Matthew: Jesus the Messiah-King

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Matthew
Jesus the Messiah-King


Offer of the king, Rejection of the king.

Background: Matthew records the life of Jesus about 3 decades after his resurrection, directed to the Jews
Theme: The Gospel of the Messiah-King
Outline: Offer of the King and Rejection of the King
Key Verse: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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." (Matt 28:18-20, NIV)

Matthew Chapter Index
I. Introduction of the KingV. Cultivation of the King's Disciples
1Ancestors and Birth of Jesus17.
2Visit of Magi and Flight to Egypt18.
3Baptism of Jesus19.
II. Communications from the King20.
4Temptation of Jesus and Calling of DisciplesVI. Climax of the King's Offer
5Sermon on the Mount (1)21.
6Sermon on the Mount (2)22.
7Sermon on the Mount (3)23.
III. Credentials of the King24.
8Power over Disease, Nature, and Demons25.
9Forgiving Sin, Raising the Dead, and Healing26.
10Jesus Sends out the Twelve27.
IV. Challenge to the King's AuthorityVII. Confirmation of the King's Life
11Question from John the Baptist28.
12Lord of the Sabbath29.
13...
14...
15...
16...

Also see the Gospel Study page for a 13 section series on the four Gospels. These notes incorporate the basic outline of the Bible Knowledge Commentary (New Testament, Vol 2).

BACKGROUND

A great deal of intellectual effort is put into comparing the various gospel accounts of specific incidents in trying to get 'behind' the forms. For some 'Bible scholars' the reality that Jesus said and did the things recorded is simply dismissed as absurd, and this further thought unnecessary to discuss. Some have said, "Faith is no excuse for hiding from the facts!" Of course, anything that hints of the supernatural or a God that is active in time and space is considered myth and non-factual in our secular world.

Scholars of this type may have spent more time studying the gospels than most evangelicals, yet are blinded to the simple and plain truth that "God so loved the world that He sent His only-begotten Son .." Such theories, strongly held and taught in many schools, universities, and seminaries, make it very difficult to communicate the truth of salvation and the true faith to a liberal or unbelieving pastor or student. The authors of the Bible Knowledge Commentary and I are of the clear opinion that the Gospel of Matthew describes events as they actually happened, and that the Holy Spirit guided the author to preserve this book from error. Where the text states that "before they came together Mary was found to be of child by the Holy Spirit," we understand that there is no natural explanation. This is a miracle requiring direct intervention of a divine God in the normal events of this earth. We understand that virgin births do not naturally occur ... but we also understand that God can and does have direct control of the universe He created. We believe the text to be historical, not based upon myths, even though scientists are unable to duplicate the described miracles of God in a laboratory.

Incidentally, he Jews learned Aramaic during the exile, and retained it when they returned to Jerusalem. It is assumed that Aramaic was the language of the Hebrews in New Testament times, and references to Hebrew are taken to mean the language being spoken by the Hebrews, or Aramaic. Greek scholars say that the Gospel of Matthew does not have the character of a translation from a Semitic language into Greek, but was probably written in Greek.

WHY COMPARE THE GOSPELS?

Three reasons from three groups of 'Christians'

1. Modern Liberalism: To see the differences and learn about the distint ideas of the writers, and how the Church had progressed. (A wrong view)

2. 'Historical' Jesus: By eliminating all that was taught by the Early Church, the Late Jews, and all supernatural events, a few odd or 'unique' verses remain to tell us about a real man who may have actually lived and taught. (A wrong view)

3. For us: To gain a fuller understanding of what Jesus said and did. However, as an itinerant preacher, he may have said and done similiar things with variation at different times and in different towns, we must allow for this.

I. Introduction of the King (1:1-4:11)

1:1 This verse is a summary of the entire geneology that follows: "Jesus Christ Son of David, Son of Abraham". It also refers to the Messiantic promises to David (eternal reign as King of Israel) and Abraham (a blessing to all nations).

