If you’re on track with our 5x5x5 plan, we have just finished the book of James, and are starting Matthew. Though we have already read one account of Jesus’ life in the book of Mark, you will find that Matthew’s story is from a different point of view. Imagine two of your close friends – if an outsider asked each of them to tell your life story, they would probably tell it slightly differently, each highlighting things they thought were important or particularly memorable. Your life story hasn’t changed, it is simply told from a different perspective!
Matthew was a Jew, a tax collector who became a disciple of Jesus. He writes to a Jewish audience using metaphors and references they would be familiar with. In fact, Matthew quotes the Old Testament more than any other New Testament author. The book of Matthew is the first in our New testament because it serves a bridge from the Old to New Testament. From the very first sentence Matthew makes it clear, he is connecting Jesus’ arrival with the Old Testament story line… a story that begins back with Abraham, Moses, the people of Israel, and a line of kings.
The Jews had been waiting thousands of years for a Messiah, a King – but Jesus and His kingdom were completely different from what the Jews expected. We learn more about the King (Jesus) and the Kingdom of God in Matthew’s collection of Jesus’ teachings including the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7), Jesus’ interaction with people, and the parables (Mt 13-25).
As you read and reflect on Matthew here are some ideas to help you discover the riches of this gospel: Look up some the references to the Old Testament, highlight all of the commands Jesus gives, mark the word “kingdom” as you read, or simply ask the question, “Who is Jesus? What is he like?” and record what you discover in jour journal.
Persevere in your reading! One chapter a day is not too much! — Mindy