This summer, in addition to our Summer Survival Tips and chapter recaps from “Secrets of the Secret Place”, we are going to have weekly posts that take us through different books of the Bible. The idea is that these post will help you get into the word and help you understand what you are reading.
First up, the Gospel of Matthew. This book is Matthew’s account of Jesus’ time here on earth - the things He did and the things He said. The author is believed to be Matthew, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus who became Apostles. Matthew was a Jew, which was very influential in the characteristics of His gospel. First, Matthew’s account contains a lot of the teachings of Jesus. This is consistent with the Jewish tradition of valuing the teachings of rabbis. Second, Matthew refers to Jesus throughout His gospel as “The Son of David.” The Jewish people were waiting the arrival of the messiah which was going to come out of the house of David. He was going to be in the line of the great king of Israel and re-establish his throne over the nation of Israel. Finally, right from the beginning, Matthew shows Jesus as the One the Jewish people had been waiting for.
In the first verse of the first chapter, Matthew identifies Jesus as the Messiah and links Him to David. Then, Matthew begins his gospel with a genealogy that shows Jesus as a descendant of Abraham. The key is that Jesus’s place in the Jewish tradition is highlighted. Luke also contains a genealogy in his gospel, but it traces Jesus’s lineage back to Adam, and ultimately God. The difference is that Luke shows Jesus as being related to all people, since all of humanity can trace its lineage back to Adam. Matthew on the other hand is intent on showing that Jesus is Messiah, Son of God and connecting Him to the Jewish people his message was for. It is not that Matthew didn't believe the gospel message of salvation through Jesus was for all people. It is simply that he was a Jew writing to Jews, trying to communicate the significance of Jesus in their continued history as God’s people.
As you read through Matthew, keep in mind Matthew’s desire. He wants the Jewish people to understand Jesus in light of the promises God made in the Old Testament. God’s interactions with humanity did not begin when Jesus came to earth. For centuries, He had been working to be in relationship with people. Specifically, He established a relationship with the people of Israel; a relationship that needed healing. Jesus came into that scenario. He came to provide the healing that relationship needed. The things He did and the things He taught were meant to accomplish this purpose.
Aaron Vickroy, associate director