1:2-17 Mr Barbieri (BKC) states, "Tamar and Rahab were both prostitutes." I disagree with this categorization of Tamar. Although Judah is told in Gen 38:24 that Tamar was a prostitute, in 38:26 he declares that "she is more righteous than I". Judah had refused to have his son Shelah perform the levirate duty to raise up a son with Tamar for his dead brother. Tamar, disguised as a harlot, slept with Judah; tricking him into performing the levirate duty. This does not fit the definition of prostitute, the Hebrew word in Gen 38:24 (zona) meaning "Any woman, married or single, who practices unlawful sexual indulgence, whether for gain or lust." My contention is that the charge in Gen 38:24 was dismissed, that Tamar (although deceitfully) performed a legal act with an unwilling kinsman-redeemer, and that this act (preferably with Shelah but perhaps allowable with Judah in the pre-Mosaic era) fulfilled an obligation to her deceased husband.

2:1-2 Perhaps the prophecy of Daniel, the seventy weeks of years, had given an indication to the Magi that a special King of the Jews would soon be born. At any rate, some type of Special Revelation, either a direct revelation or a reading of Scripture, must have indicated the meaning of the star.

2:9-12 The 'star' (aster) was probably not a star in the astronomical sense. However, it would be unusual for the Shekinah glory to be displayed to gentiles, as Mr. Barbieri BKC) suggests, while the Hebrews were unaware of it.

2:9-12 How do we determine the 'further significance' of the gifts? Although the gold may symbolize the purity of Jesus (as suggested by Mr. Barbieri, BKC), it could also symbolize the Son reflecting the Father's glory, or a light shining in this dark world.

2:16-18 Certainly Herod thought the child was two years old or younger! The magi probably did not show up at the birth of Jesus, but up to two years later.

3:7-8 The comments of John to the religious leaders were remarkable. First - there is a wrath to come, a judgment of God on the way we live our lives. Second - repentance is the means of reconciling with God and escaping wrath, but (3) sincere repentance will bear fruit - living a life for God. As we lead people to Christ, we must expect that a result will be a changed life, not a 'saved life' which remains seeped in sin and selfishness.

II. Communications from the King (4:12-7:29)

Names used for the Devil in Matthew 4
EnglishGreek and DefinitionVerses
devil'diabolos' - the slanderer1, 5, 8, 11
tempter'peirazon' - the one tempting3
Satan'satanos' - from Hebrew - the accuser10
4:1 ... to be 'peirasthanai' (tempted) by the 'diabolos' (devil)

5:1-12 I agree with Mr. Barbieri's sentence, "The sermon showed how a person who is in right relationship with God should conduct his life."

5:26 'Penny' is used for the Greek 'kodrantes' or Latin 'quadrans', which was a brass Roman coin representing approximately 1/4 of an hour's wages for a common laborer. It was one of the smallest and commonest coins of the time. Given the minimum wage in the United States in 2004, this is perhaps closer to a dollar, especially when you consider that there is practically nothing that a single penny can buy anymore. It is difficult to equate values of Biblical money, even measures of gold and silver, in buying power as our economy is constantly changing. The value would be closer to a nickel in a third world country where an average laborer may only earn a few hundred American dollars in a year!

5:31-32 I hold to the unfaithfulness as meaning one or more acts of sexual infidelity by either marriage partner. Note that sexual infidelity was always considered adultery if a married woman was a partner; some did not consider it adultery if a married man and a single woman were involved. Our normal understanding (modern English) of adultery is if either the man or woman involved is married. Clearly sexual acts committed outside the marriage relationship are never the will of God and are sin, regardless of what classification or label we put upon them, or what the politically acceptable standards of the day are.

5:33-37 Matt 26:63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." (NIV) This is not the same as taking an oath, as implied by Mr. Barbieri (BKC). Jesus did respond. In the other passage cited, Paul called upon God as his witness that he was telling the truth. Having given testimony in a Federal Court, I know that there in no requirement to take an oath as a witness in these United States, although it is customary. By letting the court or lawyer know in advance, you will be asked to affirm that you will tell the truth.

6:1-4 There are not a lot of specific guidelines for church treasurers. Here is one. The giving of gifts and offerings is to be confidential, not paraded before men. There was a time when it was customary in some churches to post the pledges and contributions on a bulletin board near the end of the year (as an incentive to fulfill the pledges). Contrary to this, the treasurer must be very careful to guard this information.

6:19-24 This spiritual deficiency of the Pharisees, believing that material wealth is the sign of blessing and using it for themselves, is common. The LORD may bless us with wealth, or he may not. If he does, we are only stewards to use this wealth for His glory. If he does not, we continue to praise Him for sustaining us day by day.

