MATTHEW

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There are four divinely expressed Gospels in the New Testament.  Within this collection of inspired words, we can see Jesus as the King in the book of Matthew, as the Servant in the brief words of Mark, and as the Son of Man in the recordings by doctor Luke. Then the book of John crowns the good news as he confirms that Jesus is the Son of God.  Matthew picks up what Mark omitted, but there are volumes that were never recorded.

As Matthew’s audience was the Jews, many scriptures are quoted to verify prophecy. The name Matthew means “gift of the Lord” and what a gift that Matthew’s account is! This book emphasizes a number of fulfilled prophecies!

He was an ordinary man who lived in Israel during the forceful rule of the Roman Empire.  God chose the voice of this particular tax-collector to break the 400 years of silence between Malachi’s prophecy and the announcement of the birth of Jesus, the Messiah. The New Testament is a New Covenant, a New Formal Agreement between God and His people.  It begins with the book of Matthew in a 28 chapter collection of eyewitness facts that artfully mix in with the personal letters of the other three Gospels.  Matthew places the story of Jesus within world history by reciting the royal genealogy of Christ, the King.

This all-inclusive text brings the creation story forward as the good news, in a Gospel that connects the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus as the fulfilled prophecy of the Old Testament. In the days of Moses and Noah any news traveled by foot and it was mostly oral. A written record is necessary so that facts can be verified. The scientific mind of doctor Luke wrote; “Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you.”  (Luke 1:1)

Fourteen generations plus fourteen more, plus fourteen more generations were recorded from Abraham to the birth of Jesus.  Our God is a God of precise order and He proficiently confounds the wise with His Ways. The lineage of Jesus is listed in the first chapter of Matthew. From Abraham, we see the name of Boaz, the guy who married Ruth, and his mother was Rahab the prostitute who historically helped Joshua conquer Jericho!

INSIGHT: Regardless of your past, your faith in the Truth of the history of the Bible is enough for you to become a kid of the King!  The book of Matthew affirms that Jesus Christ is the long awaited Messiah, the King. The birth of Jesus took place to fulfill our heavenly Father’s promise of a Messiah. The oracles of all the prophets promoted was the day when the Savior arrival.

The person God chose to birth the King of Kings was a young woman named Mary.  She was engaged to be married to Joseph but as God would order it; “She was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 1:18) Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem during the horrible reign of king Herod.  The prophecy of Micah 5:2 fulfilled.  But you, Bethlehem  “for out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

A few scholars arrived in Jerusalem and inquired; “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” Well that question fell on Herod’s ears. He had the scholars brought before him and asked where this king was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea, they replied.” (Matt 2:5) Herod secretly found out the exact time the leading star had appeared and he encouraged the scholars to; “Go make a careful search for this child, and report to me as soon as you find him so that I can worship him too.”

This group of scholars known as the Magi, found Mary with the baby Jesus and they worshipped him and presented the child with gifts.  The Magi were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and so they returned home.  After the visitors of Jesus departed; “an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.” (Matt 2:13) Joseph packed up Mary and child and got out of Bethlehem rode to Egypt.   Joseph’s obedience fulfilled the prophecy of Hosea 1:1 “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he gave orders to kill all the baby boys born in Bethlehem who were age 2 or under. This fulfilled the prophet Jeremiah 31:15 “weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” After Herod died, Joseph was visited by an angel of the Lord in another dream. “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” (Matt 2:19)

Obedient to God, Joseph took his family to live in Nazareth which fulfilled what Isaiah 7:14 foretold. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, an will call him Immanuel.”

The meaning of the name Immanuel is God with us.   In the third chapter of Matthew John the Baptist arrives on the scene as a grown preacher in the desert of Judea. John was the child of Zachariah and Elizabeth. John was born in a small village near Jerusalem called Ein Karem.  As God ordered it, Jesus and John first met before they were born. When Mary was pregnant with Jesus she visited Elizabeth who was at the same time, pregnant with John the Baptist. WOW “the baby (John) leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child (Jesus) you will bear!” (Luke1:41) – It seems that God called John to preach while he was in the womb of Elizabeth!

