EXPOSITION ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW. Name Matthew means’’ Gift of ‘’… from the Hebrew name ‘’Mattith- Yahu’’ of the Biblical Apostle.
Authorship: Matthew is the tax collector or a toll collector (matt.9:9). As a tax – collector, it was his duty to collect the tolls levied against various merchandise being carried by various caravans through that area. The tax collector is called a publican (which means a public servant). The gospel of Matthew uses the apostolic name ‘’Matthew ‘’ in the account of his call to discipleship. Note also that Matthew is the only gospel to record the story of Jesus paying the temple tax.
Date of Writing: AD70
Place of composition: The place of writing is unknown. Most scholars believe that Matthew wrote the gospel in Palestine, perhaps in Judea or up north in Syrian Antioch.
Unique: The gospel of Matthew is called the gospel according to Matthew. This Matthew chance to give his unique perspective to the tale of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
Purpose of writing: Matthew was very interested in proving to them (Jews) that Jesus was indeed the Messiah who had been predicted in the Old Testament.
Matthew is further interested in showing that Jesus is the heir to promises made to Abraham and David. Matthew is truly the message of the king and his king and his kingdom
- ‘’Kingdom of heaven’’ occurs 33 time
- ‘’Kingdom of God’’ occurs 4 times
- Jesus is called’’ the son of David’’ 9 time
Key verse: Matthew 1:1; 23; 37 – 39
Statistics: 40th book of the bible,1st book in the new testament, 28 chapters, 1071 verses, 23343 words, 15 parables 20 miracles, 69 promises, 90 commands.
Matthew was well organized: He records three major discourses.
- The sermon on the mount
- The kingdom parables
- The Olivet discourse
- Shortest Chapter: Chapter 3 with 17 verses
- Longest Chapter: Chapter 26 with 75 verses
CHAPTER ANALYSIS AND OUTLINE
Chapter 1 with 25 verses
1-17 Geology of Jesus the Messiah
This family line from Abraham to Jesus, proceeding through the kings of the Davidic house, is intended to present the claim of Jesus to the throne of David. Although the throne had been vacant for nearly six centuries, no one could expect serious consideration by the Jews as the Messiah unless he could prove his royal descent. (Luke 3:23-38 presents another genealogy, apparently Mary’s, to show the actual blood descent of Jesus, which was also from the Davidic family.)
The list begins with Abraham, the father of the race to which Matthew was particularly writing, and the first one to whom the Messianic promise was given. Judah and his brethren. Although the line of descent came through Judah (Gen 49:10), all the patriarchs were heirs of the Messianic promise.
18 – 25 Joseph accepts Jesus as his son (The Birth of Christ).
Jesus is from the Hebrew for Jehovah’s saves and points to the purpose of his coming. His people relate Jesus to the Messianic promises made to Israel, although the cross would extend this salvation from sins to Gentiles as well. The miraculous conception is stated to be the fulfillment of Isa 7:14. Emmanuel was not used as a proper name of Jesus but describes his person as the Son of God
Chapter 2 with 23 verses
1-12 The Magi Visit the Messiah
Matthew, who alone records this incident, shows the contrast in attitudes between the non-Jewish wise men who journeyed far to see Jesus and the Jewish authorities who would not go five miles. Bethlehem of Judea was also called Ephrath (Gen 35:16, 19). Luke 2:1-7 shows how it was that the birth of Jesus occurred in Bethlehem instead of in Nazareth. Herod the king, known as Herod the Great, was the son of Antipater, an Edomite, and was made king by the Romans in 43 B.C. His death occurred in 4 B.C.
The word translated “wise men” (magi) refers to a group of scholars who studied the stars. Their title connects them with magic, but they were probably more like astrologers. However, their presence in the Biblical record is not a divine endorsement of astrology. God gave them a special sign, a miraculous star that announced the birth of the King. The star led them to Jerusalem where God’s prophets told them that the King would be born in Bethlehem. They went to Bethlehem, and there they worshipped the Christ Child.
