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The Gospel According to St.

Matthew

These classes will present a brief overview on the


background of the book and its use in the Revised Common
Lectionary.
Questions or Comments
If you have any questions or comments about this class,
contact myself or the Church Council.
Who is in charge?

When we carefully look at the Bible,


remember:
It is not what we can do to the text but
what the text does to us.
How Lutherans Read the Bible

Christ is the living Word


The Scriptures are the center of our faith.
The Word does not try to confuse us

For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. (Romans 3:28)

God speaks both Law and Gospel. Law condemns us, drives us to God, and shows us how to live. Gospel is God’s unconditional
promise of acceptance.

As Christians and more specifically as Lutherans, we believe the Jesus is the Word of God and He is totally human and totally
divine. This means that the bible has the same divisions: 100% God’s Word and 100% Human’s words.

Historical Critical Method - Using literary techniques to analyze at text.


Who was the author?

The popular attribution for the


Gospel of Matthew is to the tax
collector named Matthew who
became one of the twelve disciples.
The earliest witness to this
tradition is by Paias who
according to Eusebius said that
the disciple Matthew collected
sayings of Jesus and then
interpreted them as best as he
could.
Unfortunately

However, few scholars today hold


this view. Today most scholars
believe that this book, written in
Greek, was composed by a Jewish
Christian who was trained as a
leader or a scholar, perhaps a
rabbi or Pharisee.
Where was the book written?

The changes from Mark’s text


show that the community was
urban and prosperous. There are
numerous possibilities for a
community that meet the above
requirements and that contained
both Jews and Gentiles.
One Possible Location: Antioch

The Gospel of Matthew


is quoted by the Bishop
of Antioch, Ignatius in
115 C.E.

The community of
Antioch favored Peter
over Paul in the
argument between the
two that is found in
Galatians 2:13-14.

2 13And with him the rest of the Jews acted insincerely, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity. 14 But when I saw that they were not
straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you
compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?"
When was the book written?
It appears that the author of
Matthew used Mark as a source;
thus Matthew must be written after
Mark. Another clue can be found
in the book itself. The Gospel of
Matthew has an allusion to the
destruction of the temple in the
parable of the wedding banquet.
This means that the author must
have composed his work sometime
after the destruction of the temple
in 70 C.E.
A Possible Date

Finally, the Gospel of Matthew


had to be written before being
quoted by Bishop of Antioch in 115
C.E. Therefore, most scholars
place the work between 80 and 90
C.E.
Why Write?

One answer to the question of “Why was the


Gospel of Matthew written?” is that the
author of Matthew thought that the existing
documents of Mark along with its sources
were inadequate.
Specific Issues

There was no effective doctrine of the


church in Mark.
Jesus is not currently with His followers;
thus the location of God’s presence in the
world is undefined.
How should God’s will be discerned for
the current situation?
Response to the Jews

Another possible answer is that Matthew


may have been written as a Christian
response to the Jewish Councils held in
Jamnia that were held after the
destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.
Who heard the book?

More than likely, the audience for this


gospel probably was Greek since the
Gospel was written in Greek. Jack Dean
Kingsbury’s research shows that the
audience was composed of Jews and
Gentiles and this was an urban, prosperous
community.
Inside or outside of Judaism?

More than likely, this question will never be


answered.
A Community in Distress

Forces both inside and outside of


Matthew’s community were threatening
the tear their world apart.
Persecution by the Jews

5:11 Blessed are you when men revile you


and persecute you and utter all kinds of
evil against you falsely on my account.
10:17 Beware of men; for they will
deliver you up to councils, and flog you in
their synagogues
Persecution by the Jews (Part 2)

10:23 When they persecute you in one


town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to
you, you will not have gone through all
the towns of Israel, before the Son of man
comes.
21:35 and the tenants took his servants
and beat one, killed another, and stoned
another
Persecution by the Jews (Part 3)

23:34 that upon you may come all the


righteous blood shed on earth, from the
blood of innocent Abel to the blood of
Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom
you murdered between the sanctuary and
the altar.
Persecution by the Gentiles

10:18 and you will be dragged before


governors and kings for my sake, to bear
testimony before them and the Gentiles.
10:22 and you will be hated by all for my
name’s sake. But he who endures to the
end will be saved.
More Persecution by the Gentiles