Matthew 6:24
New International Version (NIV)Ron's Literal TranslationTranslation Notes
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.No one can be a slave to two masters, for he will hate the one and hate the other or hold to one and dispise the other. You cannot be a slave to God and Mammon.'Serve' is literally 'be a slave to', which should describe our devotion to God. 'Mammon' is a Greek god of wealth.

7:13-14 Jesus' words indicate that he did not expect the majority of the nation or the world to find the narrow gate. This is the opposite of universalism, which teaches that all people eventually are reconciled to God.

7:15-23 BKC 2 This remark is true of many church leaders today. I cannot evaluate by a rule of what denomination people belong to whether or not their leaders are truly saved and walking with the Lord. But it is necessary for each one of us to at least consider, "Does my pastor have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as his savior?" It is heartbreaking, but many do not. If you are not sure, it is a problem. A short conversation in private with the pastor will clarify very quickly where he stands. If he has a personal relationship with the Lord, he will not mind proclaiming this.

III. Credentials of the King (8:1-11:1)

8:1-4 Mose's hand had temporarily turned leprous and back on three occasions as a sign. It is significant that Jesus actually touched the leper. It would have been a journey of a few days travel for the man to go to the temple if Jesus was teaching near Capernaum.

8:6 The 'servant' is quite possibly a boy servant, a personnal attendant between 7 and 14 years old. The word 'pais' is also used of a young armor bearer in the OT. This could explain the Centurion's soft heart and concern for this servant. The Centurion is a ruler of 100, like an Army Captain today. He would have been a Gentile, and many Jews resented the Roman military authorities. This makes the comparison of the Centurion's faith to that of Israel all the more remarkable.

8:14-15 After being healed, the Peter's mother-in-law immediately served the Lord and disciples. It was an appropriate response, and we might hope that others healed today will also serve the Lord. Peter's relationship to this woman shows that he was married.

9:18-26 Jairus showed faith by going to Jesus, and by dismissing the mourners at Jesus command.

10:24-33 The penny here is the assarion, worth four of the pennies in 5:26 above. The assarion is perhaps an hour's wages (they did not have eight-hour work days). The translation penny is traditional, but, as inflation has continued, it is misleadingly small. Perhaps twenty years ago a dollar would have been a good translation, now it is perhaps two to four dollars. The other way to compare it would be to price a few chicken wings at a fast food restaurant. The various coin names used reminds us that Matthew was a tax collector.

IV. Challenge to the King's Authority (11:2-16:12)

11:29 "And learn from me." At that time Jesus taught directly. Today we still learn from Him, but by means of the Scripture, the enabling of the Holy Spirit, and through experience (the Holy Spirit helping us to examine our lives in light of Scripture and conviction). Still, it takes an effort and time to learn, and humility to be willing to be taught.

13:10-17 BKC 2 "A distinction seems intended:" I disagree with the distinction found by Mr. Barbieri. In the equivalent place in Mark (Mark 4:11) the Kingdom of God is used where the Kingdom of Heaven is used here. In both places the explanation of teaching parables directly follows the sower parable. Moreover, the weeds in the Wheat and Weed parable are not sons of the kingdom. The field is not Christendom or the 'professing church', it is specifically stated that it is the world. Therefore, both the sons of the kingdom and the sons of the devil are planted in the world (not in the church). During this age the kingdom is manifested in the world alongside or intermixed with the sons of the devil operating in the same sphere.

It is unfortunate that many churches are largely composed of unbelievers. It is my conviction that, to the extent possible, church membership should be limited to those who confess Jesus as Savior. I say 'to the extent possible' because only the Lord truly sees the heart, us mortals accept the evidence that a person appears to be telling the truth about their salvation. But apart from this problem, the field is stated to be the world.

13:31-32 Only by presupposing that the Kingdom of Heaven includes unbelievers could we see the parable in the way Mr. Barbieri does! A simple alternate interpretation is that the Kingdom of Heaven will dramatically grow. This certainly was the case on the day of Pentecost and the first century growth of the Church.

