Although Mark likely has the distinction of writing the first of the four gospels, the gospel according to Matthew comes first in our New Testament. Because Matthew's is the most Jewish of all four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), it's appropriate to find it as the first book of the New Testament; it's also the gospel most closely linked to the Old Testament's text, cultures, and practices; and it highlights the prophecies made regarding the coming of the Messiah.
Matthew’s central theme is promise and fulfillment: God’s promises in the Hebrew Scriptures to bring salvation to his people, Israel, and to the whole world are being fulfilled with the coming of Jesus the Messiah.
Matthew uses many titles for Jesus in his Gospel, including Messiah, King, Lord, Son of God, Son of Man, Son of David, Immanuel, etc. All of these have their roots in the Old Testament and point in one way or another to the theme of fulfillment and the coming of the kingdom of heaven.
The Bible gives us four accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry. Each covers many of the same experiences from different perspectives. Some recount moments the others don't. Each was written in a specific context for a specific purpose, affecting how we understand its allusions, references, and framing.
If you haven’t studied Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John closely, you may have trouble recalling what sets each of these books apart.
† Eight noteworthy facts about Matthew’s gospel to remember (compliments of Jesus Film Project)
1. Matthew was primarily written for a Jewish audience.
2. Five women are included in Matthew’s genealogy.
3. The symbol for the Gospel of Matthew is a winged man.
4. The book contains more than 130 Old Testament quotes and allusions.
5. Matthew repeatedly used two phrases no other gospel includes.
6. The book of Matthew is one of the three synoptic gospels.
7. Matthew introduces Jesus as “Messiah.”
8. Matthew is the only gospel that mentions the magi at Jesus’ birth.
Thanks to Bible Project, we can see and appreciate the mysterious promised deliverer whom Matthew revealed. He, the Messiah, would one day come to confront evil and rescue humanity.
AllAudio Bible brings the original Jesus narrative to the screen using the gospel text as its script, word for word. Filmed nine years ago, this series deals with all the facets of Jesus Christ’s life, including the nativity, Herod, the baptism of John the Baptist, up to Jesus' death and resurrection.
Click the list or the “bird” to enlarge and use Warren’s list of forty-four of Jesus’ parables (a PDF file with links).
Introduction to Matthew’s Gospel:
Matthew, one of the twelve apostles, is believed by the majority of Bible scholars today to have written this gospel. He, whose name means "gift of the Lord," was a tax collector who, when personally called by Jesus, left his tax collector's booth to follow Jesus (Matthew 9:9–13). He's called by his other name, Levi, in Mark's and Luke's gospels.
Date and Place of Writing
Because of this gospel's Jewish slant, many believe that it was written in Palestine while others think that it had been written in Syrian Antioch. Based on its Jewish characteristics, it was possibly written in the early church period, perhaps the beginning of 50 AD, when the gospel was preached only to Jews (see Acts 11:19). However, others date it later, after Mark's gospel had been in circulation for some time.
Clearly, seeing that Matthew wrote this gospel in Greek, his readers were obviously Greek-speaking people, including Jews. Although much of what Matthew expresses is aimed at the understandings of Jewish readers, he didn't allow his gospel to be restricted to the Jewish culture. In fact, it often highlighted non-Jewish events, practices, and mores, giving it a more comprehensive, all-encompassing presentation.
Without doubt, Matthew made a stern effort to prove to his Jewish readers that Jesus was their Messiah. All three synoptic gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) cite relevant Old Testament Scriptures, however, Matthew also includes a variety of excerpts meant to conclusively reinforce the basic theme of this narrative, that Christ Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT prophecies about the coming Messiah. In addition, because Matthew was writing to Jews, it was important for him to begin his gospel by identifying Jesus' Davidic lineage, referring to him as "the son of David."
• Sermon on the Mount
(1) relationship of subjects of kingdom to self (5:1–16),
(2) relationship of subjects of kingdom to Law (5:17–48),
(3) relationship of subjects of kingdom to God (6), and
(4) relationship of children of King to each other (7)
9As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”