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Sunday, February 27, 2011

(43) The Book of Matthew

The awaited Jewish Messiah has come.  Y'shua Ha Mashiach.

Matthew was one of the main 12 Apostles (emissary) of Jesus Christ.  He was the son of Alphaeus.  Some traditions say he was brother to James (the less).  His Jewish name is actually Mattityahu which means, "gift of Yahweh".  He also went by Levi.  God chose Matthew to write part of His Good News to give to the Jews.  Matthew wrote his inspired word around 65 AD which is about 30 years after the Resurrection of Christ.  He wrote this perhap sin the city of Anitoch.

Here are some interesting facts about the book:
  • There are 1071 verses in the book.  Sixty (60) percent of these verses are spoken by Christ Himself.
  • There are more than 130 quotes and references from the TaNaK (Old Testament), which is more than any other book.
  • "Kingdom of Heaven" is mentioned 32 times.
Who was Matthew?  Matthew was a Jew that was hired by Rome to collect taxes.  His "office" was located on the main highway that ran from Damascus to Capernaum.  The taxes that he collected was for transportation, hence why he was on the highway.  His immediate boss was Herod Antipas.  So if he was a Jew who worked for Rome probably not many of his fellow citizens cared for him much.  Toll keepers had to pay up front for the rented space.  People would say they collected more than they were supposed to because it would help pay for the rent.  Matthew was probably not trusted by his fellow Jews.  So he was hated and wasn't trusted.  If you put these together you would find a man who would have low self-esteem.  In verse 10 of chapter 9, Matthew tells of the story of how Jesus came to eat with him and all of his fellow tax collectors and other "sinners".   Matthew puts into writing his own personality.  His self-esteem shines in his writing.  God uses this personality when he inspired him to write the Gospel.  God, through the life of Matthew, shows that all types of people can be used for His glory.  It doesn't matter where you come from or what others think about you, God knows your value and can uplift you to be a world mover.  Tradition says that Matthew died of martyrdom in Ethiopia.

Matthew starts out his book by giving a record of ancestry of Christ (from Joseph's family line).  His word can be trusted because being a tax collector he had to keep good records and have access to history since taxes were collected by where you were born as the same was with a census.  However, the book was written by category instead of chronologically.  It can be separated into his ancestry, his sermons, his disciples, his parables, the church, and his death.

What is his Gospel about?  Some of the most famous ideas of Christianity are explained in his book.  The Sermon on the Mount is perhaps Christianity in the short version.  Subjects ranking from attitudes to divorce and from loving enemies to worldly possessions are all in there.  All are still relevant to even today's times.  The beatitudes are outlined for us to understand how we should respond to the world.

But why was it written?  If one took time to read it completely they would see it is filled with promises of God being fulfilled in the coming of Christ.  See above where is says interesting facts.  Prophecies are being fulfilled with each chapter such as being called a son of David, king of the Jews.  Others like how he would enter into Jerusalem (triumphant entry) and how he would come into the earth are recorded for one reason.  This was done to show that Christ was the long-awaited for Messiah that the Jews were looking for.  In chapter 10 he reinstates that Jews were still God's chosen people.  But they had lost over the years their own identity by perverting His laws.  Jesus came to not only fulfill prophecy but also to set the law straight.  His parables mentioned in Matthew are all about the listener and to the one who should know better.  The Jewish person knew what the Messiah was going to be and if he was listening to what was happening he would understand that the Kingdom of Heaven had come.  You could call this book, the News to the Jews.

Unfortunately, not all of them listened.  And just as bad many do not listen today.  The word of God is out there.  People know it but refuse to listen.

4 comments:

hawkssong68 said...

You say, "Unfortunately, not all of them listened. And just as bad many do not listen today."

But, had they listened, would there have been a crucifixion? A resurrection? A way to salvation? A lesson that death was not the end?

What about Judas? Was he not doing God's will? And if he was, where is soul?

:P

Gozreht said...

I think you are focusing on the wrong part of this lesson but it still is nevertheless an important issue that you raised.

If we wouldn't have sinned would there be a need for Jesus at all? And since there was/is a Jesus does that mean God caused sin to happen? And if God caused sin then He causes people to go to hell (Judas, maybe...). And if He causes people to go to hell then how can He be a loving and merciful God?

That is what the atheist struggles with more than anything, probably even more than just the existence of God, which is a mask they hide behind if you ask me.

I will never claim to know the answer to that question. Even if I did know I think people are too hard core (prideful) in many ways to believe it.

All I can say is that it will be a long interpretation by me that deals with foreknowledge, predestination, free-will, and even love. That of course is a poll this month. I have my own ideas and I will post them in the near future. It is too difficult just to come up with an answer on the spur that will completely explain my thoughts and say the things I want to say and mean it too.

But to address the other issue that your question addresses; when I said unfortunately, not all of them listened. I meant for themselves in the long run. If they listened to what Christ was saying they could have received His full blessings. Many did. Many though died and die in their own pride when they refused/refuse to hear what He was/is saying.

The point is the life/death/burial and resurrection is for anyone who accepts it.

No Doubt said...

Hawksong,

"But, had they listened, would there have been a crucifixion? A resurrection? A way to salvation? A lesson that death was not the end?"

Israel not recognizing the Messiah is not directly related to the crucifixion and resurrection of Y'shua. However, it is directly related to the punishment of Israel that has lasted for the last 1900+ years. Israel would not have and would not be experiencing most of the problems had they "recognized the day of their visitation".

The sacrifice, burial and resurrection of the Messiah was set in motion because of the actions of Adam and Eve not Israel.

Shalom

Gozreht said...

Again I want to stress that the lesson is about the book of Matthew and why it was written. Matthew wrote for his people, the same that made him feel like he was an outcast. But God used him anyway. And since it was written for the Jew, it stresses that this was the Messiah they had been looking for, and yet denied Him.

Anyone looking for Him needs to actually open their eyes. You can see Him all around, but many CHOOSE to deny Him, and by my opinion, due to rationalization.

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