We do not know how many magi there were. From the three gifts listed in Matthew 2:11, some people have assumed there were three kings from the Orient, though this is not certain. But when their caravan arrived in Jerusalem, there were enough of them to trouble the whole city.
The Magi were seeking the King, but Herod was afraid of the King and wanted to destroy Him. This was Herod the Great, he was a cruel and crafty man who permitted no one, not even his own family, to interfere with his rule or prevent the satisfying of his evil desires. A ruthless murderer, he had his wife and her two brothers slain because he suspected them of treason. He was married at least nine times to fulfill his lust and strengthen his political ties. It is no surprise that Herod tried to kill Jesus, for Herod alone wanted to bear the title “King of the Jews.” But there was another reason. Herod was not a full-blooded Jew; he was an Idumaean, a descendant of Esau. This is a picture of the old struggle between Esau and Jacob that began even before the boys were born (Gen. 25:19–34). It is the spiritual versus the carnal, the godly versus the worldly.
2:13-18- The escape to Egypt
2:19-23-The Return to Nazareth
Chapter 3 with 17 verses
Some thirty years passed between chapters 2 and 3 of Matthew, during which Jesus lived in Nazareth and worked as a carpenter (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3). But the time came for Him to begin His public ministry which would culminate at the Cross. Was He still qualified to be King? Had anything taken place that would disqualify Him? In chapters 2 and 3, Matthew assembled the testimonies of five witnesses to the person of Jesus Christ (which form chapters 3 and 4), that He is the Son of God and the King. The Witnesses are John the Baptist, Holy Spirit, Father, Satan, Christ’s Ministry of Power.
1-12 John the Baptist prepares the way
For over 400 years, the nation had not heard the voice of a prophet. Then John appeared and a great revival took place. Let us consider four facts about John the Baptist:
His message (3:1–2, 7–10). John’s preaching centered on repentance and the kingdom of heaven. The word repent means “to change one’s mind and act on that change.” John was not satisfied with regret or remorse; he wanted “fruits meet for repentance” (Matt. 3:8). There had to be evidence of a changed mind and a changed life. All kinds of people came to hear John preach and to watch the great baptismal services he conducted. Many publicans and sinners came in sincere humility (Matt. 21:31–32), but the religious leaders refused to submit. They thought that they were good enough to please God, yet John called them a “generation of vipers.” Jesus used the same language when He dealt with this self-righteous crowd (Matt. 12:34; 23:33; John 8:44).
The Pharisees were the traditionalists of their day, while the Sadducees were more liberal (Acts 23:6–9). The wealthy Sadducees controlled the “temple business” that Jesus cleaned out. These two groups usually fought each other for control of the nation, but when it came to opposing Jesus Christ, the Pharisees and Sadducees united forces.
His Authority (3:3–4). John fulfilled the prophecy given in Isaiah 40:3. In a spiritual sense, John was “Elijah who was to come” for he came in the “spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:16–17). He even dressed as Elijah did and preached the same message of judgment (2 Kings 1:8). John was the last of the Old Testament Prophets (Luke 16:16) and the greatest of them.
His baptism (3:5–6, 11–12). His baptism was authorized from heaven (Matt. 21:23–27); it was not something John devised or borrowed. It was a baptism of repentance, looking forward to the Messiah’s coming (Acts 19:1–7). His baptism fulfilled two purposes: it prepared the nation for Christ and it presented Christ to the nation (John 1:31).
But John mentioned two other baptisms: baptism of the Spirit and a baptism of fire (Matt. 3:11). The baptism of the Spirit came at Pentecost (Acts 1:5, and note that Jesus said nothing about fire). Today, whenever a sinner trusts Christ, he is born again and immediately baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ, the church (1 Cor. 12:12–13). In contrast, the baptism of fire refers to future judgment, as explained in verse 12.
