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St. George

Alternate Lecture on: NT 600 New Testament Survey

Alternate Lecture on: NT 600 New Testament Survey

Gospel of St. Matthew

by Timothy Kenney, PhD

The Gospel of St. Matthew (literally, "according to Matthew" in Greek), is the first Gospel in the New Testament. According to Tradition, after Pentecost St. Matthew preached the Good News of the Lord's Resurrection throughout Palestine. Then, "at the request of the Jewish converts at Jerusalem, the holy Apostle Matthew wrote his Gospel describing the earthly life of the Savior before leaving to preach the Gospel in faraway lands." He then left to preach his Gospel in Syria, Media, Persia, Parthia, before being martyred in Ethiopia.

Because it was first recorded in Palestine, there is some speculation and evidence that Matthew's Gospel was originally written in Aramaic, though the earliest surviving version now in existence is in Greek. It was probably written somewhere from AD 60-65, though more liberal scholars put the date at 80-100.

Matthew addresses his Gospel primarily to the Jews to convince them that Jesus of Nazareth is their Messiah, the King of the Jews. With the genealogy of Jesus, Matthew also uses ten fulfillment quotations by which he seeks to show that this Jesus, though rejected and crucified, is the long-awaited Messiah of the Old Testament (Matt. 1:23; 2:15; 2:18; 2:23; 4:15; 8:15; 12:18-21; 13:35; 21:5; 27:9-10). But though rejected by the nation as a whole and crucified, the King left an empty tomb.

The preaching and deeds of the Savior are presented by the evangelist in three divisions, constituting three aspects of the service of the Messiah: as Prophet and Law-Giver (Matt. 5-7), Lord over the world both visible and invisible (Ch. 8-25), and finally as High Priest offered as Sacrifice for the sins of all mankind (Matt. 26-27). The text organizes easily into none topical sections.

The theological content of the Gospel, besides the Christological themes, includes also the teaching about the Kingdom of God and about the Church, which the Lord sets forth in parables about the inner preparation for entering into the Kingdom (Matt. 5-7), about the worthiness of servers of the Church in the world (Matt. 10-11), about the signs of the Kingdom and its growth in the souls of mankind (Matt. 13), about the humility and simplicity of the inheritors of the Kingdom (Matt. 18:1-35; 19:13-30; 20:1-16; 25-27; 23:1-28), and about the eschatological revelations of the Kingdom in the Second Coming of Christ within the daily spiritual life of the Church (Matt. 24-25).

The Gospel ties together the two spiritual themes of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Church. The Church is the historical embodiment of the Kingdom of Heaven in the world, and the Kingdom of Heaven is the Church of Christ in its eschatological perfection (Matt. 16:18-19; 28:18-20). In general, the text of the gospel of St. Matthew is used most consistently in liturgical worship of the Orthodox Church. It was the most common gospel in the very early Churches. It contains the version of the beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer that is used in services.

Unique to this Gospel is that it is the only Gospel which contains the post-resurrection order of the Lord to his apostles, "to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). It also contains the longest and most detailed record of Christ's teachings in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7).

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His Feast Day is commemorated on November 16th in the Orthodox Church.

A general outline is provided below:

Matthew naturally falls into nine discernible sections:

I. The Person and Presentation of the King (1:1-4:25)

1:1-1:17 ----------- The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah
1:18-1:25 ----------- The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

2:1-2:12 ----------- The Visit of the Wise Men
2:13-2:15 ----------- The Escape to Egypt
2:16-2:18 ----------- The Massacre of the Infants
2:19-2:23 ----------- The Return from Egypt

3:1-3:17 ----------- The Proclamation of John the Baptist
3:13-3:17 ----------- The Baptism of Jesus

4:1-4:11 ----------- The Temptation of Jesus
4:12-4:17 ----------- Jesus Begins His Ministry in Galilee
4:18-4:22 ----------- Jesus Calls the First Disciples
4:23-4:25 ----------- Jesus Ministers to Crowds of People

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II. The Proclamation or Preaching of the King (5:1-7:29)

5:1-5:12 ----------- The Beatitudes
5:13-5:16 ----------- Salt and Light
5:17-5:20 ----------- The Law and the Prophets
5:21-5:26 ----------- Concerning Anger
5:27-5:30 ----------- Concerning Adultery
5:31-5:32 ----------- Concerning Divorce
5:33-5:37 ----------- Concerning Oaths
5:38-5:42 ----------- Concerning Retaliation
5:43-5:48 ----------- Love for Enemies

