Introducing Matthew

A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew

As all students of God’s word are aware, God has special messages to give in each book and letter recorded in the Bible and the book of Matthew is no exception. God has taken great care to cast Jesus as many things to us. Jesus bears many titles; Lion of the tribe of Judah, to the Lamb of God; High Priest, to King. So as we carefully examine Matthew for clues we begin to see a special image of Jesus form. This image becomes very clear as we spend time looking for God’s clues to Jesus identity in Matthew. The image that emerges is Jesus the King.

Often, the tone of a book of the Bible is set in its’ first few verses. Matthew opens with:

Matthew 1:1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Here, Matthew gives an introduction of Jesus by giving his lineage. Luke also gives his lineage but through his mother Mary which shows Jesus coming all the way through Adam. Matthew starts at Abraham and distinguishes David as well.

The rest of this paper will not be so much a commentary but a comparison of Matthew with the other Gospels. Matthew brings out features of Jesus that are not shown in the other Gospels. Whenever you read verses where no other Gospel letter is beside, Matthew alone is making a peculiar point. For example:

Matthew 2:3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

Whenever you see Matthew along side of one of the other Gospels it is to note the difference between the accounts. The difference is shown with the underscored words. For example:

Matthew 12:50
For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

Mark 3:35
Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."
Luke 8:21
He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice."

Jesus lineage is Kingly

David was the first King of Israel who also received the special promise that his seed would reign forever.

Psalm 89:27-29

I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure.

Likewise Abraham is the starting place. Abraham was a King in his own right, promised that his seed would also be great.

Genesis 22:17-18

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (KJV)

Jesus Sought by Royalty

Matthew 2:1-3

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

Jesus Birth Stirs King Herod to Brutality

Matthew 2:3

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

Matthew 2:16

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

Kingdom of Heaven

The Phrase "Kingdom of Heaven" occurs 31 times in Matthew, none in the other Gospels! Kingdom obviously means ‘realm of the King’, but what does Heaven imply. It should conjure of thoughts of great power. We can not get to heaven on our own. Every being in heaven has far more power than we can even imagine. Heaven is the seat of God’s Kingly power.

Isaiah 66:1

This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?

Other Heavenly references

Matthew 12:50
For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
Mark 3:35
Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."
Luke 8:21
He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice."

Matthew 6:1

"Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Matthew 6:9
"This, then, is how you should pray: "`Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Luke 11:2
He said to them, "When you pray, say: "`Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.

 

Matthew 7:21
"Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Luke 6:46
"Why do you call me, `Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?

 

Matthew 16:15-20

15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

Mark 8:29-30

29 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Peter answered, "You are the Christ."

30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Luke 9:20-21

20 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Peter answered, "The Christ of God."

21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone.

Matthew 18:10 "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Matthew 18:14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

Matthew 18:19 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.

Matthew 23:9 And do not call anyone on earth `father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.

Comparison of John’s Preaching

Matthew

Mark

Luke

Matthew 3:1-2

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

Mark 1:4

And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 3:2-3 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Righteousness: A Peculiar characteristic of Jesus Kingdom

"Righteousness" occurs twice as many time in Matthew than the other Gospels combined.

"Righteous" occurs three times as many in Matthew than the other Gospels combined

John’s Baptism

Matthew 3:15

15 Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.

Mark 1:9

9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

Miscellaneous verse on Righteousness

Matthew

Luke

Matthew 1:19
Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
 
Matthew 5:44-45
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Luke 6:35-36
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Matthew 10:41
Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward.
 
Matthew 13:17
For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
Luke 10:24
For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it." (NRSV)
Matthew 13:43
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
 
Matthew 13:49
This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous
 
Matthew 23:27-29
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness 29 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.
Luke 11:44

"Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it."

Matthew 23:35
And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
Luke 11:51
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.
Matthew 25:37
"Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
 
Matthew 25:46
"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
 
Matthew 5:6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Luke 6:21
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Matthew 5:10 - 11
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteous, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Luke 6:22-23
Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
23 "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
Matthew 5:20
For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
 
Matthew 6:1
"Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
 
Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Luke 12:31
But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 21:32
For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
 

Jesus’ Parables

Matthew 18:23
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents…
Matthew 22:2
"The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 "Then he sent some more servants and said, `Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.'
Luke 14:16
Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, `Come, for everything is now ready.' 18 "But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, `I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.'

Kingly Characteristics Peculiar to Matthew

Matthew 22:2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.

Matthew 5:35 ...or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.

Matthew 18:23 "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.

Matthew 22:2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.

Matthew 25:33-34 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

Son of David

Matthew 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 21:15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant.

Matthew 15:22
A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."
Mark 7:26
The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

Matthew 12:23 All the people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?"

Ruler

Matthew 2:6 "`But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"

Authority

Matthew 7:29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

But I say unto you

The phrase "But I say unto you" occurs 15 times in the Gospels, 12 in Matthew

Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Matthew 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Matthew 5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:

Matthew 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Matthew 12:6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.

Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Matthew 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

Matthew 26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

Miscellaneous notes

Son of David as acknowledged by many

Matthew 21:9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

"Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

Matthew 21:15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant.

Born King of the Jews

Matthew 2:2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

All the gospels give the account of the Jesus as King of the Jews at his crucifixion but only Matthew at Jesus birth.

Kingly Word(s) Statistics

Word(s)

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

King

19

10

11

13

King (less Jesus Last Day)

15

3

7

4

Kingdom

52

18

41

3

Kingdom of heaven

31

0

0

0

Righteousness

7

0

2

2

Righteous

12

2

6

1

Heaven

64

14

28

16

Son of David

10

3

5

0

But I say unto you

12

1

2

0

 

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