13:33-35 Again, Mr. Barbieri (BKC) assumes that the Kingdom of Heaven includes professing unbelievers! Basically, these professing unbelievers include those church members who have never put their faith in the Lord. I simply take this parable as saying that the Kingdom (yeast) will spread throughout the world. This is in keeping with the fact that men of all ethnic groups will someday praise the Lord. This is not to say that the whole world will become the Kingdom (until the Lord's return), but that the Kingdom will spread throughout the world.

13:44 There is no indication that the treasure is Israel, or that the man is Christ, as Mr Barbieri (BKC) states. The parable does fit this interpretation, but it is not at all clear that this is what Jesus was teaching. I take this parable as simply showing the relative value of the Kingdom to man. The man who found it valued it above everything else, and so should we.

13:45-46 Again, I doubt that the pearl represents the church rather than Israel. If the pearl represents the Kingdom, the man will sell everything else he has to gain the kingdom. Do we value the kingdom above our career position, our retirement savings account, and the status of having 'the best' house and car we can possibly manage to obtain? The disciples certainly did, as they left everything to follow Jesus.

13:51-52 I agree with most of Mr. Barbieri's words here, except I deny that the Kingdom of Heaven includes unbelieving 'professors'. When God separates the wicked from the righteous, it will not be the Kingdom of Heaven that is being judged, but the larger group consisting of the whole world. I do not doubt that the false 'professors' will be separated from the righteous, but they are not the only ones that will be in the larger group of all those classified as wicked.

14:1-12 We have the name of Herodias daughter (from her first husband), Salome, from the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus.

V. Cultivation of the King's Disciples (16:13-20:34)

16:17-20 "I will build my church and the gates of hades will not overcome it." The BKC interpretation states that hades (the death of Jesus) would not prevent the building of the church. This interprets the verse as a prophecy of the resurrection. In agreement with hades as being death, the Bible Background Commentary (by Craig S. Keener) states that "the Jews would understand the gates of hades as being the realm and power of death.." He continues in a different interpretation of this verse, "death itself would not silence the church." By this is meant that threats of death and the martyrdom of many believers would not prevent the church from being built and from growing. The BBC takes the 'it' as plainly referring to the church. The BKC is a more difficult reading, taking the 'it' as indirectly referring to the verb 'I will build' or to the 'program of building the church'. The question is whether the gates of hades not overcoming is a reference to Christ rising from the dead (completely fulfilled) or to a battle between death and the church itself (various persecutions, even today, against the church body). I prefer the latter as a more clear reading of the text.

16:17-20 Mr. Barbieri states, "The Lord knew it was too late for the nation to respond to his offer ..." Naturally the Lord knew from before creation that the nation as a whole would not accept his offer, but where does Scripture indicate that it was suddenly too late? It would appear to me that the offer was still on the table; although the Lord knew it would be rejected it was still a bona fide offer. Certainly his offer was valid on the day of Psalm Sunday, when he entered Jerusalem as a king. Perhaps what is meant here is that Jesus, knowing his offer would be rejected, devoted his time to cultivating his disciples.

18:23-35 Money is difficult to relate between Bible times and today. If I only earned '16 cents' for a day of labor, I would quickly starve (at least in this country, today). Perhaps we could equate the day's wages to around thirty dollars. When I was a child, a silver quarter was worth twenty-five cents, and could buy five candy bars. Today a candy bar costs about forty-five cents, but the silver quarter is worth about two dollars if sold for the metal value. Our alloy quarters certainly will not buy five candy bars.

One way to get around this is to realize that the servant owed one hundred days' wages! This is a different image in our mind that the approximately sixteen dollars that the coins imply. This is a considerable sum, minuscule only in relation to the huge debt of the wicked servant. Sin is never a light or worthless matter. Only by remembering the vastness of what we have been forgiven do the sins others have committed against us become insignificant by comparison.

19:1-12 The 'exception clause' for divorce in the case of adultery is found only in Matthew, according to the BKC. However, if the 'unfaithful' of I Cor 7:12-13 is properly (my opinion) taken as unfaithful to one's spouse rather than as the traditional unfaithful to God (unbelieving), the 'escape clause' is found outside Matthew.

VI. Climax of the King's Offer (21-27)

21:12-14 The basis for not allowing 'commercial' money to be used as an offering in the temple was the interpretation of the commandment not to make graven images. Roman, Greek, and other coins (as do most coins today) have a portrait of a political leader on them. The temple coins did not.

