Matthew by Joseph Novak
Matthew: We thought his teaching was a mirror of God’s Law, but we were wrong. The Law is the mirror, reflecting him.
(Ben Myers’ #CanonFodder Summary)
Jeffrey Kranz’s Overview of Matthew
This is the story of Jesus as written by an eyewitness: the apostle Matthew. The book of Matthew is the first Gospel (an account of Jesus’ life and ministry) in the New Testament. In Matthew, Jesus performs miracles, shares parables, and teaches the ways of God. He is betrayed and crucified. He rises again and commissions His disciples to spread the good news. Matthew seems to have written this Gospel to a Jewish Christian audience, so he focuses on Jewish writings and prophecies more so than the other Gospels do. Matthew presents Jesus as the Messiah (Mt 1:1), the one chosen by God to deliver the people from their sins. Matthew quotes the Old Testament extensively, and places special emphasis on Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecies—which would have been important to a Jewish audience. Matthew tells us the story of Jesus with an emphasis on His role as Messiah, or Christ:
- Jesus is the son of God. He is conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb (Mt 1:18–20), and God endorses Jesus as His beloved Son (Mt 3:17). He is God incarnate, living among men (Mt 1:23).
- Jesus is the king. He is the son of King David (Mt 1:1). Jesus repeatedly declares that the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mt 4:17), and tells many parables about it. The book of Matthew makes more mentions of the “kingdom of heaven” of “kingdom of God” than any of the other Gospels.
- Jesus is the promised savior. He is the son of Abraham, through whom God had promised to bless all nations of the earth. Matthew emphasizes the Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfills, from His birth (Mt 1:22–23; 2:5–6, 17–18) through His ministry and right up to His death and resurrection. He lives a righteous life, teaches us what it means to be righteous, and dies on a cross so that we can be right with God.
Matthew opens with a simple statement of who Jesus is (the Messiah), and closes with a simple statement of what we should do (make disciples for Him).
Theme verse of Matthew
“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21)
Why Matthew was written
Unlike John, Matthew doesn’t state his purpose explicitly. However, his opening verse makes it very clear what this book is about: Jesus, the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. The rest of this Gospel presents evidence of who Jesus is.