New Testament History, Literature and Theology
Session 6: Introduction to Matthew Part 1
Dr. Ted Hildebrandt
A. Introduction [00:00- 1:10]
This is Dr. Ted Hildebrandt in his New Testament History, Literature, and Theology course lecture number 6 on the beginning features of the book of Matthew.
Welcome back to New Testament History and Theology course; we have done the background, the Persians, the Greeks, the Maccabeans, down to the Romans. Then jumping into last time the inspiration question; the canonicity, collection process; the transcription process of copying over and over again by the scribes and how we weigh that out. Last time we talked about the translations and the different translations and how that is done. So we have done inspiration, canonicity, transmission and translation. Now, finally, at last we are ready for the book of Matthew. So today is kind of a start, we are going to jump into the book of Matthew and look at some of the bigger picture. We won’t be going through it in detail obviously but you’ll be getting a good sense to the book.
B. The Gospels: Authors and Audiences [1:10- 5:26]
So I want to start out in Matthew’s gospel and basically with Matthew’s story. I would like to organize our whole discussion to the themes of Matthew according to this kind of acrostic here. So basically what I want to say is that Matthew is methodical. How we get Matthew as methodical is that we have two other gospels, Mark and Luke, and we will compare Matthew with Mark and Luke and see what the differences are between them. What I want to suggest is that Matthew is methodical. By the way, just starting up with these few gospels, we actually have four gospels right. We’ve got Matthew, Mark and Luke, those three are called the Synoptic Gospels. We will get into this later, syn-optics, it means “with one eye,” in other words, Matthew, Mark, and Luke all seem to see Jesus in this one perspective. That is why they are called the synoptic gospels they see Jesus with one eye. The other gospel, John, sees Christ very differently over ninety percent of the time. The gospel of John is totally different than the Matthew, Mark and Luke stories. So you get a totally different perspective and some people are bothered (we will show you some of the differences between Matthew, Mark and Luke, and John) by the differences. I look at the differences, and I thank God for the differences. Do people tell stories differently? So Matthew as a tax collector, he’s going to tell the story differently than Mark, who apparently is a young man at the time who was from Jerusalem. Luke never met Jesus. Luke is going to be more of a historian, a doctor, and so his perspective is going to be very different from John who was a fisherman whom Jesus called by the Sea of Galilee. So you have these four different people with their different perspectives; so each of them from the author’s point of view has a different perspective of what they picked up in the life of Jesus.
What type of audience are they addressing? You tell the story differently according to the audience that you are addressing. One of the classics for me with the person telling stories is my son who just got back from Afghanistan and he was telling stories with the family. Our children were there and he was telling stories. He is a great story teller--and so they are laughing and having fun and the stories crack you up. They are just really funny stories and so we are all laughing at the stories. The kids then went out to pick up my other son, Zach, at the airport and as soon as the kids left the room my son started telling just my wife and I different stories. Instead of laughing they were stories that almost had us in tears. So what I am saying is that you can tell the same stories, and some of his stories I have heard several times now and as I hear it three times I hear him tell it to different audiences, he is emphasizing different things. Then when you are alone in the car with him, then all of a sudden he tells you the reason behind all of those stories he connects it all up. So people tell stories differently. And so rather than seeing and trying to have it monolithic, where all the stories are exactly the same, the church didn’t want that. The church wanted the different stories of Jesus to be told. It is kind of like why do you have two eyes? If you are blind in one eye you do not have any depth perception, and so you have two eyes. They are actually having cameras now with two lenses up front, so that you can actually get depth of field, this 3-D sense. With Jesus you are given four gospels with four different takes on Jesus. John says that if we were to write everything Jesus said and did down all the books in the world couldn’t contain it. So we are getting four different snap shots and perspectives on Jesus and that is helpful. When we come to places of conflict between the gospels, don’t throw up your hands and say conflict bothers you. No, that is wonderful – we want to be able to see the different perspectives on Jesus.
C. Overview – MATTHEWS Acrostic [5:26-9:15]
Matthew’s methodical [M] when we compare them to Mark and Luke and we will go on to that later in a second. Here is the second thing that we want to look at is that the gospel of Matthew is Apostling [A]. I did that so I could get an “A” out of that, but Matthew talks about discipleship. Discipleship is a major theme in the book; Jesus is portrayed as a teacher in the book of Matthew. He is kind of viewed as a second Moses, a new Moses, and you get this new Moses motif. Jesus is the new Moses giving his teaching to his disciples. So what does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Matthew will develop that them as the teacher Jesus calls his disciples.
So we have discipleship or apostling, and then we will talk about the theology [T] of Christ. What is the theology of Christ? As we look at the picture scripture, Jesus Christ is portrayed as king. In Matthew chapter 1 verse 1 it says “Jesus Christ the son of David”. Why does Matthew start out with “Jesus Christ the son of David”? “The son of Abraham, the son of David” – he starts it with David because he is going to portray Jesus as king. The book of Matthew portrays Jesus as the son of David, the Christ.
