Friday, January 5, 2018

Matthew - An Introduction

In today's study, we introduce the first book of the New Testament and take a look at Matthew 1:1.

The Gospels cover a period of about thirty-five years. Here are some interesting facts: 

They open with an announcement in the Temple of God (Lk. 1:11-20) and close with the ascension of the Son of God (Lk. 24:50-51).

As the Old Testament began with manmade in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), the Gospels open up with God made in the image of man (Jn. 1:14).

The man made in the image of God was defeated by Satan in a garden when defied God’s will (Gen. 2:8; 3:1-7), but the God made in the image of man defeated Satan in a garden when He submitted to His Father’s will (Lk. 22:39-42).

Prior to the Gospels, sheep died for shepherds (Ex. 12:1-13), but now the Shepherd was going to die for the sheep (Jn. 10:11).

At his birth he was offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh by wise men who worshipped him (Mt. 2:11), while at his death he was offered thorns, vinegar, and spittle by wicked men who ridiculed him (Mt. 27:29, 34, 26:67).

The Gospels describe Jesus saving sinners under a tree (Jn. 1:48), up a tree (Lk. 19:4-5), and on a tree (Lk. 23:43).

The Synoptic Gospels
The first three gospels have been labeled as the Synoptic Gospels. Synoptic means “seeing together”.  There is a structure found among Matthew, Mark, and Luke in their presentations of the ministry of Jesus. They all have what is called a “geographic sequence” in that they all focus on our Lord’s ministry in Galilee, his withdrawal to the North, his ministry in Judea on his way back to Jerusalem and final ministry there. This sequence is not found at all in the John (e.g., the sending out of the twelve, the transfiguration, the Olivet Discourse and the Last Supper are not found in John either.

Synoptic Parallels
Some theories about why they are so similar include Common dependence on one original lost gospel (the Ur-Gospel). Common dependence on oral sources. Common dependence on gradually developing written fragments. Interdependence (each writer used the other to pen their own).

The First Gospel
For centuries, the church thought that Matthew was the first gospel to be written.  However, a closer look reveals doubts. It appears that Mark was written first, followed by Luke, and then Matthew. Further evidence that Mark was first is that 97% of Mark’s words have direct parallels in Matthew and 88% of Mark’s words are found in Luke.

Suggested Outline
I favor what is called the Christological Development outline.

The Person of Jesus Messiah (1:1-4:16)
The Proclamation of Jesus Messiah (4:17-16:20)
The Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Messiah (16:21-28:20)

The suggested breaks are the words, “from that time on” (4:17; 16:22).

However, to bring the outline down a little smaller, it would be…

The Prologue (1:1-2:23)
The Gospel of the Kingdom (3:1-7:29)
The Kingdom Extended (8:1-11:1)
Rising Opposition (11:2-13:53)
Progressive Polarization (13:54-19:2)
Open Opposition (19:3-26:5)
The Passion and Resurrection (26:6-28:20)

v.1 The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:

The first thing that we see when Matthew opens his gospel is that he introduces Jesus as the son of David and the son of Abraham. I believe the reason that God did this was to show that both the Davidic and the Abrahamic Covenants were to be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. They were not as a result of his rejection, but they were offered. (cf. Mal. 4:5; Matt. 17:12-13). 

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