The Book of Matthew contains 28 chapters, and it is the first Book of the New Testament. It was reportedly written around 80-90 A.D, in Antioch. The Gospels of Mark, Luke, and Matthew are called “synoptic”, because they are very similarly constructed, and the events they recount are the same, for the most part. Here is a short presentation of this central Book from the Bible, which helps us learn more about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
“This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1: 1). The very first verses of the Gospel of Matthew are a presentation of the 3 groups of the 14 generations from Abraham to David, from David to the Babylonian exile, and from the Babylonian exile to the birth of Jesus.
After being baptized, and spending 40 days in the wilderness, Jesus began His ministry by preaching to the crowds the famous sermon on the Mount. The Beatitudes come from this speech. It is the longest continuous discourse of Jesus (it goes from chapter 5 to chapter 7). In this sermon, Jesus went more in depth into the main principles of the Old Testament, such as fasting, prayer, interpersonal relations…
In the tenth chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus gave His twelves Apostles the mission to preach the Kingdom of Heaven to the house of Israel. Those Apostles were: Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James (son of Alpheus), Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot.
From chapter 13 to the last chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus announced the Kingdom of God using metaphors and images based on observations of life and nature, which are called “parables”.
In Matthew 18, Jesus teaches the main virtues and core principles of the Church to His Apostles: prayer and forgiveness.
After His disciples called Jesus’ attention to the construction of the Temple of Jerusalem, Jesus prophesized the terrible circumstances preceding His coming. He warned His disciples, asking them to be vigilant and prepared.
Matthew 26 and the following chapters recount the last supper of Jesus with the disciples, the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, His crucifixion and resurrection on the third day. The Gospel of Matthew ends with the Great Commission, which is the instruction of Jesus to His disciples to spread the Gospel to all nations.
Matthew (also known as Levi) was one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus. One day, Jesus saw him sitting at the tax collector’s booth and said: “follow me” (Matthew 9: 9). The authorship of this Gospel is traditionally attributed to him.
Matthew portrayed Jesus as the promised Messiah, the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham, David, and the people of Israel. Jesus often quoted passages from the Old Testament, such as during the Temptation episode.
The Book of Matthew seems to have been written for a Jewish audience, and the Rabbis of the Synagogue who were well-versed in the Holy Scriptures and God’s promises on the Messiah. It appears to have been written to convince them that Jesus is the Messiah, called Immanuel. It is also addressed to the Jews who converted to Christianism, to help strengthen their faith. Finally, it is addressed to us, so we may remember and celebrate the Good News.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 14-16)
“This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’.” (Matthew 6: 9-13)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22: 37-40)
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19-20)