We will also look at time [T] in the book of Matthew. He will have very much regard to the past. Matthew, more than any other gospel, will quote from the Old Testament; he is writing probably to a Jewish audience, so he will quote a lot of things from the Old Testament and reference the past. He will tell us a lot about Jesus in the present, and give us the great 5 sermons of Jesus, the great five discourses of Jesus found in Matthew. This is kind of like the new Pentateuch of Moses, Jesus will give the new Pentateuch. You know the Sermon on the Mount and the Olivet Discourse. Jesus, also, in the book of Matthew in the Olivet Discourse, will focus a couple chapters on the future. How does the future connect with the present, how does the coming kingdom compare with the kingdom that is within us now? Matthew will have this tension that we will call…Dr. Dave Matthewson who used to teach here at Gordon College always loved to say, “The already but not yet.” I believe it was George Eldon Ladd that said, “The already but not yet.” So, there will be this tension in the Gospel between the already, which already exists in the church, and that which is yet to come. So you get this tension between the already and the not yet. We will look at this and how Matthew covers this time perspective.
Then “H” we will show the Hebrew perspective in this book. The book of Matthew is very Hebrew oriented, very Jewish oriented, and it has a very Jewish audience. Some people even thought that the book of Matthew was written in Aramaic and translated into Greek. Pros and cons on that it is argued but it seems to be written to a Jewish audience, a Hebrew audience. While it is written to a Jewish audience the book also breaks out, and is extensive [E] in terms of this covering of the Gentiles (people who are non- Jewish). So it is extensive in that it has a non-Jewish aspect in the book that always keeps getting pushed – and we will go over some of that non-Jewish aspect. Then the witness [W], the beginning of the Gospel and the end of the Gospel tells us that we are to be a witness for Christ, and so we will look at the notion of witness. Lastly, just briefly we will look at Matthew’s style [S], what is his style of writing compared to the other gospel writers. This is, I don’t know if you can see it, M-A-T-T-H-E-W, and so what we have here is MATTHEW’S with an “S” on the end, so this will organize our discussions for us as we go through. Sorry for the goofy acrostic but this is how I remember things.
D. Methodical [M] – Matthew and Mark [9:15-12:49]
So we want to start out looking at Matthew as methodical. So Matthew’s story, how does he tell a story? How does Matthew differ from Mark? A lot people will accept the Markan in priority, that is, that Mark wrote first and then Matthew wrote second. Matthew pulls a lot of stuff from the book of Mark as does Luke. So Luke is dependent on Mark, and Matthew is dependent on Mark. How are they different? How did Matthew modify things according to his purposes and according to his audience? How does Matthew differ from Luke? You know Matthew and Luke, again both probably are pulling from Mark and knew about Mark. Luke tells us up front that he never met Jesus but he is doing historical work with eye witnesses. Luke mentions specifically that he is pulling in eye witnesses, and that he is organizing the story for Theophilus – he is writing to most excellent Theophilus, Matthew, on the other hand, seems to be writing to Jews.
The point is unique material – what is unique about Matthew, he will tell us his point of view and what is he trying to really communicate. You want to look at the differences with Luke and Matthew and Mark to show his unique point of view, and to help us locate his unique take on Jesus and what he is trying to do there. So first of all, we want to develop Matthew’s relationship with Mark and one of those things is that Matthew here, it says “develops the brief statements of Mark.” Mark has brief statements, Mark is a shorter book – Mark is 16 chapters and the chapters are short – Matthew is a longer book, 28 chapters. So you get statements like this coming from Mark, now check this out, you have read the temptation of Christ in the book of Matthew. Here is the temptation of Christ, let’s first of all, let’s just review the temptation of Christ in the book of Matthew. From Picture Scripture do you remember what chapter that is in? The temptation of Christ is in Matthew chapter 4, Jesus is led by the spirit out into the wilderness and in the wilderness Satan comes to him, and he says what? Turn these stones into bread. Jesus responds using the Old Testament law in Deuteronomy, “Man does not live on bread alone.” Satan then takes him up to the pinnacle of the temple (for some of you who are using the Get Lost in Jerusalem program, you can go and kind of see where the pinnacle of the temple was – more recent now, there is actually a 15th century wall there, basically in the same place). Jesus says, “okay,” and so he takes Jesus up on the pinnacle of the temple and says throw yourself down. Now Satan quotes the Old Testament and says, “Angels [from the book of Psalms] will bear you up lest you dash your foot against the stone.” And Jesus said to Satan, again quoting from Deuteronomy, “Don’t tempt the Lord your God.” The third time then, Satan takes him up into the high mountains, some people think that it is Mount Hermon, way up to the north there. He shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and says, “I will give you all these kingdoms if you bow down and worship me.” Jesus says, “Get out of here Satan, you should only worship the Lord your God.” Again, [he] responds to Satan quoting the book of Deuteronomy. So Jesus has three interactions with Satan; stones to bread, throw yourself down from the pinnacle temple, and then on top of the mountain all the kingdoms I will give you.
