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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew. The symbol for the Gospel of Matthew is a man due to the genealogy of Jesus’ human origins being the opening passage in the Gospel. The Gospel of Matthew was written around 85 AD to an audience of Jewish Christians and some Gentiles.

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Part 3 the gospel of matthew
Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • The symbol for the Gospel of Matthew is a man due to the genealogy of Jesus’ human origins being the opening passage in the Gospel.

  • The Gospel of Matthew was written around 85 AD to an audience of Jewish Christians and some Gentiles.

  • The Gospel of Matthew is the first book of the New Testament, even though it was written after the Gospel of Mark.

  • This is so because through the opening genealogy of Matthew, Jesus is connected to the Old Testament by tracing His human roots back to Abraham, making a good transition from Old to New Testament.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • In the early Church, the Gospel of Matthew was the most popular of the Gospels and was even thought, for a period of time, to be the first written Gospel.

  • The Gospel of Matthew was probably written by a Jewish Christian to an audience of Jewish Christians.

  • The purpose of Matthew writing the Gospel was to show his Jewish Christian audience that believing in Jesus was completely compatible with being a faithful Jew since Jesus was the fulfillment of all God’s promises to Israel.

  • Matthew also wanted to help Jewish Christians welcome and accept Gentile, or non-Jewish, Christians to the faith community.

  • Matthew was writing to show his audience that Jesus Christ is a universal figure for all people to believe and follow, whether Jew or Gentile.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • One way Matthew showed how Jesus was a universal figure for all people was through his Infancy Narrative, or the accounts of Jesus’ birth and early life.

  • Matthew combines historical elements with interpretation that teaches us the identity and significance of who Jesus is with hindsight.

  • The infancy narrative is a type of literary form, which we discussed in Section 1.

  • Matthew and Luke are the only Gospels writers that included infancy narratives in their Gospels.

  • The infancy narratives were written after Jesus’ Resurrection, which means the writers were interpreting Jesus’ birth knowing fully He resurrected from the dead, helping to focus on Jesus’ human and divine nature.,

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • In Matthew’s infancy narrative, we see:

    • Genealogy of Jesus

    • Announcement of the birth of Jesus to Joseph

    • Magi who follow a Star (Story only appears in Matthew’s Gospel)

    • Holy Family’s Flight into Egypt

    • Massacre of Infants

    • Return from Egypt

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Matthew begins his Gospel by showing his Jewish Christian audience that Jesus is truly the son of Abraham and son of David through the genealogy of Jesus.

  • Abraham lived around 1850 B.C. and is the Israelites’ father in faith.

  • Abraham’s first covenant with God leads to the creation of Israel, making Jesus’ connection to Abraham extremely important to His Jewish identity.

  • Jesus is also a descendant of King David, who was king of Israel.

  • Matthew, for this reason, names 14 patriarchs, 14 kings, and 14 other men in a lineage that ends with Joseph, the foster father of Jesus.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Although Joseph is not Jesus’ biological father, Matthew concludes the genealogy with telling how Joseph was the husband of Mary, who bore Jesus, the Messiah.

  • Joseph adopted Jesus by taking him into his home as his son, naming him, and therefore making Jesus a descendant of Abraham and King David.

  • Jesus is now the fulfillment of all the covenants God has made with Abraham, King David, and the whole of Israel.

  • Matthew also includes five female ancestors of Jesus, 3 of whom are Gentiles, one married to a Gentile, and Mary (who is Jewish).

  • Matthew could have mentioned these Gentiles in Jesus’ lineage to show how Jesus is for all people, Jewish and Gentile alike, allowing Gentiles to also be part of the faith.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Also in Matthew’s infancy narratives is an announcement to Joseph about how Mary was pregnant with the Son of God through the Holy Spirit, something Joseph did not known at first.

  • Joseph is told that a prophecy from the Old Testament would be fulfilled in Mary’s Son:

    • “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a sin, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us.” –Prophet Isaiah

  • Here, the author of Matthew’s Gospel is showing the interconnectedness between Jesus’ birth and the prophecies of the Israelities about the coming Messiah.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Even the story about the Magi coming to offer gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh fulfill an Old Testament prophecy.

  • While the Israelites were enduring the Babylonian Exile, the Israelites were assured nations from all over will honor them through the coming Messiah:

    • “All from Sheba shall come bearing gold, frankincense, and heralding the praises of the Lord.” –Prophet Isaiah

  • By alluding to Old Testament prophecies, Matthew is showing his Jewish Christian audience that all the promises God made with Israel are fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.

  • Even King Herod rejecting the child Jesus, trying to kill Him, foreshadows how Jesus would ultimately be rejected by a majority of the Jewish nation and lead to Him being crucified, while Gentiles, like the Magi, come to accept Him as Lord.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Jesus beings his public ministry in Matthew’s Gospel by saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

  • Matthew doesn’t say the “Kingdom of God” is at hand (like Mark does in His Gospel) since he knows his Jewish Christian audience have a deep reverence for the name of God and hesitate mentioning God’s name directly.