24:9 Then they will deliver you up to


tribulation, and put you to death; and you
will be hated by all nations for my name’s
sake.
Inside Heresy

7:25 and the rain fell, and the floods


came, and the winds blew and beat upon
that house, but it did not fall, because it
had been founded on the rock.
24:11 And many false prophets will arise
and lead many astray.
Inside Apostasy

13:21-22 yet he has no root in himself,


but endures for a while, and when
tribulation or persecution arises on
account of the word, immediately he falls
away. As for what was sown among
thorns, this is he who hears the word, but
the cares of the world and the delight in
riches choke the word, and it proves
unfruitful.
More Inside Apostasy

24:12 And because wickedness is


multiplied, most men’s love will grow
cold.
Inside Betrayal

24:10 And then many will fall away, and


betray one another, and hate one another.
Main Themes

Matthew presents several ideas in the


book.
Numerology

Matthew includes three sets of fourteen


generations for the genealogy of Jesus
and twelve passages that claim to fulfill
what was “written in the prophets.”

Matthew
1 17So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from
the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
Doubling

Three of the stories from Mark are


doubled in Matthew: Mark 5:1-14,
10:46-52, and 11:7. Demons cast out of
two instead of one (Matthew 8:28-33),
healing of two blind men (Matthew
20:29-34), riding on two animals
(Matthew 21:6-7).

Mark
5 1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Ger'asenes. 2 And when he had come out of the boat, there met him out of the tombs a
man with an unclean spirit, 3 who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him any more, even with a chain; 4 for he had often been bound with fetters
and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the
tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him; 7
and crying out with a loud voice, he said, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me." 8 For
he had said to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" 9 And Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "My name is Legion; for we are
many." 10 And he begged him eagerly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; 12 and they begged
him, "Send us to the swine, let us enter them." 13 So he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering
about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea. 14 The herdsmen fled, and told it in the city and in the country.
And people came to see what it was that had happened.

10 And they came to Jericho; and as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimae'us, a blind beggar, the son of Timae'us,
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was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 48
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 49 And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him."
And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; rise, he is calling you." 50 And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And
Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to him, "Master, let me receive my sight." 52 And Jesus said to him, "Go
your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

11 And he taught, and said to them, "Is it not written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of
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robbers."

Matthew
8 28And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could
pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, "What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" 30 Now a
herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, "If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine." 32
And he said to them, "Go." So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in
the waters. 33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs.

20 29 And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. 30 And behold, two blind men sitting by the roadside, when they heard that Jesus was
Peter is given special prominence

Matthew contains stories about Peter that


are not in the other gospels: Matthew
17:24-27 and 18:21-22. Matthew also
adds special information about Peter in
14:28-31 and 16:17-20.

Matthew
17 24 He said, "Yes." And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or
tribute? From their sons or from others?" 25 And when he said, "From others," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. 26 However, not to give offense to
them, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give it to them for
me and for yourself."

18 21 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. 22 "Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who
wished to settle accounts with his servants.

14 28 And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water." 29 He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the
water and came to Jesus; 30 but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." 31 Jesus immediately reached out
his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"

16 17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And
I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the
kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." 20 Then he strictly
charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
Jesus explicitly mentions Church

Only in Matthew does has Jesus


specifically speak about the church:
Matthew 16:17-20, 18:15-18.

Matthew
16 17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And
I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the
kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." 20 Then he strictly
charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

18 15But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 16 If he
refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 17 Truly, I say to
you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 18 Again I say to you, if two of you
agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
Jewish Overtones

The following verses in Matthew indicate


Jewish overtones: Matthew 10:5, 15:24,
17:24-27, 23:2-3.

Matthew
10 5 These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,

15 24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

17 24 He said, "Yes." And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or
tribute? From their sons or from others?" 25 And when he said, "From others," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. 26 However, not to give offense to
them, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give it to them for
me and for yourself."

23 2 "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not
practice.
Critical of the Jews

Matthew also has a number of verses that


are critical of the Jews and these verses
include sayings of Jesus: Matthew 8:12,
9:4, 12:34, 13:24-30, 13:36-43, 15:13,
16:4, 21:43, 23:33, 27:25.

