An Insight to the Gospel of Matthew

A brief summary and analysis

The Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel of Matthew is one of the three synoptic Gospels, it was written by an unknown Jewish Christian author; and although there is a lot of controversy regarding the date it was written, it is thought that it was written in about the late first century. It is directed for Jewish Christians, that is why it has a big Jewish background and it focuses on the genealogy of Jesus and the Old Testament.

Unique Images, Themes, and Stories

I- Stories

  • The Three Magi
  • Annunciation to Joseph
  • Fleeing to Egypt
  • Healing of Two Blind Men

II- Images

  • "Kingdom of Heaven" vs. "Kingdom of God"

III- Themes

  • Fulfillment of the Old Covenant through Jesus
  • The passing on of authority to the Apostles

Unique Parables

- The Ten Bridesmaids

- The Wedding Banquet

- The Laborers in the Vineyard

- The Weeds Among the Wheat

- The House Built on Rock


Matthew gives Jesus several new titles such as Savior, Son of David, Son of Abraham, New Moses, Prophet, King of Jews

1. Son of Abraham

  • Matthew uses a genealogy to emphasize Jesus being a descendant of Abraham

2. Son of David/ King of Jews

  • The genealogy also shows Jesus being a descendant of David
  • The repetitive use of number fourteen because the number of David's name is fourteen in hebrew gematria (D=4 V=6 D=4)
  • references to the exile in Babylon, since that is when David's descendants ceased to rule
  • many times, kings were characters in Jesus' parables
  • the title "King of Jews" was used to mock Jesus during the crucifixion

3. Savior/ Emmanuel

  • When the angel appears to Joseph, he tells him that Mary will bear a son who will be named "Emmanuel" meaning "God saves"
  • During the storm on the boat, the disciples called out to Jesus to save them
  • Jesus tells parables about being saved, one of them about how hard it is for rich people to be saved
  • On the cross, the soldiers mock Jesus saying "save yourself"

4. New Moses

  • both are referred to as teachers and prophets
  • both escape from infant massacres
  • both spent forty days and forty nights in the desert
  • both gave the Law on a mountain
  • when Moses' life was threatened, he went from Egypt, to Israel, and back to Egypt; when Jesus' life was threatened, he went from Israel, to Egypt, and back to Israel

Animal Depiction

- Human / Angel

- Alludes to genealogy

- Makes ties to Jesus being the Messiah, relating to the Old Testament

The Model Disciple

Matthew has a number of models that represent the ideal disciple.

1. A loyal subject that obeys a king's order

  • At the end of the gospel, Jesus commands his disciples to make disciples of all nations and to teach them the law that the disciples followed

2. A good student that learns and understands their teacher

  • Jesus repeatedly tells his disciples to listen and understand
  • Jesus told his disciples that they are not rabbi, for they have one teacher and ey are all students

3. A disciple must be righteous

  • In the beatitudes, the word "righteous" was repeated many times
  • "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake"

4. Must put faith into action

  • Jesus repeatedly compares good disciples to trees saying that they must bear fruit
  • In the parable of the son, one of the sons acts but the other son does not

5. Must know the difference between good and evil very well

  • There are a number of parables about seeing between good and evil such as the parable of the weeds and the wheat
  • This theme ia stressed through Jesus' teachings about following God's commands, putting faith into action, and the consequences if these aren't done

6. Lives in a community of other believers to share in the faith

  • Be humble to others and avoid making them stumble (Matt 18:8-10)
  • Matthew is the only one of the four gospels to use the word church
  • Teaches the four step process to help a member in the community who is sinning

7. Is able to forgive, show mercy, and reconcile

  • Has many teachings and parables that emphasize the importance of being able to forgive
  • The parable of of the unmerciful servant teaches to the importance of forgiving
  • Has powerful quotes involving forgiveness such as, "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt 6: 14-15)

The Five Major Discourses/ Sermons

When writing his Gospel, Matthew took material from Mark's Gospel and incorporated it into his own. However Matthew made his own, unique work. Most of this work is found under the Five Major Discourses/ Sermons. Each of Five Discourses/ Sermons ends with the words "When Jesus had finished saying these things..."

1. The First Discourse (Matt 5-7): Sermon on the Mount, Salt of the Earth, the Beatitudes, Law and Prophets, and Jesus' teachings on several subjects such as adultery, divorce, murder, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving

2. The Second Discourse (Matt 10): choosing the twelve, naming the twelve, the mission of the twelve, persecution of disciples, cost of discipleship, division in the household, rewards of hospitality

3. The Third Discourse (Matt 13): a collection of parables including the parable of the sower, parable of the net, parable of the hidden treasure, parable of the leaven, parable of the mustard seed, and the parable of the Tars/ Weeds. It also includes the reason for speaking in parables and Jesus' explanation of the parable of the Sower and the Seeds

4. The Fourth Discourse (Matt 18): contains instructions to the community about true greatness, warnings against temptation, reconciliation, and reproving one's brother. It also contains parables such as parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the unforgiving servant

5. The Fifth Discourse (Matt 23-25): contains stories about Jesus' lament, woe to the scribes and the Pharisees, prediction of the destruction of the temple, signs before the End, persectutions predicted, the Coming of Christ, the last judgments, and false Christs and false Prophets. It also contains parables such as the parable of the fig tree, parable of the ten virgins, parable of the talents, parable of the good servant, and wicked servants.