His obedience (3:13–15). Jesus was not baptized because He was a repentant sinner. Even John tried to stop Him, but the Lord knew it was His Father’s will. Why was Jesus baptized? First, His baptism approved John’s ministry. Second, He identified Himself with publicans and sinners, the very people He came to save. But mainly, His baptism pictured His future baptism on the cross (Matt. 20:22; Luke 12:50) when all the “waves and billows” of God’s judgment would go over Him (Ps. 42:7; Jonah 2:3).
Thus, John the Baptist bore witness to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and also as the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Because of John’s witness, many sinners trusted Jesus Christ (John 10:39–42).
13-17 The Baptism of Jesus (The Holy Spirit)
The coming of the Holy Spirit like a dove identified Jesus to John (John 1:31–34), and also assured Jesus as He began His ministry that the Spirit’s ministry would always be His (John 3:34). The dove is a beautiful symbol of the Spirit of God in its purity and its ministry of peace. The first time we see a dove in Scripture is in Genesis 8:6–11. Noah sent out two birds, a raven, and a dove; but only the dove came back. The raven represented the flesh; there was plenty for the raven to eat outside the ark, but the dove would not defile itself on the carcasses, so it came back to the ark. The second time the dove was released, it returned with an olive leaf, a symbol of peace. The third time, the dove did not return.
There is another picture here. The name Jonah means “dove,” and he too experienced a baptism! Jesus used Jonah as a type of Himself in death, burial, and resurrection (Matt. 12:38–40). Jonah was sent to the Gentiles, and Jesus would minister to the Gentiles.
Chapter 4 with 25 verses
1-11 Jesus is tested in the wilderness by Satan
From the high and holy experience of blessing at the Jordan, Jesus was led into the wilderness for testing. Jesus was not tempted so that the Father could learn anything about His Son, for the Father had already given Jesus His divine approval. Jesus was tempted so that every creature in heaven, on earth, or under the earth might know that Jesus Christ is the Conqueror. He exposed Satan and his tactics, and He defeated Satan. Because of His victory, we can have victory over the tempter.
Just as the first Adam met Satan, so the Last Adam met the enemy (1 Cor. 15:45). Adam met Satan in a beautiful Garden, but Jesus met him in a terrible wilderness. Adam had everything he needed, but Jesus was hungry after forty days of fasting. Adam lost the battle and plunged humanity into sin and death. But Jesus won the battle and went on to defeat Satan in more battles, culminating in His final victory on the cross (John 12:31; Col. 2:15).
Our Lord’s experience of temptation prepared Him to be our sympathetic High Priest (Heb. 2:16–18; 4:15–16). It is important to note that Jesus faced the enemy as man, not as the Son of God. His first word was, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” We must not think that Jesus used His divine powers to overcome the enemy because that is just what the enemy wanted Him to do! Jesus used the spiritual resources that are available to us today: the power of the Holy Spirit of God (Matt. 4:1), and the power of the Word of God (“It is written”). Jesus had nothing in His nature that would give Satan a foothold (John 14:30), but His temptations were real just the same. Temptation involves “the will”, and Jesus came to do the Father’s will (Heb. 10:1–9).
The First Temptation (1–4): This involved the love of God and the will of God. “Since You are God’s beloved Son, why doesn’t Your Father feed You? Why does He put You into this terrible wilderness?” This temptation sounded like Satan’s words to Eve in Genesis 3! It is a subtle suggestion that our Father does not love us. But there was another suggestion: “Use Your divine powers to meet Your own needs.” When we put our physical needs ahead of our spiritual needs, we sin.
The Second Temptation (5–7): The second temptation was even more subtle. This time Satan also used the Word of God. “So You intend to live by the Scriptures,” he implied. “Then let me quote You a verse of Scripture and see if You will obey it!” Satan took the Lord Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, probably 500 feet above the Kidron Valley. Satan then quoted from Psalm 91:11–12 where God promised to care for His own. “If You believe the Scriptures, then jump! Let’s see if the Father cares for You!”
We must never divorce one part of Scripture from another, but we must always “compare spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:13). Satan had cleverly omitted the phrase “in all Thy ways” when he quoted from Psalm 91. When the child of God is in the will of God, the Father will protect him. He watches over those who are “in His ways.”
