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INTRODUCTION TO MATTHEW

 

 
 
I.              Synoptic gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke (John is not a synoptic gospel)
 
A.     The word “synoptic” means to see together
 
B.     The recipients:
 
1. Matthew: the Jew – Jesus as King
2. Mark: the Roman – Jesus the Servant
3. Luke: the Greek – Jesus the perfect man
 
C.     Why four gospels?
 
1. They are not histories
2. They are not biographies
3. They are thematic or logical presentations of Christ the Messiah
4. Each presents a different aspect or viewpoint on the life of Christ
 
II.            Author
 
A.   Abundant early historical evidence ascribes this Gospel to Matthew the tax collector (Matt. 9:9–13; Luke 5:27–32; Mark 2:13–17), also called Levi by Mark and Luke.
 
·         Early church quoted this gospel more than any other
 
1.    Pseudo-Barnabas (c. 70-130)
2.    Clement of Rome (c. 95-97)
3.    Polycarp (c. 110-150)
4.    Hermas (c. 115-140)
5.    Didache (c. 120-150)
6.     Irenaeus (c. 130-202)
7.    Justin Martyr (c. 185-255)
8.    Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215)
9.    Tertullian (c. 150-220)
10.  Origen (c. 185-254)
11.  Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-386)
12.  Eusebius (c. 325-340)
13.  Jerome (c. 340-420)
14.  Augustine (c. 400)
 
B.   Modern skepticism of Matthew’s authorship results from hypotheses developed to explain the Synoptic Problem of harmonizing the gospels.
 
C.   Matthew was well qualified to produce such a Gospel because his business knowledge made it possible for him to record the discourses of Jesus.
 
·         The tax collector from the western shore of Galilee who left everything to follow Christ (Luke 5:27, 28).
·         One of the 12 apostles (Mt 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13).
 
   III. Date
 
a.    Prior to A.D. 70
 
b.    Place of composition: Judea
 
   IV. Background
 
a.    Strong Jewish Character
 
b.    Opening genealogy shows Jewish character
 
c.    Matthew refers to Christ most often as the Son of David (Mt 1:1; 9:27; 12:23, etc.)
 
d.    Many references to the Jewish idea of “the kingdom of heaven”
 
e.    Jewish character of Matthew’s Gospel in the material unique to the book
 
·         This includes Christ’s genealogy to Abraham (1:1–17);
·         The information about Joseph (1:18–25);
·         The mission of the disciples to the lost sheep of the Children of Israel (chap. 10);
·         Christ’s denunciation of the Pharisees (chap. 23); and several parables in chapters 20–22 and 25.
 
        V.  Occasion for writing
 
a.    To demonstrate to unbelieving Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, King of the Jews
 
b.    To encourage Jewish believers
 
          VI. Purpose
 
a.     To confirm persecuted Jewish Christians
 
·         Matthew gives evidence to Jewish Christians (who numbered in the thousands in the early church; Acts 2:41, 47; 4:4; 5:14, 28; 6:1, 7) that Jesus was the Messiah, King of Israel.
 
b.    To show relation to the Old Testament
 
c.    To confute opponents
 
d.    To prove Jesus was the Messiah
 
e.    To establish Jesus as the legal descendant of the covenants
 
        VII. Key verses: Mt 1:1; 23:37-39
       
        VIII. Key words:
 
a.     “Fulfilled” and “fulfill” = 17 times
 
b.    “Kingdom of heaven” = 32 times
 
c.    “The Son of David” = 8 times
 
d.    Father called “Heavenly Father” 6 times and “Father in Heaven” 16 times 
 
        IX. Relationship to the Other Gospels
 
a.    Matthew is primarily Jewish and presents Christ as the King (Mt 1:1– “the Son of David”)
 
b.    Mark is primarily Roman and presents Christ as the Servant
 
c.    Luke is primarily for the Greeks and presents Christ as the perfect Son of Man
 
d.    John is universal in appeal and presents Christ as the eternal Son of God
 
          X. Strategic position of Matthew
 
Matthew links the Old Testament and the New Testament because of its position.
 
  XI. Theme
 
Matthew is not chronological but arranges material from Christ’s life according to an overall argument: Christ is the King of the Jews, rejected by Israel.
 
1. Christ reveals Himself as the long-awaited King of the Jews, 1-10
 
2. Christ prepares His disciples for the cross, 14-20
 
3. The King is openly rejected by Israel, 21-27
 
4. His resurrection and ascension as a King with all authority over all things, 28
 
  XII. Signature phrase = “the Kingdom of Heaven”
 
a.    The kingdom of heaven refers to the rule of God on the earth
 
b.    This phrase occurs 32 times and nowhere else in Scripture
 
  XIII. Characteristics
 
a.    Matthew has the largest blocks of discourse of any gospel
 
b.    Some of Matthew is chronological but mostly it is logical in arrangement
 
c.    Symbolism is Jewish
 
d.    Written to those familiar with the Old Testament
 
e.    More quotations and allusions than any other gospel:
 
