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by Paul E. Kretzmann
The Gospel According to Saint Matthew
The apostle and evangelist Matthew, the author of the first synoptic Gospel, have been a publican, bearing the name of Levi, the son of Alphaeus, in or near the City of Capernaum, before his conversion, Matthew 10:3. He was sitting at the receipt of custom when Jesus called him, Matthew 9:9; Mark 2:14-15; Luke 5:27-29. There can be no doubt as to the identity of the former publican Levi and the later apostle Matthew, from a comparison of the parallel passages as well as from the established custom of the Jews to adopt a new name upon the occasion of some important happening in their lives. See Acts 4:36; Acts 12:12; Acts 13:9. It is evident throughout the Gospel that the author was a Jewish Christian of Palestine, whose familiarity with the Roman method of tax collection indicates an intimate knowledge of the publican's work. Within the circle of the apostles, Matthew was never conspicuous. His was the quiet, unostentatious content of the disciple happy in the companionship of his Lord. Of his activity after the ascension of Christ only so much is recorded that he was engaged was missionary among the Jews of Palestine. Tradition has it that he spent the last years of his life in proclaiming the Gospel in Ethiopia and other heathen countries and died at an advanced age.
The purpose of the Gospel according to Matthew is indicated in almost every section of the book. He wrote for his fellow-countrymen, not, indeed, in the Hebrew or Aramaic language, as some have thought, but in Greek, the common language of the Orient in those days. His object was to show the glorious culmination of Old Testament type and prophecy, to prove that Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Rod out of the stem of Jesse, is the promised Messiah, that His entire life, passion, death, and resurrection is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant. The genealogical table establishing the claim that Jesus is the Son of David, the continual reference to the Old Testament, the frequent repetition of the phrase "That it might be fulfilled," furnish abundant evidence for this. It is the principal fact which the author wishes to impress upon his hearers.
So far as the date of the Gospel is concerned, it appears from Matthew 27:8; Matthew 28:15 that it was written sometime after the events there recorded. It seems evident, also, that it was composed before the final destruction of Jerusalem, since the author, in that event, would undoubtedly have referred to the fulfillment of Christ's prophecy concerning the fate of that city. Ancient reports have it that Matthew's Gospel was the first to be written, and the date 60 A. D. has been suggested with some degree of plausibility. The fact that the later extensive missionary labors of Matthew precluded the leisure required for literary work makes it probable that he wrote while still living in Palestine and composed the Gospel at Jerusalem.
The authenticity of our Gospel cannot be called into question. Historical and textual considerations consistently uphold not only Matthew's authorship, but also the fact that this book is a part of the sacred canon and belongs to the inspired writings of the Bible. We may rest assured that we have today the Gospel as written by Matthew, one of the apostles of the Lord, in the same form in which he penned it by inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
The contents of the Gospel may be briefly summarized as follows. Matthew presents, first of all, a brief narrative of the nativity and the earliest childhood of Jesus. Then comes an account of the ministry of the Lord, which was ushered in with His baptism by John. The evangelist devotes the greater part of his Gospel to the work of the Savior in Galilee, in the course of which He also trained His disciples for the work of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, but which finally brought upon Him the increasing hatred of the Jews, and especially of their leaders. In the second part of the Gospel there is a detailed account of the Savior's last journey to Jerusalem, of His last sermons and miracles, of His sufferings, death, and resurrection. The Gospel closes with the great missionary command of the Lord and His comforting assurance: "Behold, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world!"
The Tabellary Harmony of the Gospel-Story
· The prologue of John's gospel. John 1:1-18.
·Preface of Luke's gospel. Luke 1:1-4.
·Birth of John the Baptist promised. Luke 1:5-25.
·The Annunciation to Mary. Luke 1:26-38.
·The Annunciation to Joseph. Matthew 1:18-25.
·Mary's visit to Elizabeth. Luke 1:39-56.
·Birth of John the Baptist. Luke 1:57-80.
·Birth of Jesus the Christ. Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-14.
·The adoration of the shepherds. Luke 2:15-20.
·The circumcision and presentation of Christ. Luke 2:21-39.
·Simeon and Anna. Luke 2:25-40.
·The wise men from the East. Matthew 2:1-12. The flight into Egypt and the return to Nazareth. Matthew 2:13-23.
·Childhood at Nazareth. Matthew 2:23; Luke 2:39-40.
·The twelve-year-old Christ-child in the Temple. Luke 2:41-52.
