My reading this week was the Gospel according to Matthew, the first gospel in the New Testament. Matthew has the distinctive feature of including five major discourses of our Lord Jesus Christ: the Sermon on the Mount (ch. 5-7); the commissioning of the disciples (ch. 10); parables (ch. 13); humility and forgiveness (ch. 18); and the Olivet discourse (ch. 24-25).
Matthew emphasizes that Jesus fulfills Old Testament prophecies of a coming messiah and that He is the promised king in the line of David. Matthew includes events surrounding Jesus’ birth including the arrival of the wise men, the threat from King Herod, and the flight into Egypt. Like the other gospels, Matthew goes into detail about the arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus (ch. 26-28).
Matthew, also known as Levi the former tax collector, was one of the twelve disciples. From his gospel we see:
- God’s plan of redemption promised in all the Old Testament brought to mankind in the person of Jesus Christ. The kingdom of heaven was taking place on earth. Jesus told His disciples to pray that God’s kingdom would come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven (6:9-13).
- Jesus’ life and ministry involved calling, teaching, and sending His apostles into the world with the gospel for the purpose of making disciples of all nations (ch. 10; 28:18-20).
- Jesus’ death coincided with a dramatic incident in the temple in which the curtain blocking access to the Most Holy Place was torn in two showing that through His atoning work on the cross God had made a way into His presence and formed a new holy people to proclaim His excellencies (27:51; Hebrews 9, 10; First Peter 2:9).
My heart rejoices in the good news of Matthew’s gospel. The one who sold out to Roman authorities to collect taxes from his countrymen became the forgiven believer and apostle to proclaim salvation through Jesus Christ to the entire world. Through the gospel of Matthew we learn to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you” (6:33). We learn that obedience to God is not merely a matter of outward action but of inward holiness (ch. 5-7). We see that if we are forgiven we will forgive (ch. 18). We learn that we are sent to make disciples who obey Jesus who has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Does that make your heart rejoice, too?
This week I’ll be reading Exodus 1-20.