  • The word “kingdom” here is a metaphor for the reality Jesus is teaching about God.

  • Jesus is relying on His audience’s knowledge of what an Earthly kingdom is like; that of a place where a king’s rule reigns supreme.

  • Jesus is comparing His spiritual reality to a kingdom so people can understand how Jesus’ teachings about God reign in the next life and should also in this life.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Jesus shows what God’s Kingdom is like by teaching His disciples how to pray the “Our Father.”

  • Jesus, here, shows that God is NOT ONLY Jesus’ Father, but everyone’s Father, hence the first line of the prayer, “Our Father.”

  • The lines in the prayer, “Your Kingdom come, “ and “Your will be done,” are known as Synonymous Parallelism, or a device in Hebrew poetry where the same idea is expressed in two adjacent lines but using different words, thus expanding the idea.

  • The Kingdom and God’s will are the same thing; God’s Kingdom is present wherever His will is done; the Kingdom is not just a specific geographical location.

  • This Kingdom of God can also be both present in Heaven and on Earth; “Your Kingdom come…on Earth as in Heaven.”

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • The point of the “Our Father” was to:

    • Show reverence to His holy name

    • Pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom

    • Doing God’s will

    • For our nourishment

    • For our forgiveness of our sins

    • Victory over everyday struggles with evil

Our Father

Who art in Heaven,

Hallowed be they name.

Thy Kingdom come,

Thy will be done,

On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation,

But delivery us from evil.


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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • The “Our Father” prayer unites us to God the Father and God the Son.

  • The “Our Father” prayer, for this reason, is the summary of the entire Gospel message and the quintessential prayer of the Church.

  • Jesus TAUGHT the “Our Father” prayer since Matthew portrays Jesus as a great teacher in both His words and His actions.

  • Jesus, after His Resurrection, sent forth the Apostles to also be teachers by teaching the message of the Gospel to all nations and making them part of the Church.

  • Jesus teaches primarily in Matthew through the use of stories, called parables, some of which are found in the Gospels of Mark and Luke; other parables are exclusive to Matthew.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Jesus used parables to teach about the Kingdom of God and how the Kingdom of God is both subtly growing on Earth now and, at the end of time, will be a startling event that all people see.

  • Jesus compared this growth of the Kingdom to weeds growing among wheat.

    “He proposed another parable to them.“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weedsall through the wheat, and then went off.

    When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’

    His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Luke 13: 24-30)

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • We see in this parable the Kingdom of God, the good wheat, grows slowly among the bad things of this world, or the weeds, until the sudden harvest when the bad are thrown into a fire and the good gathered into the Kingdom.

  • Jesus also teaches that entrance into the Kingdom of God is not something we earn; it is God’s gift to us for following Him and believing in Him.

  • However, we must first accept this invitation to follow God; God does not force us to follow Him.

  • Jesus taught that Pharisees and chief priests that when they rejected Him, they were rejecting God’s invitation to join into the Kingdom of Heaven.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • When will this Kingdom of God come?

  • We can get a glimpse of the Kingdom of God now when we follow Christ’s teachings; however, the Kingdom of God is not some place we can journey toward by taking a plane; it is not some physical space on Earth.

  • The Kingdom of God is a spiritual and eternal Kingdom that we enter when God’s will for us is allowed to reign in our heart.

  • Jesus also used miracles to reinforce His teaching that the Kingdom of God was at hand and near.

  • Miracles gave Jesus and the Apostles’ teachings evidence of their authority with which they preached about the Kingdom of God.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Matthew wrote a lot about Jesus’ authority and the Apostles’ authority, answering the question of the Christian Jews as to why Gentiles can join the faith, even though they do not follow Jewish Law.

    • Who has the authority to set the Gentiles free from this responsibility and still be Christian?

  • Also, if Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Israel, why did the Jewish leaders disapprove of Jesus to the point of leading Him to the cross?

  • Who was this Jesus to question the authority of the Jewish leaders and to reinterpret the Law?

  • Matthew, to answer such questions, presents Jesus as the “New Moses,” who has authority from God to promulgate the New Law.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Matthew identifies Jesus as the New Moses even in the infancy narratives through the slaughter of all the first born sons by King Herod, just like what happened when Moses was a baby when all the first born Jewish sons were killed by the Pharaoh.

  • Matthew portrays Jesus teaching the Beatitudes specifically on a mountain, later in His life, which teach us about how God calls us to the Kingdom of God.

  • Jesus on a mountain teaching the Beatitudes is an allusion to Moses teaching the Old Law of the 10 Commandments to the Israelites on Mount Sinai.

