Matthews Gospel

Bob Berry, Amersham

Category: Devotional

'Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and that every tongue should confess thai Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father', Phil. 2. 9-11.

In this gospel the Lord is always called 'Lord' by His disciples. Comparison of parallel passages of the gospels show that the Lord's supremacy is brought out in Matthew, 'for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him', says the kingly Psalm 45.

He is the son of David, the son of Abraham, 1. 1. Accordingly the book shows Him to be King, 2. 2, and the One in whom all the nations of the world will be blessed, 28. 19. Seven times in the book men call Him the son of David. Abraham was called out; so is the Lord, 2. 15; and so is the church, seen in chapter 16. They which are of faith are the true children of Abraham, Gal. 3. 7, and much is said about faith here - of Israel's lack of it usually, but of some extraordinary gentle examples of faith. Matthew adds the incident of Peter walking on the water, looking unto Jesus.

We see the Lord closely identified with His people, 'Out of Egypt have I called my son', 2. 15; 'himself took our infirmities and bare our sick­nesses', 8. 1 7. The genealogy in chapter 1 brings all Israel's history before the reader. In chapter 2 Herod kills the young boys of Bethlehem in a satanic attempt to destroy the Saviour, just as Pharaoh once sought to kill the baby boys born to Israel; but, like Moses, the Lord is preserved in Egypt. In chapter 3 the Lord is baptized in Jordan: Israel was baptized in the Red Sea, see 1 Cor. 10. 2. Like Israel He is found in the wilderness in chapter 4, where He is tempted without success by the Devil with tempta­tions corresponding to those in which Israel failed, and in the same order, the opposite scriptures quoted by the Lord from Deuteronomy being the very ones given by God in correction for those failures. In 4. 16 the Lord is seen as a bright testimony - a testimony which reaches to the Gentiles - as Israel ought to have been. Chapters 5 to 7 show the precepts of the kingdom of heaven which are now to characterize the Lord's people. There are three incidents in chapter 8: the healing of the leper with a touch, suggesting the Lord's dealings with Israel as One in their midst; the bringing back to life of the centurion's servant from a distance, suggesting the blessings to Gentiles today; and the recovery of Peter's wife's mother in the house from a fever, suggesting the resumed dealings of the Lord with Israel during the tribulation. In chapters 9 to 12 the Lord teaches the people, but the testimony is largely rejected. As a result the Lord speaks to them in dark parables in chapter 13. The first four parables trace the development of evil in opposition to the gospel, with the false masquerad­ing as the true. Next comes the treasure, the faithful remnant of Israel in the world; then the pearl, depicting the unique church; then the dragnet, at the end of the age. The pattern of these three parables is developed in the following chapters. There is rejection again before the faithful Jewish remnant are set forth in the feeding of the five thousand. In chapter 15, following more rejection, blessing goes out to four thousand who in a large part were Gentiles. The church is seen in its universal sense in chapter 16, and its local in chapter 18, the intervening chapter showing the kingdom coming invisibly. More rejection still brings the Lord to prophecies concerning the end of the age, 24. 3, and the Millennium, 25. 34. Then rejection is brought to its climax in the crucifixion of the Lord.

In the gospel which speaks of heaven we also read most of hell. Six of the seven occurrences of 'there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth' are found here. Companion scriptures are Psalm 45 and Revelation 19. The Lord is seen in this book as sitting, as befits a king.

Matthew contrasts the real with the false; whether the way to life or the way to destruction, a good or bad tree, a good or bad fountain, wheat or tares, wise or foolish virgins, sheep or goats - all of which bear a superficial outward similarity, but the differences are evident at the end.

While Mark gives us the Lord's works, Matthew gives us the Lord's teachings, the book being divided by 'when Jesus had ended these sayings', or similar words, 7. 28; 13. 53; 19. 1; 26. 1.

The Lord is set forth as the trespass offering, His blood being shed for the remission of sins, 26. 28. Many other themes are to be found in this gospel.