The Gospel According to Matthew was published about AD 60, and before AD 70. Matthew, who had been a tax-collector for Rome before he met Jesus, had become one of The 12 Disciples. His name means Gift of the Lord! And, so he was to his people, Israel; as this Gospel is specifically written for them. We will read, and write our observations, as they relate to any one or more of The 10 Essential Elements of The Real New Testament Message using The New Testament Literacy Tool to read, study, interpret and understand The Message; this gift from God thru Matthew.
Ever wonder why anyone would open their book with a genealogy the very first thing? Matthew opens with a genealogy of Jesus because the very first question any Jew would ask of Matthew, who is putting Jesus forth as their Messiah, is: Is your Jesus a Son of David? With the first 17 verses we have a teaching concerning #4, the Savior, that He was indeed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David and Solomon, just as the Old Testament prophecies of Messiah had said that He must be.
With verses 18 thru 25, we have an account of Jesus’ virgin birth. Because what was conceived in Mary was from the Holy Spirit, the Messiah would be God incarnated, or wrapped, in human flesh. He would be both human and divine, as verses 22 and 23 state! With verse 19, we have our first mention that the real issue or matter with God is #1, righteousness, as Joseph, the husband of Mary was said to be a righteous man, which, in Jewish terms, meant that he was a faithful follower of Judaism in his day.
Pay particular attention to verse 21, as we have at least 3 important things within just this one verse. First, He was to have the name Jesus, which means Jehovah Saves, but we are specifically told that this new-born child would be the One to ‘save His people from their sins’. Does this not also mean that Jesus is God, since Jehovah saves, but Jesus is the One who will save??? Check out Isaiah 43:11… Jesus must be Jehovah! Second, we are told right up front that Jesus, Israel’s Messiah, will be #4, the Savior; and third, this salvation will be from #2, personal sins.
And, so, with Matthew chapter 1, we have found 3 of The 10 Essential Elements of The Real New Testament Message. We find the matters of #1, righteousness, #2, sin, and #4, the Savior. Righteousness is what is required, but sin is what we have. In order to be saved from our sin, we are in need of a Savior, that we might be made righteous in the sight of God. Right from the very first chapter of Matthew and the New Testament, with the aid of The New Testament Literacy Tool, we are already on to… what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell