The Gospel of Matthew is, in most Bibles, the first of the four biographies of Jesus written by his followers and received by the church as scripture, and the first book in the New Testament. Matthew is attributed to the apostle of that name, a former tax collector called by Jesus.
Matthew places a particular emphasis on Jesus as the Messiah. He frequently references Old Testament to show how some aspect of the life of Jesus is a fulfillment of messianic prophecy.
I find this an interesting point of comparison between Christianity and some later religions that claim some connection to the Jewish or Christian scriptures or historic people from them. Islam and Mormonism, along with some others, claim that the Bible was corrupted over time and had to be replaced or corrected by later texts. The authors of the New Testament, in contrast, accepted, relied on, and appealed to the authority of the existing Jewish Bible.
The book is organized in this fashion:
-Jesus’ ancestry and early life,
-His parables, and
Only Luke pays comparable attention to the nativity and early life of Jesus. Matthew presents this as evidence that Jesus fulfilled prophecies that the Messiah would be a descendent of David, born of a virgin in Bethlehem, and spend time in Egypt.
Jesus’ ministry began with his baptism by John, himself a fulfillment of prophecy that the Messiah would be announced by a prophet like Elijah. Eventually, Jesus commissions others to carry His message. This section includes the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes. The miracles He performed were evidence of His authority from God.
Jesus is known as a teller of parables. Matthew presents several in one section that relate to the Gospel and Kingdom of God. Later, Jesus uses a series of parables to prepare His disciples for the things leading up to His crucifixion.
The death and resurrection of Jesus are not only fulfillments of prophecy, but are also the culmination of His work. On the cross, He bore the punishment for all the sins of man. In his resurrection, He demonstrated the means and hope of eternal life for those who follow Him.
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