21:40-46 Contrary to the BKC, many who also use a literal method of reading the Bible believe that the Church in some sense is presently inheriting the Kingdom of God. We enjoy the spiritual blessing of that kingdom and of God's rule that has been initiated, although the complete fulfillment of His physical rule on the earth awaits the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. At that time a Jewish remnant will also come into its inheritance of the Promised Land.

24:1-3 The Church is not distinctly mentioned in chapters 24-25, and the focus is on Israel. This does not prevent the Church from being present on the earth during the future time periods being discussed in these chapters.

24:4-8 This is an excellent paragraph in the BKC, graciously referencing some view of other premillenarians without criticism while presenting the view favored by Mr. Barbieri. The second paragraph is a generic comparison with the first six seals of Revelation and is generally agreed to by most premillenarians. The matter of dispute is whether the Church will be on earth during and of these events.

24:15-26 Many premillenarians do not agree with Mr. Barbieri that the Church will be raptured before the tribulation begins.

24:27-31 Some equate this gathering of the elect with the rapture, while the BKC separates it by seven years and clearly distinguishes between the coming of Christ for the saints and with the saints. It is of interest that Mr. Barbieri puts the resurrection of Old Testament saints here instead of at the rapture. Presumably this is because they are to inherit the earthly kingdom rather than a heavenly kingdom. I would put the resurrection of the Old Testament saints with the resurrection of the New Testament saints, even under the views that separate the rapture from the return of Christ.

24:36-41 On the 'conflicts with a number of scriptures' (BKC), I will not elaborate here. The reasons why some commentators do believe that this event is the rapture (post-tribulationism) is a topic that the reader should pursue in a course on Bible Doctrines, where all of the teachings of Scripture on each particular topic are taken together.

25:1-13 The last sentence (BKC) seems to indicate that some 'believers' will miss the return of Christ and be denied entrance into the Kingdom. If the virgins represent Israel, perhaps the ones without sufficient oil are not believers in Jesus. Many Jews pray each year, at Passover, for the Messiah to return. They wait for Him in one sense, and yet have not put their faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and are not ready for His return.

25:14-30 This parable seems to cover the time from the ascension of Jesus until His return, if we are to date it from the departure to the return of the master in the story. The Master does not depart at the beginning of the tribulation, but departed almost 2000 years ago. However, the emphasis is not on the timing , but on faithful stewardship of the Lord's resources (everything we are and have) until His return. This message is appropriate for the Church age and the coming tribulation.

25:41-46 Mr. Barbieri implies that the glorified saints are not part of the millennial kingdom, but somehow share in Christ's rule of it.

27:51-53 There is no indication that the saints raised in connection with the crucifixion were raised with glorified bodies (BKC), and no further mention of either their second, natural, deaths or of ascensions.

VII. Confirmation of the King's Life (28)

28:11-15 This story persists to today, and the novel The Passover Plot from the late 1960's was based on it. The Bible does not try to hide the deceits of men by ignoring them, rather, it brings them to light and exposes them.


Bibliography

New Testament Survey by Merrill Tenney : Highly recommend this book for a good background to the life of Jesus and the New Testament. The first half covers background, what the world was like under Roman rule and what the conditions of the Jews were. The second half gives background, outline, and introductions to each of the New Testament books (including Acts).

Bible Background Commentary (New Testament) by Craig S. Keener : Printed by InterVarsity Press, this is an excellent one-volume resource for understanding the customs and background (history, language, and geography) behind the verses of the New Testament. It is not an interpretation of the New Testament as are most commentaries, its purpose is to give background information. I highly recommend this to the serious student of Scripture, who already has a good grasp of the meaning and application of the New Testament.

Bible Knowledge Commentary (New Testament, Volume II) by the Staff of Dallas Theological Seminary : Admittedly a 'dispensational' interpretation, meaning that the authors take the book of Revelation very literally and teach that Jesus will take the Church out of the world before the 'Tribulation Period'. Although I do not agree totally with their opinions, I have found this to be a fair commentary, also explaining the views of others which the authors do not hold. If you use my notes you will receive some insight as to where the points of disagreement are. Highly recommended as the best short commentary on the market. I am easily in agreement with 98% of what this commentary teaches, and who knows if I am right about the other 2%??


Updated by Ron Miller in March 2012
Please send comments or suggestions to brron@istudybible.com

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