1. 50 direct citations from the Old Testament
2. 75 allusions (both Hebrew and Septuagint (Greek Old Testament that Jesus used)
3. Total of 125 references or allusions in Matthew.
 
f.     Matthew refers to 25 of the 39 Old Testament books
 
g.    Matthew emphasizes the sayings of Jesus both in discourses and in narratives 
 
h.    Written in good Greek
 
i.      Phrases and words:
 
1. “Kingdom of heaven” (32 times)
2. “Kingdom of God” (4 times)
2. “Son of David” = 9 times
3. “Then” = 90 times
4. “Church” = 8 times (16:18; 18:17)
 
j.      Five great discourses:
 
1.   Sermon on the Mount (5-7)
2.   Address to the twelve (10)
3.   Seven great parables (13)
4.   Discourses on character (18)
5.   Olivet Discourse (24-25)
 
k.    15 parables
 
l.      20 miracles; 3 miracles peculiar to Matthew
 
m.   References to Gentiles: Mt 1:5; 2:1-12; 8:11,12; 12:18,21
 
n.    Matthew alone tells of Judas’ repentance: Mt 27:5-10; 27:25; 62:66; 28:11-15; 27:51,52
 
o.    Written in Greek but has Aramaic elements
 
p.    Written to the Jews of the Diaspora
 
q.    Written from Palestine
 
r.     Distinctively Jewish
 
s.    Use of parallelisms
 
t.     Referred to the Old Testament 125 times, more than any other gospel
 
        XIV. The Synoptic Problem
 
a.    Meaning of word “synoptic” = syn (with) and oyeivw (to see together)
 
b.    Problem: harmony of the gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke) and the origin of authors
 
·         Source materials for the gospels = some favor Mark and others the highly speculative “Q” document (quelle) as the primary source for Matthew. These are non-conservative viewpoints. There is no evidence to postulate the theory that the gospel writers depended on these sources.
 
c.    Most conservative scholars believe that the Gospel writers made use of a variety of sources for writing their gospels
 
          XV. Players in the Time of Christ
 

 

Pharisees—The Pharisees were the dominant religio-political party. They defended the Jewish way of life against all foreign influences. They were stringent legalists.
 
Sadducees–The Sadducees were the wealthy and socially-minded who wanted to rid Israel of tradition. They were liberal in theology and opposed the Pharisees
 
ScribesThe scribes were professional expounders of the Law, stemming back from the days of Ezra. They were hair-splitters more concerned with the letter of the Law than with the spirit of the Law.
 
HerodiansThe Herodians were strictly political opportunists. They sought to keep the Herods on the throne, because they wanted their party in power.

 

 
  XV.        SOURCE OF INFORMATION
 
1.    Writers of the gospels had extensive personal knowledge of the events.
2.    The Bible does indicate that there was a degree of oral tradition (Ac 20:35; 1 Co 7:10).
3.    Written documents were used by the gospel authors (Lu 1:1-4).
4.    The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the gospels guaranteeing its accuracy.
 
 
XVI. OUTLINE 
 
I.     Preparation for the King (1–10)
 
     A.     The person of the King (1–4)
 
          1.     Genealogy and birth (1–2)
          2.     The harbinger of the King and His inauguration (3)
          3.     Preparation for the kingdom–temptation and early ministry (4)
 
     B.     The principles of the King’s kingdom (5–7)
 
     C.     Presentation of the power and authority of the King (8–10)
 
II.      Program of the King (11–13:53)
 
     A.     Herald of the King rejected (11:1–19)
 
     B.     Negative and positive volition toward the King (11:20–30)
 
     C.     Opposition to the King (12:1–50)
 
     D.     Parables about the kingdom (13:1-53)
 
III.     Persecution of the King (13:54–20:34)
 
A.       Conflict with religion (13:54–16:12)
 
B.        Introduction of the church (16:13–28)
 
C.        Instruction of the twelve (17–18:35)
 
D.       Teaching on divorce (19:1-12)
 
E.       Blessing children (19:13-15)
 
F.       Interview with young rich man (19:16-30)
 
G.       Parable of the vineyard laborers (20:1-16)
 
H.       Prediction of death and resurrection (20:17-19)
 
I.         Ambition of sons of Zebedee of status in the kingdom (20:20-28)
 
J.        Healing of two blind men (20:29-34)
 
IV.     Presentation of the King (21–27)
 
A.       Public presentation to the Jews in triumphal entry (21:1–11)
 
B.       Preparation for the kingdom by cleansing of the temple (21:12-17)
 
C.       Conflict over the King’s authority (21:18–22:46)
 
D.       Reproof of the Pharisees (23:1-39)
 
       E.     Prophecies of the future kingdom (24–25)
 
       F.     Passion of the King (26–27)
 
V.     Postlude of the King (28)
 
A.   The empty tomb, 28:1-8
 
B.   Appearance, 28:9, 10
 
C.   Account of the soldiers, 28:11-15
 
D.   The Great Commission, 28:16-20

 

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