Like the other Gospels, the original text of the Gospel of Matthew has no author’s name associated with it. Early church leaders attributed this Gospel to Matthew the Apostle, the tax collector who follows Jesus in Matthew 9:9. Matthew was written to a Jewish or Jewish-Christian audience, and we see evidence of that in the large number of Old Testament quotations and the genealogy through Abraham, amongst other places.
Whereas Luke emphasizes Mary’s role in the Christmas story, Matthew focuses more on Joseph. What struck you about Joseph most in these passages? Did you notice how often he heard from God in a dream? Do you remember another Joseph in Scripture with a gift for understanding dreams?
The stories of Jesus’ baptism, the temptation in the wilderness, and the calling of the first apostles are all very familiar. Did you notice anything in your reading of these stories that you hadn’t heard before? What do you learn about Jesus from these accounts?
The church placed Matthew first amongst the Gospels in the New Testament because they believed that Matthew contained some of the best teaching for disciples of Jesus. One excellent example of that teaching comes in the famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), which you read this week. What parts of this sermon were most inspiring or challenging for you? What stuck with you best after reading it?
In this section of Matthew, Jesus increasingly reveals his divine power and identity; there is something of a crescendo building in Matthew 8-9 as he heals the sick, calms the storm, casts out demons, and raises the dead. Which of these miracles most touches your spiritual life?
In chapter 13, Jesus gives the sermon in parables. Did you know any of these parables before reading? What did they teach you about the kingdom of heaven? What IS the kingdom of heaven?
Stick with it this week!
Grace and Peace,