The Gospel of - Matthew

The Historical Books of the New Testament @ by J. Hampton Keathley, III {original source}


Each of the Gospels receives its name from the human author who wrote it. Though this first Gospel, as with each of the Gospels, never names its author, the universal testimony of the early church is that the apostle Matthewdb01 wrote it, and our earliest textual witnesses attribute it to him by giving it the title, “According to Matthew(Kata Matthaion).

Matthew, who was one of the original disciples of Jesus, was a Jew writing to Jews about the One who was their own Messiah. His original name was Levi, the son of Alphaeus. Matthew worked as a publican collecting taxes in Palestine for the Romans until he was called by the Lord to follow Him (Matt. 9:9, 10; Mark 2:14-15). His quick response may suggest his heart had already been stirred by the ministry of Jesus.

At an early date this gospel was given the title Kata Matthaion, “According to Matthew.” As this title suggests, other gospel accounts were known at that time (the word gospel was added later) …fn13

DATE: A.D. 50S OR 60S

Suggestions for the dating of Matthew range from A.D. 40 to A.D. 140, but “the fact that the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 is viewed as an event yet future (24:2) seems to require an earlier date. Some feel that this was the first of the Gospels to be written (about A.D. 50), while others think it was not the first and that it was written in the 60s.”fn14


As evident in the questions Jesus asked His disciples in 16:14f., Matthew wrote to Jews to answer their questions about Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus had plainly declared that He was their Messiah.

  • Was He really the Old Testament Messiah predicted by the prophets?
  • If so, why did the religious leaders fail to receive Him and why didn’t He establish the promised kingdom?
  • Will it ever be established, and if so, when?

Thus, Matthew is addressed primarily to a Jewish audience to show them that this Jesus is the long-awaited Messiahdb02.

This is seen in Jesus’:

  • Genealogy (1:1-17);
  • The visit of the Magi (2:1-12);
  • His entry into Jerusalem (21:5);
  • The judgment of the nations (25:31-46);
  • The often mentioning of the “kingdom of heaven” as is common with the other Gospels, and in the Old Testament fulfillment quotations mentioned previously.


Jesus, the Messiah, the King of the Jews.


1:20-2320 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, 23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

16:15-1915 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

28:18-2018 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”


Chapter 1 
is key in that it introduces the genealogy and birth of Jesus as son of David, son of Abraham, and as one born by the miraculous work of the Spirit, with Joseph being the legal father by adoption, but not the physical father.

Chapter 12 
is key because in this chapter we see the turning point when the religious leaders formally reject Jesus as their Messiah by attributing His miraculous power to Satan. At this point Jesus began to speak in parables to hide truth from the unresponsive. From this point on more time is given to His disciples.


As previously stressed, Matthew’s goal is to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messiah of Old Testament expectation.

He is the son of Abraham and David. Thus He is the King who comes offering the kingdom.

The phrase “the king of heaven” occurs some thirty-two times in this Gospel.

Further, to show that this Jesus fulfills expectations of the Old Testament, ten times he specifically stresses that what happened in the life of Jesus fulfills the Old Testament.

Further, he uses more Old Testament quotations and allusions than any other book of the New Testament, some 130 times.


Matthew naturally falls into nine discernible sections:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • IX The Proof of the King (28:1-20)
    13 Wilkinson/Boa, p. 308.
    14 Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible, Expanded Edition, Moody, p. 1509.
db* = Content added by to assist the reader
db01 Matthew: Matthew the Apostle (Hebrew: מַתִּתְיָהוּ‎ Mattityahu or מתי Mattay, "Gift of YHVH"; Greek: Ματθαῖος Matthaios; Matthew was a 1st-century Galilean (presumably born in Galilee, which was not part of Judea or the Roman Iudaea province), the son of Alpheus. During the Roman occupation (which began in 63 BC with the conquest of Pompey), Matthew collected taxes from the Hebrew people for Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. His tax office was located in Capernaum. Jews who became rich in such a fashion were despised and considered outcasts. However, as a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek [From Wikipedia]
db02 Messiah: A messiah, literally, "the anointed" has come to be seen as a saviour or liberator of a group of people, most commonly in the Abrahamic religions. The translation of the Hebrew word Mašíaḥ as Χριστός (Khristós) in the Greek Septuagint became the accepted Christian designation and title of Jesus of Nazareth. Christians believe that prophecies in the Hebrew Bible (especially Isaiah) refer to a spiritual savior and believe Jesus to be that Messiah. [From Wikipedia]
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