Some TIPS on How to Read The Gospel of Matthew…
Start off by telling yourself Matthew is part of larger collections of writings about WHO Jesus is and HIS death. He holds up Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah so strongly that he constantly refers Him as the fulfillment of the OT Scriptures (9 times!)
And this is one gospel where you can follow Jesus’ rhythm (or teachings/discourse), as it is arranged into 5 great sections ending with the phrase “When Jesus had finished saying these things…”
If you are in a crossroads of living out your Christian faith within the local pressures, Matthew could be a good book to read! Matthew deals with many issues Jews and non-Jews were debating during the time and looking at how Jesus actually responded to them, it makes you rethink of what is actually important to God.
In this gospel, Jesus’ heart is very close to His disciples/discipleship. Look out for the ‘in-betweens’ incidences while He is healing or teaching… how He asked someone to be His disciples, or when He shares a concern about workers, or when He warns those who wish to follow him. It’s amazing He even took time to think about them!
Suggested Reading Plan
|Day 1:||Matt 1 & 2 (Notice Joseph’s reaction)|
|Day 2:||Matt 3-4:11|
|Day 3:||Matt 4:12-7|
|Day 4:||Matt 8-9|
|Day 5:||Matt 10|
|Day 6:||Matt 11|
|Day 7:||Matt 12|
|Day 8:||Matt 13|
|Day 9:||Matt 14 & 15 (Notice the change when after John’s death)|
|Day 10:||Matt 16-18|
|Day 11:||Matt 19|
|Day 12:||Matt 20|
|Day 13:||Matt 21|
|Day 14:||Matt 22|
|Day 15:||Matt 23-24|
|Day 16:||Matt 25|
|Day 17:||Matt 26|
|Day 18:||Matt 27-28|
As you read the passages: Have a notebook with you…
- When it is a debate or teaching ~ highlight one phrase of the teaching that Jesus explained
- When it is an encounter ~ note down the groups of people Jesus is concern about & what was Jesus’ respond?
- When it is directed to the disciple ~ what would be your respond?
May the WORD investigate and inspire you!
…What a way to start a book!
When I began reading Matthew, I wondered why start a book with the genealogy?
With so many names, I got lost trying to form the family tree of Jesus!
But while trying to recall some of the stories of familiar names, I was struck by how God had carefully placed these people at different events. Even with people who disobeyed Him, the plan continued on and fulfilled what was prophesied earlier ~ Jesus coming from the Messianic line of David.
For 28 generations, God definitely had it under control.
The net thing that was interesting to note: the 1st two chapters actually recorded Joseph’s side of the story. How many of us actually pay attention to Joseph when we read the gospel? Here, it made me wondered, what was going through his mind…when he heard of Mary’s pregnancy? Or when he had to flee from danger? Or when he heard the many boys below 2 were killed? So much doubt, fears, uncertainties, inconveniences, dangerous moments he must have had! Yet, each time he just “got up, and went” in obedience. What a man!
Jesus portrayed at the beginning…
Even before Jesus did any teaching, Jesus did what was required of him (3:15), and he was not spared from temptations both physically @ spiritually! Not an easy way to begin his ministry…Jesus was portrayed very ‘human’ indeed. Don’t we all go through the same things when we become a Christian? Even Jesus was not exempted!
The deepest concern of the Lord
It is tiring just to imagine the amount of people Jesus must have met & healed! And He was healing every disease and sickness among the people (4:23). At every need of the person he talked to, He did more than expected, He ‘healed’ what was more important – their faith and belief in God.
Jesus was constantly challenged by the Pharisees & Teachers of law. And He had to address many pressing issues happening the time – the laws & practices, the cultural differences, even day to day relationships! Yet, the big question was – what is the meaning of doing all these? He was trying very hard to get the people back to what God really meant or wanted in the first place!
Though Jesus primary teaching was to show the way to the Kingdom of God, I realize the deepest concern of the Lord is still for the disciples. In the midst of His busyness/healing or teachings, He took time to call them to be His disciples (9:9), He warns them about following Him (8:22), He questions their faith (8:26), shares many concerns (9:37), had private time to explain what he taught (13:36), did many miracles before their eyes (14).
Yet, one could feel the sadness in Jesus’ voice in 17:17 when the disciples’ still did not have faith after all that Jesus had done… But Jesus pressed on to show more healings, and His teachings were very specific towards the Kingdom of Heaven and warning about End of Age (23-24). This seems to sums up everything Jesus was doing with the disciples.
And at the end of this book, Jesus’ last word was again directed for the disciples… an instruction with reassurance. Jesus deepest concern was for those who followed Him.
Learning from the Lord himself
He was a very busy man, was in demand at every corner of the street, but He withdrew from the crowd… just to be in solitude.
Jesus, like any human being, went through pain, sadness and disappointment towards the end of His life, yet He could still call the one who betrayed Him ‘friend’ (26:50).
I am challenged by how He lived.
What about you?