·The ministry of John the Baptist. Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18.
·The baptism of Jesus. Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22.
·The temptation in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13.
·John's testimony before the priests and Levites. John 1:19-34.
·The first disciples of Jesus. John 1:35-51. The marriage at Cana. John 2:1-11.
·The first cleansing of the Temple. John 2:12-25.
·The discourse with Nicodemus. John 3:1-21.
·John the Baptist's last testimony of Christ. John 3:22-36.
·The departure from Judea and the woman of Samaria. Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14; John 4:1-26.
·The Gospel in Sychar. John 4:27-42.
·Imprisonment of John the Baptist and beginning of Christ's Galilean ministry. Matthew 14:3-5; Matthew 4:12-17; Mark 6:17-18; Luke 3:19-20; John 4:43-45.
·The healing of the nobleman's son. John 4:46-54.
·First rejection at Nazareth. Luke 4:16-30.
·Healing of the sick man of Bethesda. John 5:1-18.
·Testimony of Christ concerning Himself. John 5:19-47.
·Removal to Capernaum. Matthew 4:13-16; Luke 4:31.
·The call of the four. Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11.
·A day of miracles in Capernaum. Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:21-34; Luke 4:31-41.
·A preaching tour in Galilee. Matthew 4:23-25; Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:35-45; Luke 4:42-44; Luke 5:12-16.
·The miraculous draught of fishes. Luke 5:1-11.
·The call of Matthew. Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32.
·The question about fasting. Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-22; Luke 5:33-39.
·The disciples plucking grain. Matthew 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5.
·The man with the withered hand. Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11.
·The wide-spread fame of Jesus. Matthew 4:23-25; Matthew 12:15-21; Mark 3:3-12; Luke 6:17-19.
·The choosing of the Twelve. Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-19.
·The Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:1-48; Matthew 6:1-34; Matthew 7:1-29; Matthew 8:1; Luke 6:20-49.
·The healing of a leper. Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16.
·The centurion's servant. Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10.
·The raising of the widows son at Nain. Luke 7:11-17.
·John the Baptist's last message. Matthew 11:2-19; Luke 7:18-35.
·Anointing of Jesus in the house of Simon the Pharisee. Luke 7:36-50.
·Christ's companions on His second preaching tour. Luke 8:1-3.
·Warnings to the scribes and Pharisees. Matthew 12:22-45; Mark 3:19 b-30; Luke 11:14-36.
·The true kindred of Jesus. Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21.
·The parables by the sea. Matthew 13:1-53; Mark 4:1-34; Luke 8:4-18.
·The stilling of the tempest. Matthew 8:18; Matthew 23:1-39; Matthew 24:1-51; Matthew 25:1-46; Matthew 26:1-75; Matthew 27:1-66; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25.
·The Gadarene demoniacs. Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39.
·The raising of Jairus's daughter. Matthew 9:1; Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56.
·The two blind men and the dumb demoniac. Matthew 9:27-34.
·The third preaching tour continued. Matthew 9:35; Mark 6:6 b.
·The mission of the Twelve. Matthew 9:36; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6
·Death of John the Baptist. Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9.
·The feeding of the five thousand. John 6:1-13; Matthew 14:13-23; Mark 6:30-46; Luke 9:10-17.
·Jesus walking on the water. Matthew 14:24-36; Mark 6:45-56; John 6:14-21.
·Discourse on the Bread of Life. John 6:22-71.
·Discourses on commandments of men. Matthew 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23.
·The Syrophoenician woman. Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30.
·Return through Decapolis. Matthew 15:29-31; Mark 7:31-37.
·The feeding of the four thousand. Matthew 15:29-39; Mark 8:1-9.
·The demand for a sign from heaven. Matthew 15:39; Matthew 16:1-12; Mark 8:10-21; Luke 12:54-57.
·The blind man near Bethsaida. Mark 8:22-26.
·Peter's confession. Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21.
·Christ foretells His death and resurrection. Matthew 16:21-28; Mark 8:31-38; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:22-27.
·The transfiguration. Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36.
·The demoniac boy. Matthew 17:14-20; Mark 9:14-32; Luke 9:37-43 a.
·Discourse on humility and forgiveness. Matthew 18:1-35; Mark 9:33-50; Luke 9:46-50.
·Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles. John 7:1-52.
·The woman taken in adultery. John 7:53; John 8:1-11.
·Jesus the Light of the World. John 8:12-30.
