to strictly
         chronological (a common style in Jewish literature)
      -- It appears to have been written with a Jewish audience in mind

      1. It is the only gospel which mentions the word "church"
         a. It foretells its beginning - Mt 16:18
         b. It describes some of the life in the church - Mt 18:15-17
      2. It contains lengthy discourses especially beneficial to those
         in the church
         a. Such as the sermon on the mount - Mt 5-7
         b. Such as the many parables - Mt 13
         c. Such as the Olivet discourse - Mt 24-25
      3. It contains admonitions important to disciples of Christ
         a. Such as the importance of doing the Father's will - Mt 7:
         b. Such as observing all that Jesus commanded - Mt 28:20
      -- In other words, this was a gospel designed for use by those in
         the early church

      1. It is a preaching gospel
         a. Especially when compared with the apostles' preaching found
            in Acts
         b. For it expands upon the basic elements and point made in
            their sermons
      2. Consider these themes in apostolic preaching:
         a. God's promises in the OT have been fulfilled - Ac 3:18,24
         b. The long-awaited Messiah, born of David's line, has come 
            - Ac 13:23
         c. He is Jesus of Nazareth - Ac 13:23
         d. He went about preaching and doing good through mighty works
            - Ac 10:38
         e. He was crucified according to the promise and will of God
            - Ac 2:22,23
         f. He was raised from the dead, and exalted at God's right
            hand - Ac 2:24,32-33
         h. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the
            dead - Ac 3:20-21; 17:30-31
         i. Therefore, all should heed His message, repent, and be
            baptized - Ac 2:36-38
         -- All of these points are expanded in the gospel of Matthew


1. The purpose which Matthew's gospel served in the first century was
   a. To confirm faith in Jesus as God's Anointed One (the Messiah)
   b. To instructing disciples on living the Christian life

2. It can serve a similar purpose for us today...
   a. Increase our faith in Jesus as the Christ
   b. Instruct us in the righteousness expected of those in His kingdom

The last three verses present the climax of this amazing gospel:

   And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been
   given to Me in heaven and on earth.

   "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing
   them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy

   "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;
   and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
                                                      (Mt 28:18-20)

Have you submitted to the authority and command of Jesus as it pertains
to becoming His disciple and observing what He taught?  If so, then you
have the precious promise of His abiding presence in your life!
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