Summary: Part 1 of a Bible study through the "Beatitudes
Before we get started with out text -- allow me a brief moment to set the stage and give you a brief introduction as to what has taken place thus far in the Book of Matthew.
You see – The Gospel of Matthew was viewed as the most important Gospel by the early church, and is the Gospel most frequently quoted by writers of the first three centuries. During my research, I learned that the Gospel of Matthew [at that time, mind you] was directed primarily to the Jewish people. It contains at least 130 direct references to the Old Testament. The book of Matthew shows that Jesus truly is the messianic King of Old Testament prophecy.
I want to point out to you that there are several unique features of Matthew:
· 1,068 verses, 644 contain words of Jesus. That is why when you flip thru your Bible you with find that most of the pages in the Book of Matthew are in red.
· Three fifths of the Gospel is a report of Christ’s sayings.
· Among them 35 are parables.
The Gospel of Matthew also emphasizes two teachings:
1. Jesus’ ethical teachings, and
2. His es-cha-tological teaching (teaching about the future and end times).
Matthew’s Gospel records 20 of Jesus’ miracles, 3 of which are found only in this Gospel (the story of two blind men healed are recorded in Matt. 9:27–31, 9:32–33 records the healing of a man possessed by a devil; and 17:24–27 teaches us about the miracle of money in the mouth of a fish.
Perhaps -- the most striking feature of this Gospel, however, is the fact that while it affirms Old Testament prophecy of Jesus as Israel’s promised King, it also presents Him as -- a Servant.
**As you read your Bible you will discover that “In Jesus, and only in Jesus, glory and humility, power and gentleness, are perfectly combined.”
I discovered that Matthew was concerned that his readers acknowledge Jesus as the promised Messiah of Israel. That is why chapter 1 traces Jesus’ genealogy and human ancestry back to Abraham, through David, whose offspring was promised an eternal throne. The purpose of the genealogy in chapter 1 was to show that the details of Jesus’ birth were in full harmony with the Old Testament.
Matthew Chapter 2 records the birth of Jesus -- then notice that the Gospel skips over Jesus’ childhood and adolescence. From the birth story it moves directly to introduce Jesus’ ministry.
Matthew chapter 3 records the preaching of John the Baptist, who announced the approach of the Messiah, and shouted in the wilderness, Repent, Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand.
We also find in chapter 3 the story of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist. After which, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove, ... and a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew chapter 4 tells of the personal preparation of Jesus. It starts by saying that Jesus was led by the spirit to be tempted by the Devil. I don’t know about you, but that is why I think that it is so important that you constantly pray – as Jesus taught, Lead us not into temptation but deliver us -- from evil.