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The Gospel of Matthew
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  1. The Gospel of Matthew • The first book listed in the New Testament canon • Well-ordered and contained detailed teaching lessons • Link between the Old Testament and the New Testament • Vital role in Christian instruction and worship • Lord’s Prayer • Contains 80% of Mark’s gospel • Omits passages (from Mark) that paint Jesus or the apostles in an unfavorable light • Author: Jewish-Christian scribe • Originally written in Greek • Date: 80’s AD (after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem)

  2. Audience: Jewish-Christian community • Knowledge of Jewish customs • Use of Hebrew terms like Gehenna, Beelzebul, Kingdom of Heaven • Use of the number “7” • Compares Jesus to Moses • Over 130 passages in Matthew have Old Testament roots • “This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled” (Mt 21:4) • “Do not think that I have to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill” (Mt 5:17) • Uses Q, Mark, and M as sources • Matthew’s audience struggled with how Judaism would continue now that the Temple was destroyed • According to Matthew, true Judaism involved a Church gathered around the Teacher Jesus

  3. Themes in Matthew’s Gospel • Judgment • Second coming of Christ; We should always be ready for the Lord’s return • Jesus is Emmanuel • “God with us” • Discipleship • Requires humility, rejection, even suffering • Church • Only gospel where the word for church (ekklesia) appears • Local or universal community of believers • Right Instruction • An instruction manual for new converts and faithful disciples • Teaches righteousness, prayer, conversion

  4. Comparing the Gospels of Matthew and Mark • Matthew’s gospel begins with a genealogy of Jesus, tracing his ancestors to both David and Abraham • Son of David • Jesus as Israel’s Promised Savior • Four women mentioned in genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba (foreigners) – Gospel will eventually be preached to all people

  5. Infancy Narrative: • Joseph’s dream about Jesus’ birth • Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem • Homage of the Magi • Plotting of the evil King Herod • Warning given to Joseph in a dream • Flight to Egypt • Massacre of the infants • Return of the Holy Family from Egypt after the death of Herod • Settling of the Holy Family in Nazareth • Matthew shows Jesus as Emmanuel

  6. Mark’s gospel ends abruptly with no resurrection appearances; Matthew’s gospel with 2 resurrection appearances • Conclusion of Matthew’s gospel: met with the Eleven in Galilee and instructed them to preach to all the nations • Matthew’s gospel organized into 5 narratives with discourses (speeches) by Jesus

  7. Discourse One: The Sermon on the MountMatthew 5-7 • First and most important of the five discourses • Summary of the New Law (love, grace, freedom) • Moses delivered the Old Law on Mount Sinai; Jesus delivers the New Law on a mountain • Involves conversion of the heart and putting discipleship into practice • Beatitudes: offer blessings on unlikely people like the poor in spirit, mourners, the meek, and peacemakers

  8. Christians are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” (5:13-16) • Faithful disciples will change the flavor of the world • Christians should dispel darkness, show the way, and help eliminate fear of the unknown • Good works will act as a beacon of light that lead other people to God

  9. Christians observe a new standard of law (Mt 5:17-48) • Jesus and His teachings fulfill the Old Covenant • Mere external observation of the Law is not enough • Interior conversion is necessary • Christians have a right attitude (Mt 6:1-34) • A need for a clean heart and pure intention • The Lord’s Prayer as the model prayer for Christians • Golden Rule: “Do to others whatever you have them do to you.” • We must put Jesus’ words into practice

  10. Discourse Two: Sharing the Faith with Others Matthew 10 • Jesus directs the apostles to preach the gospel in a spirit of poverty and not burden themselves with accumulating money or carrying excess baggage • “Behold I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. (Mt 10:16) • “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it?” (Mt 10:39) • “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (Mt 10:40)

  11. Discourse Three: Parables About the Kingdom Matthew 13 • Parable: a short story drawn from ordinary life that makes a comparison with a religious message • To confuse outsiders and to present truths about the kingdom to insiders (disciples) in ways that show how God works • Unbelievers do not “get” the parables because they lack the eyes and ears of faith • Disciples are blessed with the vision that comes with faith in Jesus • Allegory: a story in which people, things, events have symbolic meanings that represent something else

  12. Discourse Four: Jesus Founds and Instructs the ChurchMatthew 18 • Matthew’s gospel as “the gospel of the Church” • “You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church. . . I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 16:18-19) • Christ’s power to forgive sin and to teach authoritatively • Pope as successor to Peter • Greatness lies in serving, not in being served • No limits on forgiveness (7 times 70 as a symbol for infinity)

  13. Discourse Five: The Final JudgmentMatthew 24-25 • Eschatological (end time) • Involves the end of the Temple, the end of the world, and the divine judgment on the Last Day • Daniel 7-8 with apocalyptic (revelation) language • Ongoing war between good and evil • God is in charge during times of trial • Disciples should remain faithful • Disciples should always be prepared for God’s return • “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Mt 25:40)

  14. Jesus Challenges Judaism • Matthew 23 critical of Judaism • Jesus criticizes the scribes and Pharisees for their arrogance • Jesus exclaims seven woes against the scribes and Pharisees • Woe: in the Old Testament; shows sorrow or grief; used to shock people to examine their behavior and change it • Strong language reflects religious turmoil within Judaism in the 80’s • Matthew trying to convince Jews that Jesus fulfills the promises made to Israel • Not Anti-Semitic language