The Third Temptation (8–11): The devil offered Jesus a shortcut to His kingdom. Jesus knew that He would suffer and die before He entered into His glory (Luke 24:26; 1 Peter 1:11; 5:1). If He bowed down and worshipped Satan just once, He could enjoy all the glory without enduring the suffering. Satan has always wanted worship because Satan has always wanted to be God (Isa. 14:12–14). Worshipping the creature instead of the Creator is the lie that rules our world today (Rom. 1:24–25).
There are no shortcuts to the will of God. If we want to share in the glory, we must also share in the suffering (1 Peter 5:10). As the prince of this world, Satan could offer these kingdoms to Christ (John 12:31; 14:30). But Jesus did not need Satan’s offer.
12-17 Jesus began to preach
Miracles of healing were but a part of Christ’s ministry throughout Galilee; for He also taught and preached the Word. The “light” that Isaiah promised was the Light of the Word of God, as well as the Light of His perfect life and compassionate ministry. The word preaches in Matthew 4:17 and 23 means “to announce as a herald.” Jesus proclaimed with authority the Good News that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.
The phrase kingdom of heaven is found thirty-two times in Matthew’s Gospel. The phrase kingdom of God is found only five times (Matt. 6:33; 12:28; 19:24; 21:31, 43). Out of reverence for the holy name of the Lord, the Jews would not mention “God” but would substitute the word “heaven.” The Prodigal Son confessed that he had sinned “against heaven,” meaning, of course, against God. In many places where Matthew uses the kingdom of heaven, the parallel passages in Mark and Luke use the kingdom of God.
In the New Testament, the word kingdom means “rule, reign, authority” rather than a place or a specific realm. The phrase “kingdom of heaven” refers to the rule of God. The Jewish leaders wanted a political leader who would deliver them from Rome, but Jesus came to bring the spiritual rule to the hearts of people.
18-22- Jesus call his first Disciples
23-25- Jesus heals the sick.
Chapter 5 with 48 verses
1-12- Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount. (The beatitude)
13-16 Salt and light
To demonstrate the impact the disciples would make on their world, Jesus used two common illustrations: salt and light. Jesus’ followers would be like salt in that they would create a thirst for greater information. When one sees a unique person who possesses superior qualities in specific areas, he desires to discover why that person is different. It is also possible that salt means these people serve as a preservative against the evils of society. Whichever view one takes, the important quality to note is that salt ought to maintain its basic character. If it fails to be salty, it has lost its purpose for existence and should be discarded.
A light is meant to shine and give direction. Individuals Jesus described in verses 3-10 would radiate and point others to the proper path. Their influence would be evident, like a city on a hill or a lamp on its stand. A concealed lamp, placed under a bowl (a clay container for measuring grain) would be useless. Light-radiating people live so that others see their good deeds and give praise not to them but their Father in heaven.
17-20- The fulfillment of the law
38-42 Eye for Eye
The words Eye for eye, and a tooth for tooth come from several Old Testament passages (Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21); they are called the lex talionis, “the law of retaliation”. This law was given to protect the innocent and to make sure retaliation did not occur beyond the offense. Jesus pointed out, however, that while the rights of the innocent were protected by the Law, the righteous need not necessarily claim their rights. A righteous man would be characterized by humility and selflessness. Instead, he might go “the extra mile” to maintain peace. When wronged by being struck on a cheek, or sued for his tunic (undergarment; a cloak was the outer garment), or forced to travel with someone a mile, he would not strike back, demand repayment, or refuse to comply. Instead of retaliating he would do the opposite, and would also commit his case to the Lord who will one day set all things in order (Rom. 12:17-21). This was seen to its greatest extent in the life of the Lord Jesus Himself, as Peter explained (1 Peter 2:23).
5:43-48- love for enemies
Chapter 6 with 34 verses
6:1-4 Giving to the Needy
Giving alms to the poor, praying, and fasting were important disciplines in the religion of the Pharisees. Jesus did not condemn these practices, but He did caution us to make sure that our hearts are right as we practice them. The Pharisees used almsgiving to gain favor with God and attention from men, both of which were wrong motives. No amount of giving can purchase salvation; for salvation is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8–9). And to live for the praise of men is a foolish thing because the glory of man does not last (1 Peter 1:24). It is the glory and praise of God that counts.
