The Gospel according to Matthew is the first book in the New Testament, and also serves as a bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The gospel tells us of Jesus and his teachings. It is believed that the Gospel originated with Matthew, one of Jesus' disciples, and it circulated anonymously (Harris 149). The message in this gospel was compiled to minister to a Jewish and Jewish-Christian community when tensions between early Christians and postwar Jewish leaders aggravated bitter controversy. The Gospel of Matthew was written as an encouragement to the Greek-speaking Jewish Christians and Gentiles who were, at least partly, Torah observant during the 80s C.E. probably at Antioch in Syria (Harris 148). The teachings of Matthew gave special attention to presenting Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, in whom the writers of the Old Testament prophesied would come true (Matthew 1:21-22).
From the onset, Matthew established Jesus' messianic credentials by listing a record of his genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17. Matthew wanted to present Jesus' life in the context of Biblical Law and prophecy (Harris 149). Throughout the entire Gospel, Matthew highlights Jesus' execution of ancient predictions, frequently emphasizing the connection between Jesus and the assurances made to Israel, for instance, the royal dynasty of David. Matthew quoted from, paraphrased, or alluded to the Hebrew Bible to demonstrate that Jesus' entire career, from conception to resurrection, was predicted centuries earlier by biblical writers from Moses to Malachi (Harris 149). Matthew used a literary formula in his teachings that made the connection between prophecy and specific events in Jesus' life. For example, ...
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... and arose on the third day to redeem men and bring them into the Kingdom of Heaven. In brief, the teachings of Matthew showed that Jesus fulfilled all the promises of God for a messianic king. Christ the King commanded, "Seek ye first the kingdom." Life in the kingdom of heaven is a surrender of earth's offerings in order to enjoy the riches as a child of the King. In the scripture passages according to Matthew, the risen Jesus issued a "great commission" to "make all nations his disciples". This commission is being followed by many Christians today in their quest to lead lost souls to their Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Harris, Stephen L. The New Testament: A Student's Introduction. 4th ed. Sacramento, California: McGraw Hill, 2002.
The Zondervan Corporation. The New Student Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids, Michigan: 1992.
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