Grace Words

A Daily Bible Reader's Blog

Presented by Mike Tune and Amazing Grace International, Inc.

Matthew – An Introduction

For the longest time, Matthew was considered the most important Gospel. After all, Matthew was an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry. Luke was not. Mark was considered to be an abbreviated form of Matthew. And John? He left a lot out.

Like all the gospel writers, Matthew wrote for Christian people. His audience was urban and either people of some means, or people who aspired to wealth (he mentions money more than all the other gospel writers put together). He wrote to a persecuted church (more in his gospel about trial, persecution and suffering than any other gospel).

Matthew has a unique style. He begins with a story about Jesus, then moves into Jesus’ teaching before going back to story again. He continues this alternation until he finally ends with a story. The teaching sections are easily seen. People gather to hear Jesus (Matthew 5:1; 10:1; 13:1-2; 18:1; 24:1) . He teaches them. Then Matthew writes: “When Jesus finished saying all these things” (Matthew 7:28; 11:1; 15:53; 19:1; 26:1) .

So much of the New Testament is written to remind Christians that in following Jesus, God has made them to be different – a new creation, a new humanity, God’s people – citizens of His kingdom. Matthew (and only Matthew) speaks so highly of this status he calls it the “Kingdom of Heaven.” Citizenship in that kingdom was to affect everything else in life – all behavior, every relationship, every allegiance. Citizenship was not about accepting and affirming every life choice. Citizenship required following the example of Jesus, and calling others to walk the same path. It remains the responsibility of Christians, and Matthew’s guidance is what makes his Gospel so important.

Mike Tune