Our sinful nature is so subtle that it can defile even a good thing like sharing with the poor. If our motive is to get the praise of men, then like the Pharisees, we will call attention to what we are doing. But if our motive is to serve God in love and please Him, then we will give our gifts without calling attention to them. As a result, we will grow spiritually; God will be glorified, and others will be helped. But if we give with the wrong motive, we rob ourselves of blessing and reward and rob God of glory, even though the money we share might help a needy person.
Does this mean that it is wrong to give openly? Must all giving be anonymous? Not necessarily, for everyone in the early church knew that Barnabas had given the income from the sale of his land (Acts 4:34–37). When the church members laid their money at the Apostles’ feet, it was not done in secret. The difference, of course, was in the motive and manner in which it was done. A contrast is Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1–11), who tried to use their gift to make people think they were more spiritual than they were.
5-15- prayer (The Lord’s Prayer)
19-24- Treasures in heaven
25-34- Do not worry
Chapter 7 with 29 verses
1-6- Judging others
7-12- Ask, Seek, knock
13-14-The Narrow and wide Gate’s
15-20- True and False prophets
21-23- True and False Disciples
24-29- The wise and foolish Boulders
Chapter 8 with 34 verses
1-4 Jesus heals a man with leprosy
In chapters 8 and 9, Matthew reported ten miracles which are listed in the outline. They are not given in chronological order, except for the last four, since Matthew followed his approach of grouping messages or events.
Talking about the miracle, it is proper to survey why our Lord performs miracles. Certainly, Jesus wanted to meet human needs. God is concerned about the temporal well-being of His creatures as well as their eternal happiness. It is wrong to separate ministry to the body and ministry to the soul since we must minister to the whole person (Matt. 4:23–25).
Certainly, our Lord’s miracles were additional credentials to prove His claim as the Messiah of Israel. “The Jews require a sign” (1 Cor. 1:22). While miracles of themselves are not proof that a man has been sent by God (even Satan can perform miracles), they do add weight to his claim, especially if his character and conduct are godly. In the case of Jesus Christ, His miracles also fulfilled Old Testament prophecies (Isa. 29:18–19; 35:4–6). Matthew 8:17 refers us to Isaiah 53:4, and Jesus Himself in Matthew 11:1–5 referred John the Baptist to the Old Testament promises. These same “signs and wonders” would be the credentials of His followers in their ministries (Matt. 10:8; Heb. 2:1–4). Along with His compassion and credentials, there was a third reason for these miracles: His concern to reveal saving truth to people. The miracles were “sermons in action.”
5-13- The faith of the centurion
14-17- Jesus heals many
18-22- The calms the storm
28-34-Jesus Restores Two Demon-Possessed men
Chapter 9 with 38 verses
1-8- Jesus forgives and heals a paralyzed man
9-13- The calling of Matthew
14-17- Jesus questioned about fasting
18-26- Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a sick Woman (woman with the issue of blood)
27-34- Jesus heals the blind and the mute
35-38- The workers are few
Chapter 10 with 42 verses
1-42 Jesus sent out the twelve
A “disciple” is a learner, one who follows a teacher and learns his wisdom. Jesus had many disciples, some of whom were mere “hangers-on,” and some who were truly converted (John 6:66). From this large group of followers, Jesus selected a smaller group of twelve men; and these He called “apostles.” This word comes from the Greek word apostello, which means “to send forth with a commission.” It was used by the Greeks for the personal representatives of the king, ambassadors who functioned with the king’s authority. To make light of the king’s envoys was to be in danger of insubordination.
A man had to meet certain qualifications to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. He must have seen the risen Christ (1 Cor. 9:1) and fellowshipped with Him (Acts 1:21–22). He had to be chosen by the Lord (Eph. 4:11). The Apostles laid the foundation of the church and then passed from the scene. While all believers are sent forth to represent the King, no believer today can honestly claim to be an apostle; for none of us has seen the risen Christ (1 Peter 1:8).
