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The whole story rides on Chosen People who will receive God’s Covenant Promises.
Together, the four gospel accounts make up approximately 46% of the New Testament.
The person and work of Jesus Christ is the culmination of salvation history, fulfilling and, indeed, completing God’s work of eternity-past through eternity-future.
These gospel accounts are the culmination of salvation history.
Each of the four gospels have a different emphasis. The emphasis in Matthew: King and Kingdom.
The word gospel (gk. euangelion, εὐαγγέλιον) is used 99 times in the New Testament, simply meaning “good news.”
The gospel, in regards to Christianity, is in fact the best news.
A related word, euanglizo (εὐαγγελίζω), is more the proclamation or preaching of the gospel and is found 54 times in the NT.
Matthew 4:23 describes the work of Jesus.
Proclaiming is the making of an official announcement; a heralding, to publicly make something known.
Matthew’s gospel is not just about Jesus Christ’s life, death, burial, resurrection. It’s about what He is teaching them about the eternal kingdom available to any who trust in Christ and Christ alone as their messiah.
Does Jesus ever use the world “gospel”? He does: Matthew 11:3-6. Each of those listed objectives is a sermon in itself, we’ll focus on one:
The Blind receive their Sight
The blind receiving sight was a miracle reserved for Messiah, only the Messiah was going to be able to give sight to the blind. (Isaiah 35:5, Isaiah 29:8…)…
The question was: could you sin in-utero, which some rabbis taught, or did the parents sin and their son’s disability was a consequence of their sin?
The disciples see the heartbreaking situation of a blind man and ask: who sinned?
The man didn’t ask Jesus to heal him, didn’t reach out for help. He’s an object lesson. The disciples ask a question of justice: who should we blame? That was the common thinking of the day.
Jesus said: neither one, and restored the man’s sight to the glory of God.
John 9:32 is why the pharisees were so indignant when they saw this, it meant Jesus was Messiah.
Matthew 20:29, as Jesus is leaving Jericho a large crowd follows and He encounters two blind men who cry out to Him.
Why were they crying out to the Lord, the Son of David, and asking for mercy?
Because they knew the Davidic covenant would mean that the Messiah alone could cure blindness. They’d heard a rumor that Jesus had restored sight to the blind, and it had never been recorded that another had done so. He was their only hope.
These blind men believed: if He’s Messiah, He can fix my problem.
The ancients trusted that Christ could fix their problems.
“The Old Testament prophets predicted and longed for the coming of the Anointed One who would enter history to bring redemption and deliverance. The first verse of Matthew announces that long-awaited event: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” Matthew provides the essential bridge between the Old and New Testaments. Through a carefully selected series of Old Testament quotations, Matthew documents Jesus Christ’s claim to be Messiah. Jesus possesses the credentials of Messiah, ministers in the predicted pattern of Messiah, preaches messages only Messiah could preach, and finally dies the death only Messiah could die.”(1)
Keep Context in Mind
What did the first hearers or readers of this text expect? What would they want to hear from an apostle writing an account of Jesus Christ?
The first readers of Matthew’s Gospel account would’ve immediately been reminded of two key covenants:
Abrahamic – Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 13:15-17, Genesis 15:7, Genesis 17:1-8
Davidic – 2 Samuel 7:8-16
Both covenants were unconditional and unilateral.
“Matthew’s Gospel presents Jesus as the Christ, Israel’s messianic King.Jesus’ genealogy, fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, authority, and power are emphasized as His messianic credentials. In spite of His unique words and works, gradually mounting opposition culminates in His crucifixion. But the King left an empty tomb and will come again.” (2)
Distinctives in Matthew’s Gospel:
- Jewish. Written by a Jew, about a Jew, to Jews.
- Old Testament citations – more references from Isaiah than any other gospel, 53 precise OT citations.
- Christ’s teaching ministry is clearly emphasized
- 20 miracles recorded
Purposes of Matthew’s Gospel:
There is no precise “purpose verse” in the Gospel of Matthew, such as John 20:30-31, but we can see some purposes if we look at the book as a whole:
- Primary audience is the Jewish people
- 74 mentions of the King and Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven 32 times, Matthew 4:17 is a major shift in the narrative: The Kingdom of God is at hand.
- Demonstrates that Jesus Christ is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament, fulfilling all requirements of a prophet, priest, and king.
Aspects of God’s Kingdom:
- Jesus presented Himself to the Jews as the promised King.
- Israel’s leaders rejected Jesus.
- Jesus is building His church with anticipation of His return to establish the promised Messianic Kingdom on earth.
Three wider purposes as noted by Tom Constable (3):
- First, Matthew wanted to instruct Christians and non-Christians concerning the person and work of Jesus.
- Second, to provide an apologetic to aid his Jewish brethren in witnessing to other Jews and Jesus Christ.
- Third, he wanted to encourage all Christians to witness for Christ boldly and faithfully
Constable notes that Matthew is the only gospel writer to use the Greek verb “matheteuo,” “to disciple.” This fact shows his concern for making disciples of Christ.
In Matthew’s record, from the moment rumors of Jesus’ birth begin to circulate, there are two responses: people want to kill Him, or to worship Him. There is no in-between. This is illustrated beautifully in the gospels as you read through.
We still have two responses to Christ: If you’re God, why are all of these terrible things happening in the world, what can you do for me? And the other response: Will you remember me in Your kingdom?
When we watch what’s happening in our country today, it pains us. It makes us mad, breaks our hearts, we wish it wasn’t this way…there’s nothing new under the sun.
Social media has given an outlet for knee-jerk responses to things we know hardly anything about, but culture hasn’t changed much, and the gospel is still central. It’s about submission to authority, and He is the King.
We’re trying to make earth heaven, but this is just a waiting station, a long TSA line. This is not heaven. I’d rather be more comfortable in line, too, but there’s something much bigger going on than your or my life: Jesus has been presented as king. Are you going to worship Him?
And Jesus came up 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 the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
All authority. He’s a King.
You’re either related rightly, or not related, to the King of the universe.
The King has come. People rejected Him, they crucified Him, but He left an empty tomb and He’s coming back.
Who is your king and what is your kingdom?
ALL authority has been given to Him. He holds it.
He’s your King. He’s the eternal King. Not only that, you’re an heir to His kingdom.
He loves you. He died for you. He took your sin, in your place, on your behalf, instead of you.
- Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa, Talk Thru the Bible(Nashville: T. Nelson, 1983), 307
- Boa, 305
- Dr. Tom Constable’s Notes on Matthew, p. 13