THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW is the first book in the New Testament. The four Gospels are separate accounts of the life of Jesus. Matthew puts particular emphasis on Jesus being Israel’s promised Messiah and coming King.

Matthew the Tax Collector

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem the Romans were ruling the world. An Edomite king, Herod, ruled as the puppet head of state in Israel. The Jews were allowed a measure of religious freedom, but they had to pay taxes to Rome and obey Roman rule (see Matthew 17:24–27 and 22:17–21 for the teaching of Jesus about obeying rulers).

The writer of this Gospel record was Matthew (sometimes called Levi), a tax collector working for the Romans. Such men were hated by their fellow Jews, but Jesus saw his potential and called him to his service (Matthew 9:9).

Matthew’s record from God, concerning the life and teachings of Jesus, concentrates on God’s appeal to the Jews. There are abundant references to the Old Testament. Jesus is proclaimed as the “Son of David” (the Old Testament King of Israel). It is Matthew‘s account which tells of the search of the wise men for “he who has been born King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2). It records the words of Jesus about his future kingship (25:31). The inscription “this is jesus the king of the jews”, was placed above his head when he was crucified (27:37).

Matthew’s Gospel features many parables of Jesus. These simple stories were intended to instruct the faithful and confound the hardhearted (13:13–15). Most of the parables are about the Kingdom of God and the need for us to respond to God’s word if we are to enter that Kingdom.

Norman Owen

By kind permission of ‘The Christadelphian’

Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible:

  • Matthew 1:1—see 2 Samuel 7:12–16; Romans 1:3.
  • Matthew 5:35—see Psalm 48:2; 87:3; Isaiah 2:3.
  • Matthew 16:27; 26:64—see Psalm 110:1; Daniel 7:13; Revelation 1:7.

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