These Apostles were given special power and authority from Christ to perform miracles. These miracles were a part of their “official credentials” (Acts 2:43). They healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, cast out demons, and even raised the dead. These four ministries paralleled the miracles that Jesus performed in chapters 8 and 9. In a definite way, the Apostles represented the King and extended His work.
Chapter 11 with 30 verses
1-19 – Jesus and John the Baptist
20-24 – Woe on unrepentant towns
25-30- The Father Revealed in the Son
Chapter 12 with 50 verses
1-4- Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath
15-21- God’s chosen Servant
22-37- Jesus and Beelzebub
38 – 45 – The sign of Jonah
46 – 50 – Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
Chapter 13 with 58 verses – Jesus Teaches by Parables
Our Lord’s use of parables puzzled the disciples. He had used some parables in His teaching already, but on that day He gave a series of seven interrelated parables, then added an eighth. The word parable means “to cast alongside.” It is a story or comparison, that is put alongside something else to help make the lesson clear. But these are not ordinary parables; Jesus called them “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (13:11). In the New Testament, a “mystery” is a spiritual truth understood only by divine revelation. It is a “sacred secret” known only to those “on the inside” who learn from the Lord and obey Him.
In this series of parables, Jesus explained the course of the Gospel in the world. If Israel had received Him as King, the blessings would have flowed out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. But the nation rejected Him, and God had to institute a new program on earth. During this present age, “the kingdom of heaven” is a mixture of true and false, good and bad, as pictured in these parables. It is “Christendom,” professing allegiance to the King and yet containing much that is contrary to the principles of the King.
Why did Jesus teach in parables? Two reasons were given in the book: (1) because of the sluggishness of the people (Matt. 13:10–17); and (2) because it was prophesied (fulfillment of the prophecy) in Psalm 78:2 (Matt. 13:34–35). Jesus did not teach in parables to confuse or condemn the people. Rather, He sought to excite their interest and arouse their curiosity. These parables would give light to those with trusting, searching hearts. But they would bring darkness to the unconcerned and unrepentant.
The seven parables in this chapter describe for us the spiritual course of “the kingdom of heaven” in this present age. In them, we see three stages of spiritual development: (a) The Beginning of the Kingdom (Matt. 13:1–9, 18–23) (b) Opposition to the Kingdom (Matt. 13:24–43) (c) The Outcome of the Kingdom (Matt. 13:44–50).
1 – 23 – The Parable of the sower
24 – 30 – The Parable of the Weeds
31 – 35 – The Parable of the Mustard and the feast
36 – 43 – The Parable of the Weeds explained
44 – 46 – The parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl
47 – 52 – The Parable of the Net
53 – 58 – A Prophet without Honour
Chapter 14 with 36 verses
1 – 12 – John the Baptist beheaded
13 – 21 – Jesus feeds the five thousand
22 – 36 – Jesus walks on the water
Chapter 15 with 39 verses
1 – 20 – That which defiles
21 – 28 – The faith of a Canaanite woman
29 – 39 – Jesus feeds the four thousand
Chapter 16 with 28 verses
1 – 4 – The demand for a sign
5 – 12 – The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees
13 – 20 – Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah
21 – 28 – Jesus Predicts His death
Chapter 17 with 27 verses
1 – 13 – The Transfiguration
14 – 21 – Jesus heals a demon-possessed boy
22 – 23 – Jesus predicts His death a second time (on the Third day)
24 – 27 – The Temple Tax
Chapter 18 with 35 verses
1 – 5 – The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
6 – 9 – Causing to stumble
10 – 14 – The parable of the wandering sheep
15 – 20 – Dealing with sin in the Church
21 – 35 – The parable of the unmerciful servant
Chapter 19 with 30 verses
1 – 12 – Divorce
13 – 15 – The Little Children and Jesus
16 – 30 – The rich and the Kingdom of God
Chapter 20 with 34 verses
1 – 16 – The Parable of the workers in the vineyard
17 – 19 – Jesus predicts His death a third time
20 – 28 – A mother’s request
29 – 34 – Two blind men received sight
Chapter 21 with 46 verses
1 – 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem as King
This is the fourth major section of Matthew’s Gospel, “The Rejection of the King.” In this section (Matt. 21:1–22:14), the Lord Jesus revealed the sins of Israel and explained why the religious leaders rejected Him and His message.