6:1-6:4 ----------- Concerning Almsgiving
6:5-6:15 ----------- Concerning Prayer
6:16-6:18 ----------- Concerning Fasting
6:19-6:21 ----------- Concerning Treasures
6:22-6:23 ----------- The Sound Eye
6:24 ---------------- Serving Two Masters
6:25-6:34 ----------- Do Not Worry

7:1-7:5 ----------- Judging Others
7:6 ----------------------- Profaning the Holy
7:7-7:11 ----------- Ask, Search, Knock
7:12 --------------------- The Golden Rule
7:13-7:14 ----------- The Narrow Gate
7:15-7:20 ----------- A Tree and Its Fruit
7:21-7:23 ----------- Concerning Self-Deception
7:24-7:29 ----------- Hearers and Doers

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III. The Power of the King (8:1-11:1)

8:1-8:4 ----------- Jesus Cleanses a Leper
8:5-8:13 ----------- Jesus Heals a Centurion's Servant
8:14-8:17 ----------- Jesus Heals Mary at Peter's House
8:18-8:22 ----------- Would Be Followers of Jesus
8:23-8:27 ----------- Jesus Calms the Storm
8:28-8:34 ----------- Jesus Heals the Gadarene Demoniacs

9:1-9:8 ----------- Jesus Heals a Paralytic
9:9-9:13 ----------- The Call of Matthew
9:14-9:17 ----------- The Question about Fasting
9:18-9:26 ----------- A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed
9:27-9:31 ----------- Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
9:32-9:34 ----------- Jesus Heals One Who Was Mute
9:35-9:38 ----------- The Harvest Is Great, the Labourers Few

10:1-10:4 ----------- The Twelve Apostles
10:5-10:15 ----------- The Mission of the Twelve
10:16-10:25 ----------- Coming Persecution
10:26-10:33 ----------- Whom to Fear
10:34-10:39 ----------- Not Peace, but a Sword
10:40-10:42 ----------- Rewards

11:1-11:6 ----------- Messengers from John the Baptist
11:7-11:19 ----------- Jesus Praises John the Baptist
11:20-11:24 ----------- Woe to Unrepentant Cities
11:25-11:30 ----------- Jesus Thanks His Father

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IV. The Program and Progressive Rejection of the King (11:2-16:12)

11:1-11:6 ----------- Messengers from John the Baptist
11:7-11:19 ----------- Jesus Praises John the Baptist
11:20-11:24 ----------- Woe to Unrepentant Cities
11:25-11:30 -----------Jesus Thanks His Father

12:1-12:8 ----------- Plucking Grain on the Sabbath
12:9-12:14 ----------- The Man with a Withered Hand
12:15-12:21 ----------- God's Chosen Servant
12:22-12:32 ----------- Jesus and Beelzebul
12:33-12:37 ----------- A Tree and Its Fruit
12:38-12:42 ----------- The Sign of Jonah
12:43-12:45 ----------- The Return of the Unclean Spirit
12:46-12:50 ----------- The True Kindred of Jesus

13:1-13:9 ----------- The Parable of the Sower
13:10-13:17 ----------- The Purpose of the Parables
13:18-13:23 ----------- The Parable of the Sower Explained
13:24-13:30 ----------- The Parable of Weeds
13:31-13:32 ----------- The Parable of the Mustard Seed
13:33 ------------------ The Parable of the Yeast
13:34-13:35 ----------- The Use of Parables
13:36-13:43 ----------- Jesus Explains the Parable of the Weeds
13:44-13:50 ----------- Three Parables
13:51-13:53 ----------- Treasures New and Old
13:54-13:58 ----------- The Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth

14:1-14:12 ----------- The Death of John the Baptist
14:13-14:21 ----------- Feeding the Five Thousand
14:22-14:33 ----------- Jesus Walks on the Water
14:34-14:36 ----------- Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret

15:1-15:9 ----------- The Tradition of the Elders
15:10-15:20 ----------- Things That Defile
15:21-15:28 ----------- The Canaanite Woman's Faith
15:29-15:31 ----------- Jesus Cures Many People
15:32-15:39 ----------- Feeding the Four Thousand

