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Introduction to Matthew

We have read a portion of the opening chapter of the Gospel of John which gave us the 'vast ranges' of the coming of Christ and now we look at the first couple of chapters of Matthew's Gospel, where the birth of Jesus Christ is studied in more detail, 'up close' as it were! Matthew wrote his book many years before John and used, as Luke did, most of the material from Mark to tell the story of Jesus. Mark can be divided into 105 sections and, of these sections, 93 occur also in Matthew. There are only 24 verses in the book of Mark which are not reproduced in either Matthew or Luke! However, they are both much larger than Mark, so the Nativity, for instance, is not part of Mark. It appears that Mark was written in a hurry, whereas the other two Synoptic Gospels are written with a particular purpose in mind. For Matthew, it was to demonstrate to his Jewish readers that Jesus was the promised Messiah and so his book is full of Old Testament prophetic passages as he repeatedly emphasises that Jesus' coming was the fulfilment of a multitude of prophecies. Matthew was a disciple of Jesus, one of the Twelve, formerly a tax-collector who would have been considered a Roman collaborator and hated by the Jews. Just as we have observed that John's dominating idea was that Jesus was fully human and fully God, for Matthew it was that Jesus is King. He writes to demonstrate the royalty of Jesus.


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