As John was preaching “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near” John the Baptist was fulfilling what the prophet Isaiah 40:3 said. “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him.’’ (Matt 3:3) John was standing in the Jordan River and baptizing with water for repentance and proclaiming; “But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry.” (Matt 3:11)

After humble hesitation, John consented and baptized Jesus. As soon Jesus came up out of the water, heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending on him. And a voice from heaven said; ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matt 3:15-17)

The Spirit of God led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. This sounds much like the story of Moses and Job. After Jesus fasted for 40 days, He must have been hungry.  “The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered that temptation by speaking words contained in Deuteronomy 8:3 “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

INSIGHT: As we are challenged to become like Jesus, we must know that as soon as we are baptized, we too will be tempted. In this scripture we are being taught by the example of Jesus to speak the Word of God, and the devil will be defeated and flee. The evil one seeks to destroy us by luring us with hopes of fame and fortunes.

The devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world from atop a high mountain and said ”All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me.” To this Jesus replied; “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Jesus was again speaking in the power of the word as found in Deuteronomy 6:13 “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only.” The devil fled and angels came to tend to Jesus.

While Jesus was in the desert for 40 days, John the Baptizer was put in prison. Jesus left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum, near the sea of Galilee.

This fulfills Isaiah 9:1 “He will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan – the people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” Walking beside the sea of Galilee, Jesus calls His first disciples, two brothers, Simon and Peter, both fishermen. “Come follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news and healing the sick. His disciples met with him on a mountainside and Jesus taught them. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matt 5)

Jesus taught by example that we are to rejoice when we are persecuted, falsely accused, or insulted for following His Ways. For great is our reward in heaven, as we endure the same unjustified treatment as the prophets before us. The book of Matthew gives us keys to living as it exhorts us to love our enemies and give to the needy. Jesus teaches us how to pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matt 6:9)

Jesus emphasizes forgiveness: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt 6:14)

We are to trust God and not worry as we store up treasures in heaven, for where are treasures are, there is our heart.  Our Father knows the contents of our hearts. God wants us to examine our own hearts that we may know as He knows what we store in the depth of our souls. Do we treasure, or desire to please God, or do we treasure, fame and fortune and seek to please ourselves?

While reading the book of Matthew, God is calling us to Listen, Trust and “walk this way”. All of history began in Genesis by a Word spoken! His Word is alive as it activates our faith! Within the writings of Matthew we find several great teachings of Jesus. We are encouraged to seek God and discover that He faithfully opens the door for all who call knock.

In chapter 9 Jesus calls Matthew, a despised tax collector to join Him as one of his disciples. There are a number of parables in this book. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning tucked inside the various parables that Jesus shared. Matthew records multiple miraculous healings and in chapter fourteen we are told that John the Baptist was beheaded by king Herod and shortly after that Jesus miraculously feeds five thousand.

The story of Jesus walking on water is found in Matthew 14:22 and in Matthew 16:24 Jesus predicts His own death. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus then takes Peter, James and the disciple John to a high mountain. “There He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” (Matt 17)

His friends were shocked to see what they saw, but then they heard a voice from a cloud say; “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matt 17:5) Terrified, they fell down on their faces.  Jesus touched them and told them not to be afraid.

INSIGHT: God spoke and said “Listen to Jesus” when He speaks to you, and do not be afraid of what He may ask you to do.

The disciples were baffled as they asked Jesus more questions. INSIGHT: Whenever we are taken by surprise by what the Word of God says, it is wise to sit back and ask the Holy Spirit to clarify, to show us, to teach us.

After several chapters of parables and warnings, the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 is fulfilled in Matthew 21. “See, your king come to you, gentle and riding on a donkey.” The last supper of Jesus and his arrest is recorded in Matthew chapter 26 as His trial, crucifixion, death and burial are in Chapter 27. The glory of His resurrection is the true meaning of Easter, and it is all recorded in Matthew chapter 28. “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven an on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with always, to the very end of age.”(Matt 28:16)

The book of Matthew is the first of the four Gospels, the good news. Each Gospel writer has a different audience, but all together they paint a riveting picture of who Jesus is and how He conquered sin, Satan and death.

Copyright © 2019 by Barbara Alley Hoyle.

All rights reserved.

(click on BLOGGER TAB “Books of Bible” for the rest of the story)

“It is finished.” 4/20/19

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