16:1-16:4 ----------- The Demand for a Sign
16:5-16:12 ----------- The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

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V. The Pedagogy and Preparation of the King’s Disciples (16:13-20:28)

16:13-16:20 ----------- Peter's Declaration about Jesus
16:21-16:23 ----------- Jesus Foretells his Death and Resurrection
16:24-16:28 ----------- The Cross and Self-Denial

17:1-17:13 ----------- The Transfiguration
17:14-17:21 ----------- Jesus Cures a Boy with a Demon
17:22-17:23 ----------- Jesus Again Foretells His Death and Resurrection
17:24-17:27 ----------- Jesus and the Temple Tax

18:1-18:5 ----------- True Greatness
18:6-18:9 ----------- Temptations to Sin
18:10-18:14 ----------- The Parable of the Lost Sheep
18:15-18:20 ----------- Reproving Another Who Sins
18:21-18:22 ----------- Forgiveness
18:23-18:35 ----------- The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

19:1-19:12 ----------- Teaching abuot Divorce
19:13-19:15 ----------- Jesus Blesses Little Children
19:16-19:30 ----------- The Rich Young Man

20:1-20:16 ----------- The Labourers in the Vineyard
20:17-20:19 ----------- A Third Time Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
20:20-20:28 ----------- The Request of the Mother of James and John

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VI. The Presentation of the King (20:29-23:39)

20:29-20:34 ----------- Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

21:1-21:11 ----------- Jesus' Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem
21:12-21:22 ----------- Jesus Cleanses the Temple
21:23-21:27 ----------- The Authority of Jesus Questioned
21:28-21:32 ----------- The Parable of the Two Sons
21:33-21:46 ----------- The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

22:1-22:14 ----------- The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
22:15-22:22 ----------- The Question about Paying Taxes
22:23-22:33 -----------The Question about the Resurrection
22:34-22:40 -----------The Greatest Commandment
22:41-22:46 ----------- The Question about David's Son

23:1-23:36 ----------- Jesus Denounces Scribes and Pharisees
23:37-23:39 ----------- The Lament over Jerusalem

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VII. The Predictions or Prophecies of the King (24:1-25:46)

24:1-24:2 ----------- The Destruction of the Temple Foretold
24:3-24:8 ----------- Signs of the End of the Age
24:9-24:14 ----------- Persecution Foretold
24:15-24:28 ----------- The Desolating Sacrilege
24:29-24:31 ----------- The Coming of the Son of Man
24:32-24:35 ----------- The Lesson of the Fig Tree
24:36-24:44 ----------- The Necessity for Watchfulness
24:45-24:51 ----------- The Faithful or the Unfaithful Slave

25:1-25:13 ----------- The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaid
25:14-25:30 ----------- The Parable of the Talents
25:31-25:46 ----------- The Judgment of the Nations

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VIII. The Passion or Rejection of the King (26:1-27:66)

26:1-26:5 ----------- The Plot to Kill Jesus
26:6-26:13 ----------- The Anointing at Bethany
26:14-26:16 ----------- Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
26:17-26:25 ----------- The Passover with the Disciples
26:26-26:30 ----------- The Institution of the Lord's Supper
26:31-26:35 ----------- Peter's Denial Foretold
26:36-26:46 ----------- Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
26:47-26:56 ----------- The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
26:57-26:68 ----------- Jesus before the High Priest
26:69-26:75 ----------- Peter's Denial of Jesus

27:1-27:2 ----------- Jesus Brought before Pilate
27:3-27:10 ----------- The Suicide of Judas
27:11-27:14 ----------- Pilate Questions Jesus
27:15-27:23 ----------- Barabbas or Jesus?
27:24-27:26 ----------- Pilate Hands Jesus Over to Be Crucified
27:27-27:31 ----------- The Soldiers Mock Jesus
27:32-27:44 ----------- The Crucifixion of Jesus
27:45-27:56 ----------- The Death of Jesus
27:57-27:61 ----------- The Burial of Jesus
27:62-27:66 ----------- The Guard at the Tomb

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IX. The Proof of the King (28:1-20)

28:1-28:10 ----------- The Resurrection of Jesus
28:11-28:15 ----------- The Report of the Guard
28:16-28:20 ----------- The Commissioning of the Disciples

We now turn to the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark in our next article.

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Bibliography:

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