Matthew
8 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth."
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9 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts?
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12 You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
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13 Another parable he put before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field;
24 but while men
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were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared
also. 27 And the servants of the householder came and said to him, `Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?' 28 He said to them,
`An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, `Then do you want us to go and gather them?' 29 But he said, `No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up
the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in
bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"

13 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." 37 He
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answered, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons
of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered
and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and
all evildoers, 42 and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the
kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

15 13 He answered, "Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.

16 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah." So he left them and departed.

21 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it."

23 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and
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persecute from town to town,

27 25 And all the people answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!"
The Law Continues

Matthew is interested in keeping the Law:


Matthew 5:17-18, 24:20.

Matthew
5 "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven
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and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.

24 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath.


Fulfillment of Prophecy

Matthew is interested that Jesus fulfills


the words of the prophets: Matthew 1:22,
2:5, 2:15, 2:17, 3:3, 4:14, 8:17, 12:17,
13:35, 21:4, 24:15, 27:9.

Matthew
1 22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

2 5 They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet:

2 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son."

2 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his
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paths straight."

4 that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:


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8 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases."
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12 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:


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13 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the
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world."

21 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

24 15 "So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),

27 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price
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had been set by some of the sons of Israel,


Dualism

Matthew has several dualistic passages:


Matthew 13:24-30, 13:36-43, 15:12-14,
23:33.

Matthew
13 24 Another parable he put before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men
were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared
also. 27 And the servants of the householder came and said to him, `Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?' 28 He said to them,
`An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, `Then do you want us to go and gather them?' 29 But he said, `No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up
the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in
bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"

13 36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." 37 He
answered, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons
of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered
and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and
all evildoers, 42 and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the
kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

15 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" 13 He answered, "Every plant
which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into
a pit."

23 33 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and
persecute from town to town,
God is present

God is found in the world, not only in the


temple, but also with Jesus and his
followers, and this presence may even be
hidden from view.
Possible Outline

Preamble of the infancy


Discipleship
Apostleship
Hiding of the Revelation
Church Administration
Judgment
Epilogue of the Passion and Resurrection
Missing Readings

What is interesting about these readings is


that the author of Matthew thought that
they were important enough to be
included, but the committee that prepared
the Revised Common Lectionary
disagreed.
Missing Readings

6 Genealogy of Jesus
19 Genealogy of Jesus
55 Jesus alters the Law on Murder and Wrath
57 Jesus alters the Law on Oaths
65 Eye is the Lamp of the Body
Part of 68 Do not Judge
69 Do not give the Holy to Dogs
73 False Prophets are Known by Their Works
74 Not Everyone who calls “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom
75 House built on a Rock
Missing Readings (Part 2)

97 Healing of the Mute Demoniac


105 Journey Continued
108 Woes to Unrepentant Cities
111 Plucking Grain on the Sabbath
112 Healing Withered Hand on Sabbath
113 Heals Multitudes by the Sea
117 Is Jesus in Collusion with Satan?
118 Blasphemy against Holy Spirit is not Forgiven
119 Sign of Jonah
120 How Evil Spirits Return
Missing Readings (Part 3)

121 True Kindred of Jesus


123 The Reason for Speaking in Parables
130 Why Jesus uses Parables
153 Four Thousand Fed
154 Pharisees Seek a Sign
155 Leaven of the Pharisees
162 Coming of Elijah
165 Payment of Temple Tax
226 Who is John the Baptizer?
262 Third Prediction of the Passion
Missing Readings (Part 4)

290 Desolating Sacrilege


291 False Christs and False Prophets
297 Parable of Good and Wicked Servant
335 Death of Judas
354 Bribing the Guard at the Tomb
Resources

Kurt Aland, Synopsis Of The Four


Gospels, United Bible Societies, 1985.
Reginald H. Fuller, James L. Mays editor,
Harper's Bible Commentary: Matthew,
Harper San Francisco, 1988.
Resources

Douglas R. A. Hare, James Luther Mays


editor, Matthew (Interpretation), John
Knox Press, 1993.
Daniel J. Harrington S.J., The Gospel of
Matthew (Sacra Pagina Series, Vol 1),
The Liturgical Press, 1991.
Resources

Mark Allan Powell, Fortress Introduction


To The Gospels, Augsburg Fortress, 1998.
Mitchell G. Reddish, An Introduction To
The Gospels, Abingdon Press, 1997.