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The Gospel of Matthew is a significant book in the Bible because it helps readers transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Matthew helps us understand how the entire Old Testament leads up to the promise and the Person of Jesus Christ. Matthew is officially anonymous. Meaning, the author never reveals his or her name directly in the text. This was a common practice in the ancient world, which often valued community more than individual. We know from very reliable sources that date back to his time that Matthew authored this book and gives his account of life with Jesus.

So, who was Matthew. Matthew was a tax collector before he met Jesus. This is interesting because tax collectors were often despised within the Jewish community. They worked to collect taxes on behalf of the Romans -- often escorted in their duties by Roman soldiers. The people were under Roman Oppression. We can easily say that his role as a tax collector would not have made him loved or respected by the people he encountered while serving with Jesus. They actually would have detested him and thought him to be a traitor. One thing we know about Jesus was that he loved everyone, including those that no one else really cared to be around. Matthew was part of that group of people that was rejected by most others for what they did for a living.

Like the other Gospels, the main purpose of Matthew's book was to record the life and teachings of Jesus. It's interesting to note that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were all written about a generation after Jesus' death and resurrection. This is important because Matthew was a primary source for Jesus' life and ministry; he was present for the events he described. Therefore, his record carries a high degree of historical reliability. The world in which Matthew wrote his Gospel was complicated both politically and religiously. Christianity grew quickly after the death and resurrection of Jesus, but the church was only just beginning to spread beyond Jerusalem when Matthew wrote his Gospel. In addition, the early Christians had been persecuted by the Jewish religious leaders since the time of Jesus -- sometimes to the point of violence and imprisonment. However, during the time Matthew wrote his Gospel, Christians were also beginning to experience persecution from the Roman Empire. In short, Matthew recorded the story of Jesus' life during a time when few people had actually been alive to witness Jesus' miracles or hear His teachings. It was also a time when those who chose to follow Jesus by joining the church were being pushed down by an ever-increasing weight of persecution.

Matthew had two primary themes, or purposes, in mind when he wrote his Gospel: biography and theology. The Gospel of Matthew was very much intended to be a biography of Jesus Christ. Matthew takes pains to tell Jesus' story to a world that needed to hear it -- including Jesus' birth, His family history, His public ministry and teachings, the tragedy of His arrest and execution, and the miracle of His resurrection. Matthew also strove to be accurate and historically faithful in writing his Gospel. He set the background for Jesus' story in the real world of His day, including the names of prominent historical figures and the many places Jesus visited throughout His ministry. Matthew was writing history, not a legend or tall tale.

However, Matthew wasn't writing just history; he also had a theological goal for his Gospel. Namely, Matthew wanted to show the Jewish people of his day that Jesus was the promised Messiah -- the long-awaited King of God's chosen people, the Jews. This is important to understand because everything Matthew does is to prove that Jesus is the KING, the Messiah. By the time Jesus was born, the Jewish people had been waiting thousands of years for the Messiah God had promised would restore the fortunes of His people and lead them as their true King. They knew from the Old Testament that the Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham and a member of King David's family line. Matthew made it a point to establish Jesus' credentials right off the bat, which is why the genealogy in chapter 1 traces Jesus' ancestry from Joseph to David to Abraham.

The Gospel of Matthew is one of the longest books in the New Testament, and it contains several important passages of Scripture -- both spoken by Jesus and about Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew can be divided into five major sermons. Taken together, these sermons represent the main body of Jesus' teaching during His public ministry. In addition to the key verses described above, the Book of Matthew contains two of the best-known passages in all the Bible: the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

1. The Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7). Often described as the world's most famous sermon, these chapters include some of Jesus' most famous teachings, including the Beatitudes. What it truly means to be a disciple of His.

2. Instructions to the twelve (chapter 10). Here, Jesus' offered crucial advice to His main disciples before sending them out on their own public ministries.

3 .Parables of the kingdom (chapter 13). Parables are brief stories that illustrate one major truth or principle. Matthew 13 includes the Parable of the Sower, the Parable of the Weeds, the Parable of the Mustard Seed, the Parable of the Hidden Treasure, and more. All stories about his kingdom and how it operates.

4. More parables of the kingdom (chapter 18). This chapter includes the Parable of the Wandering Sheep and the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. Again, about the Fathers heart and how the kingdom works.

5. Mount of Olive (chapters 24-25). These chapters are similar to the Sermon on the Mount, in that they represent a unified sermon or teaching experience from Jesus. This sermon was delivered immediately before Jesus' arrest and crucifixion. What he desires for all of us.

Again, it is important for you to remember as you read this book that Mathew had a purpose inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Matthew was written to prove that Jesus Christ is Israel's long-awaited, promised Messiah, the King of all the earth, and to make plain the Kingdom of God. The expression "kingdom of heaven” which is the same as kingdom of God is used 32 times in Matthew. Also, important to remember, Matthew was written to Greek-speaking Jewish Christians. Matthew appears to be concerned with teaching Christians who are new to the faith, missionaries, and the body of Christ in general. The predominate feature of the Gospel of Matthew is that it emphasizes Jesus Christ's kingly glory and shows him to be the true heir to the throne of David. Matthew was not written to chronicle the events of Jesus' life, but rather to present undeniable evidence through these occurrences that Jesus Christ is the promised Savior, the Messiah, Son of God, King of kings and Lord of lords.

When we read through the Gospel of Matthew, we can see that it definitely has a Jewish perspective, and with good reason. Matthew was a Jew talking to other Jews about Jesus. It is why his story was chosen first. We go from the Old Testament, where it's all about the Jewish people to the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy. During the time it was written, it would be likely that the Gospel would first be presented to Jews, then gentiles. Jews would also be considered hard to convince that Jesus was the Messiah. This is beautifully done to connect the Jewish people with the Messiah and the world to their Savior who most definitely has Jewish roots Matthew did not dismiss the importance of salvation to the gentiles and makes a point of showing that salvation is available to all through the Lion of Judah, Yeshua! (Jesus)

Key Truths:

Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures.

Jesus is the promised King (Messiah).

Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God while on earth.

Jesus' followers must spread the Kingdom to all nations.

Jesus' followers will suffer, but Jesus is always with them.

Jesus will complete the Kingdom of God at his return.

(taken from different study sources. thought co., jc studies, bible for jews, bible resources, and jewish relations)

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