Read 291.) Matthew chapters 1 through 4. Matthew was the loathed tax collector for Rome. He wrote primarily to his own people, Israel, to present to them Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah. Chapter 1 starts the book with a genealogical list. But to the Jews; this was essential, and a matter of first importance. “Don’t tell me that anyone is the Messiah, until you first demonstrate to me that he descended from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David and Solomon!” And, so the very first 17 verses are to settle that one matter. The rest of the chapter tells us of His birth, but we immediately begin to pick up on important themes that play out throughout the entire New Testament, such as righteousness, and sin; and about who Jesus really was/is, as well as the matter of salvation. There are 10 Essential Elements of the Real New Testament Message; not 9 or 11. We’ll point these out as they come up, and you will see and understand the vital truth of these things, which completely opens up the New Testament to the reader. Verse 20 explains that what entered Mary’s womb was from the Holy Spirit, and as such, was untouched by sinful and corrupted human nature. He would be the Savior, and He would be divine — God with us! His very name would mean, Jehovah Saves! It makes perfect sense; we needed an infinite savior to pay an infinite price for all of our infinite sin. He had to be God! Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Chapter 2 tells of His infancy and the visit of the magi. They came looking for the King of the Jews, and to worship Him. They were looking for God come in human flesh; as Israel’s King, from the Hebrew scriptures, was God. And, they came to worship! Matthew’s account will relate a number of prophecy fulfillments for his people. Where he was to be born was from Micah 5:2, as just one such example. The chapter contains 3 more such fulfillments. Chapter 3 brings us an incredible story of the coming of John the Baptist, the prophesied forerunner of the Messiah. Along with the themes mentioned above, we can add still others, such as repentance and judgment. But perhaps among the most notable, is the nature of the New Birth, as it will be by means of Jesus baptizing with the Holy Spirit! The chapter closes with the account of Jesus’ own baptism in the Jordan by John. It was upon this occasion that Jesus was uniquely baptized with the Holy Spirit, Himself, that He might enter into His ministry as the Messiah, and Savior of the world! But, first, He must be tested by Satan.
Chapter 4 brings us the accounts of His testing, the opening of His ministry, the calling of His first disciples, and ends on that note of the one particular confirming sign; that of supernatural healing. In His testing, Jesus demonstrated the supremacy of scripture, the Word of God, in His life. His first message began as John’s had, on that note of repentance, as the means of preparation for the Kingdom. He first called the fishermen, Peter and Andrew, and James and John unto Himself. These would become the best noted and most famous of the 12. From the very beginning, His ministry would be characterized by preaching, teaching and healing; demonstrating His divine authority.
Immediately, we can note at least 7 of The Essential Elements. Of the 10, we already find those numbered 1.) Righteousness, 2.) Sin, 3.) Judgment, 4.) Savior, 6.) Repent, 8.) New Birth, and finally, 10.) Kingdom. When you look for these, and see how prevalent these are, and place them in their proper context, or order, you will know the Real New Testament Message, and will never be swayed by the false health, wealth, success and prosperity teachings of so many others that exist today. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell