Monday, October 10, 2011

Matthew, a testimony to the Jews

Matthew was a tax collector who became a disciple of Jesus.  Most biblical scholars believe that this book was written about 60 a.d.  Each of the gospels have a little different focus.  Matthew is written to the Jews and is filled with references to the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Old Testament.  His writing is intended to point out how Jesus is that fulfillment and is the Messiah promised throughout the writings of the prophets.

Matthew contains several stories that are not found in any of the other gospels including: The story of Joseph's dream regarding his coming son,  the visit by the Magi and their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, the escape to Egypt to avoid the villainy of the murderous Herod, the slaughter of the innocents.  All of these are part of our Christmas traditions.  There are similar stories about the end of Jesus life on earth that are found in none of the other gospel accounts including: the death of Judas following his betrayal of Jesus, the dream that Pilate's wife has about Jesus, the bribery of the guards by the chief priests to keep them silent about Jesus' resurrection.  Many of these differences can be understood because of Matthew's purpose in writing the gospel; these incidents are the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and will have special significance to the Jewish reader.

After 9 months in the Old Testament, it is good to be reading of the life of Jesus and to hear his instructions to his disciple's to love.  The good news that we have because of the life of Jesus is a very winsome story of God's great love for his creation.  All of us who bear the name christian should be ready to speak of this good news and be ready to reveal our personal experiences (testimonies) of God's good news as it has touched our lives. 

I look forward to the next three months of preaching in the New Testament and sharing this great story of God's eternal love.  Hope you have a most blessed week.

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