·Discourse on spiritual freedom. John 8:31-59
·The final departure from Galilee. Matthew 19:1-2; Matthew 8:19-22; Mark 10:1; Luke 9:51-62.
·The mission of the seventy. Matthew 11:20-30; Luke 10:1-24.
·The good Samaritan. Luke 10:25-37.
·The visit to Mary and Martha. Luke 10:38-42.
·Healing of the man born blind. John 9:1-41.
·The Good Shepherd. John 10:1-21.
·Christ at the Feast of Dedication. John 10:22-42.
·Discourse on prayer. Luke 11:1-13.
·Woes against the Pharisees. Luke 11:37-54.
·Warning against the spirit of Pharisaism. Luke 12:1-59.
·The Galileans slain by Pilate. Luke 13:1-9.
·The woman healed on a Sabbath. Luke 13:10-21.
·The question whether few are saved. Luke 13:22-35.
·Discourse at a chief Pharisee's table. Luke 14:1-24.
·On counting the cost. Luke 14:25-35.
·Three parables of grace. Luke 15:1-32.
·Two parables of warning. Luke 16:1-31.
·Concerning forgiveness and faith. Luke 17:1-10.
·The raising of Lazarus. John 11:1-46.
·The withdrawal to Ephraim. John 11:47-54.
·The ten lepers. Luke 17:11-19.
·The coming of the kingdom. Luke 17:20-37; Luke 18:1-8.
·The Pharisee and the publican, Luke 18:9-14.
·Concerning divorce. Matthew 19:1-15; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 18:15-17.
·Christ and the rich young ruler. Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30.
·The laborers in the vineyard. Matthew 20:1-16.
·Christ foretells His crucifixion. Matthew 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34.
·Ambition of James and John. Matthew 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45.
·The blind men near Jericho. Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43.
·Visit to Zacchaeus. Luke 19:1-10.
·Parable of the pounds. Luke 19:11-28.
·Anointing of Jesus by Mary of Bethany. Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 11:55-57; John 12:1-11.
·The triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19.
·The cursing of the fig-tree. Matthew 21:18-19; Mark 11:12-14.
·Second cleansing of the Temple. Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48.
·The fig-tree withered away. Matthew 21:20-22; Mark 11:20-25.
·Christ's authority challenged. Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8.
·Three parables of warning. Matthew 21:28-46; Matthew 22:1-14; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19.
·Three questions by the Jewish rulers. Matthew 25:15-40; Mark 12:13-34; Luke 20:20-40.
·Christ's unanswerable question. Matthew 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44.
·The discourse against the scribes and Pharisees. Matthew 23:1-39; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47.
·The widow's two mites. Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4.
·Testimony of Jesus concerning His glorification. John 12:20-50.
·Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world. Matthew 24:1-51; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:1-38.
·The ten virgins. Matthew 25:1-13.
·Of the Last Judgment. Matthew 25:31-46.
·The conspiracy against Jesus. Matthew 26:1; Matthew 5:14-16; Mark 14:1-2; Luke 22:1-6.
·Jesus washing the disciples' feet. John 13:1-20.
·The Passover meal and the institution of the Lord's Supper. Matthew 26:17-36; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-30; John 13:1-30.
·Christ's farewell discourses. Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-38; John 13:31-38; John 14:1-31; John 15:1-27; John 16:1-33.
·The intercessory prayer. John 17:1-26,
·The agony in Gethsemane. Matthew 26:30-46; Mark 14:26-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1.
·The betrayal and arrest. Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-12.
·The trial before the Jewish authorities and the denial of Peter. Matthew 26:57-75; Matthew 27:1-10; Mark 14:53-72; Luke 22:54-71; John 18:12-27.
·The trial before Pilate. Matthew 27:11-31; Mark 15:1-20; Luke 22:1-25; John 18:28-40; John 19:1-16
·The crucifixion and death of Jesus. Matthew 27:32-56; Mark 15:21-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:16-37.
·The burial of Jesus. Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42.
·The watch at the sepulcher. Matthew 27:62-66.
·Easter morning. Matthew 28:1-15; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 23:56; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18.
·The report of the watch. Matthew 28:11-15.
·The walk to Emmaus. Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35.
·The appearance to the disciples in Jerusalem. Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-31.
·The appearance to seven disciples by the Sea of Galilee. John 21:1-25.
·The appearance to the Eleven on a mountain in Galilee. Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18.
·Christ's final appearance and His ascension from Mount Olivet. Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:44-53.
·The conclusion of John's gospel. John 20:30-31; John 21:25.
the First Week of Advent