I have one word to say about our 3W gathering last night: WOW. What an amazing group! What a great discussion! What fun! We’ll do it again on 10.20.
Now on to Matthew as we are reading through the gospels together this fall.
In a few days you’ll be scratching your head and thinking, “Didn’t I just read this?” Answer: Yes, you read it last month in Mark.
Matthew (we’ll call him this for now, but stay tuned for the debate about his name) had a copy of Mark in front of him as he put his gospel together. He also had a copy of “Q,” a list of things Jesus said and did, not connected by a narrative. More about this later.
Matthew is the most Jewish of the gospels. Notice how often he explains how an event in Jesus’ life happened to fulfill Hebrew Scripture and then quotes a verse from the Old Testament. You’ll see this a lot in the first 4 chapters. Notice that when Jesus is tempted by the devil (4:1-11) his responses to the temptations are quotes from Hebrew Scripture. Like Moses, Jesus returns from Egypt and at the beginning of chapter five Jesus, like Moses in Exodus, is on a mountain from which he shares, not the 10 Commandments, but God’s new law (the Sermon on the Mount). Then in chapter 23 Jesus’ sharpest criticism is directed toward the religious leaders who are stuck in their ways and refuse to see the truth Jesus is offering. Scholars observe that there are five major discourses in Matthew which parallel the Five Books of Law (Torah).
Ah, but I get ahead of myself. You’re just at chapter 1 today!
Here are some things to keep in mind as you are reading:
• Notice that Matthew is the most Jewish gospel
• Notice that the birth narrative is from Joseph’s viewpoint.
• Joseph has to flee to Egypt to protect baby Jesus’ life (2:20-23) (like the ancient Jews had to flee to Egypt to survive famine).
• Jesus, like Moses, returns from Egypt and hands down the “law” from a mountain (chapters 5-7).
• Jesus is at odds with Jewish leaders (see chapter 23)
• Written by one of Jesus’ 12 hand-picked followers (9:9), who was a tax collector, meaning he had been pushed out of the Jewish religious community.
• Probably written for the church at Antioch
• Matthew’s favorite word is fulfilled.
• Matthew is especially impressed with Jesus as teacher (see chapters 5-7).
Please use “Leave a Comment” to offer questions, interpretations, observations, whatever. Your insights will help everyone to engage more deeply with the gospel, and just like last night, your comments will shape our study on 10.20.