Since it was Passover, there were probably about 2 million people in and around Jerusalem. This was the only time in His ministry that Jesus planned and promoted a public demonstration. Up to this time, He had cautioned people not to tell who He was, and He had deliberately avoided public scenes. Why then did Jesus plan this demonstration? For one thing, He was obeying the Word and fulfilling the prophecy recorded in Zechariah 9:9. This prophecy could apply only to Jesus Christ, for He is the only One with credentials that prove He is Israel’s King.
Another reason for this public presentation: It forced the Jewish leaders to act. When they saw the spontaneous demonstration of the people, they concluded that Jesus had to be destroyed (John 12:19). The prophetic Scriptures required that the Lamb of God be crucified on Passover. This demonstration of Christ’s popularity incited the rulers to act.
Keep in mind that this Passover crowd was composed of at least three groups: the Jews who lived in Jerusalem, the crowd from Galilee, and the people who saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead (John 12:17–18). Sharing the news of this miracle undoubtedly helped to draw such a large crowd. The people wanted to see this miracle worker for themselves.
12 – 17 Jesus at the Temple
Jesus performed two acts of judgment: He cleansed the temple and cursed a fig tree. Both acts were contrary to His usual manner of ministry, for He did not come to earth to judge, but to save (John 3:17). Both of these acts revealed the hypocrisy of Israel: The temple was a den of thieves, and the nation (symbolized by the fig tree) was without fruit. Inward corruption and outward fruitlessness were evidence of their hypocrisy.
Jesus had opened His ministry with a similar act (John 2:13–25). Now, three years later, the temple was defiled again by the “religious business” of the leaders. They had turned the court of the Gentiles into a place where foreign Jews could exchange money and purchase sacrifices. What had begun as a service and convenience for visitors from other lands soon turned into a lucrative business. The dealers charged exorbitant prices and no one could compete with them or oppose them. Historians said that Annas, the former high priest, was the manager of this enterprise, assisted by his sons.
The purpose of the court of the Gentiles in the temple was to allow the “outcasts” to enter the temple and learn from Israel about the true God. But the presence of this “religious market” turned many sensitive Gentiles away from the witness of Israel. The court of the Gentiles was used for mercenary business, not missionary business.
When Jesus called the temple “My house,” He was affirming that He is God. When He called it “My house of prayer,” He was quoting Isaiah 56:7. The entire 56th chapter of Isaiah denounces the unfaithful leaders of Israel. The phrase “den of robbers” comes from Jeremiah 7:11 and is part of a long sermon that Jeremiah delivered in the gate of the temple, rebuking the people for the same sins that Jesus saw and judged in His day.
Why did Jesus call the temple “a den of thieves”? Because the place where thieves hide is called a den. The religious leaders, and some of the people, were using the temple and the Jewish religion to cover up their sins.
18 – 22 Jesus Curses a Fig Tree
That Jesus would curse the tree at the season may surprise one. Jesus certainly would not hold a tree morally responsible for being fruitless. If we consider the time and place of this event, we understand it better, for it was not time for figs to bear fruits (Mk. 11:13).
The fig tree symbolized the nation of Israel (Jer. 8:13; Hosea 9:10, 16; Luke 13:6–9). Just as this tree had left but no fruit, so Israel had a show of religion but no practical experience of faith resulting in godly living. Jesus was not angry at the tree. Rather, He used this tree to teach several lessons to His disciples.