  • Jesus blatantly says that He has not come to abolish the 10 Commandments, but to fulfill them.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Jesus is teaching that obedience to the 10 Commandments begins with love of one’s neighbor, such as by:

    • Turning the other cheek

    • Not looking at others with lust

    • Not being angry and unforgiving towards others

  • Later on in the Gospel, Jesus delegates power to teach and perform miraculous actions to His Apostles.

  • Jesus tells the Apostles to go and proclaim, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.”

  • The Apostles’ ability to perform miracles added authority to their preaching.

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  • Jesus specifically chooses Peter to be the head of the Apostles.

  • Jesus says to Peter in the Gospel of Matthew:

    • “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”

    • This is where we get the Latin hymn, “Tues Petrus,” which is usually always sung at the beginning of Mass when the Pope is there since the Pope is the successor of Saint Peter.

  • Keys are a symbol of authority; only people with responsibility are given keys, even today.

  • Peter is given the keys to Heaven and given power over the Church to forgive sins, formulate doctrine, as well as govern the Church on Earth.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • After speaking to Peter, Jesus then speaks to the disciples as a whole group telling them also they have powers to loose and to bind.

  • The emphasis on authority, once more can be seen after the Resurrection when Jesus tells the Apostles, “All power in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me.”

  • Jesus gives Peter and the Apostles the authority to carry on His mission to the world.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • The account of Jesus’ Passion, death, and Resurrection is the high point of Matthew’s Gospel.

  • Matthew’s Gospel is much similar to Mark’s Gospel account of Jesus’ Passion, by including:

    • Betrayal by Judas

    • Last Supper

    • Agony in the Garden

    • Trial before Jewish leaders

    • Crucifixion, burial, and Resurrection

  • But Matthew adds detail to address his audience’s question, “Is God’s authority truly with Jesus or not?” Is believing in Jesus the fulfillment of the Jewish promises God made?

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Matthew focuses a lot of attention on how events in Jesus’ life were fulfilling the words of the Jewish prophets.

  • For example, the Prophet Jeremiah said, “And they took the 30 pieces of silver… and they paid it out for the potter’s field.

    • Judas, after betraying Jesus, regrets his actions and threw the 30 pieces of silver that was paid to him to hand over Jesus back at the Jewish chief priests, who then used the money for charity to buy a field.

  • The fact that Jesus was fulfilling Old Testament prophecies shows that God was with Jesus and that Jesus was the Messiah promised to Israel.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Matthew also portrays Jesus as innocent and that God’s authority is with Jesus, even though the religious leaders and governmental leaders abuse their authority.

  • Matthew mentions how Pilate’s wife had a dream, warning her husband that Jesus is innocent and righteous, yet Pilate turns Jesus over to be crucified anyway.

  • Jesus’ divine nature is emphasized through the use of earthquakes; Matthew uses earthquakes at the moment of Jesus’ death, Resurrection, and at the end of time to show that Jesus has authority over nature and these events were of “earth-shaking” importance.

  • Even the book of Daniel in the Old Testament speaks of how the dead will rise at the end of the age, much like the dead came to rise after Christ’s Resurrection.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • Matthew wanted to make it extremely clear to his audience that Jesus had in fact died and was buried.

  • Matthew also says how Jesus’ death was witnessed by Roman centurions (who would have nothing to gain from Jesus’ death), as well as women from Galilee.

  • These same witnesses of Jesus’ death would later on also witness the Resurrection, since Roman soldiers guarded the tomb of Jesus and the women went to go anoint Jesus’ body after the Sabbath.

  • In this way, Matthew is displaying the historical nature of Jesus’ death and Resurrection, not as events that only those who believed in Jesus saw, but those uninterested in Jesus also witnessed too.

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  • But even after the Roman soldiers witnessed the events of the Resurrection, the chief priests try to bribe the soldiers to lie about the event and tell people that the Apostles managed to steal Jesus’ body.

  • The women see Jesus resurrected and are told to tell the Apostles to meet Jesus in Galilee, to a mountain that Jesus ordered.

  • The use of a mountain, once again, is a reference to Jesus as the New Moses, who commissions the disciples to make disciples of all nations.

  • Jesus reminds the Apostles that “all power in Heaven and on Earth has been given” to Him, which leads Jesus to have God’s authority passed on o the disciples.

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Part 3: The Gospel of Matthew

  • The Gospel of Matthew concludes with Jesus saying, “I will be with you always, until the end of the age,” bringing Matthew’s Gospel full circle to the beginning with Joseph’s dream about Mary’s child.

  • The Prophet Isaiah said, “And they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

  • Jesus now says He will be with us always, until the end of the age, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah and showing Matthew’s audience that Jesus is the fulfilment of the Jewish people’s hope for a Messiah to save them.