God wants to produce fruit in the lives of His people. Fruit is the product of life. The presence of leaves usually indicates the presence of fruit, but this was not the case. In the Parable of the Fig Tree (Luke 13:6–9), the gardener was given more time to care for the tree; but now the time was up. This tree was taking up space and doing no good.
Jesus used these events to teach His disciples a practical lesson about faith and prayer. The Temple was supposed to be a “house of prayer,” and the nation was to be a believing people. But both of these essentials were missing. We too must beware of the peril of fruitlessness.
23 – 27 – The authority of Jesus questioned
28 – 32 – The parable of the two sons
33 – 46 – The Parable of the Tenants
Chapter 22 with 46 verses
1 – 14 – The Parable of the wedding banquet
15 – 22 – Paying the imperial tax to Caesar
23 – 33 – Marriage at the Resurrection
34 – 40 – The greatest commandment
41 – 46 – Whose son is the Messiah?
Chapter 23 with 39 verses
1 – 12 – A warning against Hypocrisy
13 – 39 – Seven words on the teachers of the law and the Pharisees
Chapter 24 with 51 verses
1 – 35 – The destruction of the temple and signs of the end time
36 – 51 – The day and hour unknown
Chapter 25 with 46 verses
1 – 13 – The parable of the ten virgins
14 – 30 – The parable of the bags of gold
31– 46– The sheep and the goats
Chapter 26 with 75 verses
1 – 5 – The plot against Jesus
6 – 13– Jesus anointed at Bethany
14 – 16 – Judas agrees to betray Jesus
17 – 30– The last supper
31 – 35– Jesus predicts Peter’s denial
36 – 46 – Gethsemane
47 – 56– Jesus arrested
57 – 68 – Jesus before the Sanhedrin
69 – 75– Peter denies Jesus
Chapter 27 with 66 verses
1 – 10 – Judas hangs himself
11 – 26– Jesus before Pilate
27 – 31– The soldiers mock Jesus
32 – 44– The crucifixion of Jesus
45 – 56– The death of Jesus
57 – 61– The burial of Jesus
62– 66– The guard at the tomb
Chapter 28 with 20 verses
1 – 10 Jesus has risen
If anything proves the kingship of Jesus Christ, it is His resurrection from the dead. This final chapter in Matthew’s Gospel is a record of victory. It is a thrilling fact that believers today share in that victory.
The women who had lingered at the cross came early to the tomb, bringing spices that they might anoint His body. They thought He was dead. They wondered how they would move the huge stone that blocked the entrance to the tomb (Mark 16:3). Remarkably, they did not believe in His resurrection when He had taught this truth repeatedly (Matt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 26:32).
We must never underestimate the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The world believes that Jesus died, but the world does not believe that He arose from the dead.
What is the significance of Christ’s Resurrection?
It proves that Jesus is God’s Son: Jesus stated that He had the authority to lay down His life and to take it up again (John 10:17–18).
It verifies the truth of Scripture: Both in the Old Testament and the teaching of Jesus, His resurrection is taught (Ps. 16:10; 110:1). If Jesus had not come out of the tomb, then these Scriptures would not be true.
It assures our future resurrection. Because Jesus died and rose again, we shall one day be raised to be like Him (1 Thess. 4:13–18). The entire structure of the Christian faith rests on the foundation of the Resurrection. If we do away with His resurrection, we have no hope.
It is the proof of a future judgment: “Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man who He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).
It is the basis for Christ’s Heavenly Priesthood: Because He lives by the power of an endless life, He can save us “to the uttermost” (Heb. 7:23–28). He lives to intercede for us.
It gives power for Christian living: We cannot live for God by our strength. It is only as His resurrection power works in and through us that we can do His will and glorify His name (Rom. 6:4).
It assures our future inheritance: Because we have a living hope, we can experience hopeful living. A dead hope grows weaker and weaker before it eventually dies. But because Jesus Christ is alive, we have a glorious future (1 Peter 1:3–5).
11 – 15– The Guard’s report
16 – 20– The Great Commission
I SHALL STOP HERE FOR NOW, TILL THE NEXT UPDATE.
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