E. The Temptation in Mark [12:49-15:02]
Here is the temptation of Christ in the book of Mark: “At once [this is chapter one, verse 12 and following] the Spirit sent him out into the desert, he was in the desert for 40 days being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals and angels attended him.” That’s the end of the temptation of Christ in Mark. You say, “What about the stones to bread, what about the pinnacle temple, it doesn’t mention any of the temptations, it just says that, “…He was there being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals.” Now you say, “Ok, Matthew didn’t tell us about the wild animals.” Mark seems to be picking up on wild animals and angels attended him. Again things not in there, and you say why did Mark say, “the wild animals and angels attending him.” Why did he put that in? Mark is probably writing to a Roman audience, see if you can figure that out, so “the wild animals and the angels attending him” fits. Matthew doesn’t mention that, he mentions Jesus interaction with Satan “Hasatan [the satan/accuser]” as the Old Testament calls him, and then basically takes him to three places that are well known in Judaism. “Out of the wilderness” do you see the second Moses motif – out of the wilderness being tempted by Satan. So Matthew has a different take, he develops three aspects out of the story. So Matthew condenses, takes the brief statements of Mark, and he unpacks them – that is the book of Matthew. A second thing here, so the temptation, we just talked about Mark chapter 1 verses 12-13 is expanded into Matthew chapter 4 verses 1-11. Why would Matthew develop it like that, Jesus is being shown to be a new Israel. And as Israel was in the wilderness tempted and then failed, now Jesus, the new Israel, is in the wilderness only he succeeds. He resists temptation of Satan. So Jesus as the new Israel is developed in this passage in the book of Matthew.
F. The Sermon on the Mount – Preaching of the Kingdom [15:02-18:26]
Now preaching the Kingdom, in the book of Mark, chapter 1:14, it mentions that Jesus was preaching the kingdom of God. It mentions [let me just read this section in chapter 1:14], “after John was put in prison Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the good news of God, the time has come,” he said, “the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news.” The good news is a big thing for Mark – “Repent and believe the good news,” period. That is the end of Jesus’ teaching there about the kingdom of God. Now what happens when you get into the book of Matthew? In Matthew, Jesus is being portrayed (as I have said before) as this new Moses character and as a new Moses he offers his teaching in these discourses. So what you have is the SOM or the Sermon on the Mount, and what happens is that Matthew takes the one or two verses in Mark, “the kingdom of heaven is near, repent and believe,” that’s what Mark says. Matthew takes that and unpacks it in the Sermon on the Mount.
If any of you have the red letter rendition in the Bible where Jesus’ words are in red letters you know that it goes through chapters 5, 6, and 7. Three whole chapters starting with the Beatitudes, “blessed are poor in spirit, blessed are those who hunger and thirst, blessed are you when men persecute you, blessed, blessed…” He goes down through and discusses it, the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name” and the Sermon on the Mount, “judge not lest you be judged.” In chapter 7, the golden rule, “Do unto others before they do unto you” – I mean “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you” – Love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus develops all these in the Sermon on the Mount--into three chapters on Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7.
The Sermon on the Mount is a wonderful message, certain churches by the way, if you travel the country or the world, you see certain churches emphasize different passages of Scripture and I know that there are certain churches that emphasize the Sermon on the Mount, the Sermon on the Mount, the Sermon on the Mount – all they do is teach the sermon on the mount. Now the Sermon on the Mount is wonderful and it is this encapsulation of Jesus’ teaching, and it is a great place to start with Jesus’ teaching. But Jesus taught other things as well and the apostles taught things, and the Old Testament taught things. So you have to take the whole Bible into account, so you have to be careful about privileging what they call a canon within a canon. Where there are parts of Scripture you accept and emphasize over others. In this course and in this class you see that we see Scripture all as the word of God and we privilege none of it. Genesis is important, Matthew is important, they all are important; they are all part of God’s word, and you don’t privilege Romans over the book of James. They are the word of God and therefore we try to understand them, all of them. The Sermon on the Mount is a real special text and phenomenal, but again in Mark it is one or two verses, in Matthew it comes up to be three chapters. So Matthew develops the brief statements of Mark.
G. Jesus’ Words and Jesus’ Works [18:26-20:29]
Matthew do more with Jesus’ words while Mark does more with Jesus works? Matthew
develops these words and teachings of Jesus, mostly because I think he is
trying to portray Jesus as the new Moses – and the teachings of Moses, Pentateuch,
five books, Genesis to Deuteronomy the first five books of the Bible. So what
happens is Matthew is modeling Jesus to these Jews, he is modeling Jesus on
Moses and Moses is teaching in the Pentateuch and in the Torah and in the first
five books of the Bible, Genesis to Deuteronomy and Moses connection with Mount
Sinai. Mark, however, is writing to a Roman audience, so Mark does more of the
works of Jesus, Jesus did this and Jesus did that. It doesn’t tell us so much
about what Jesus taught, it tells us about what Jesus did and--some people, by
the way, are focused more on teaching and some people are more focused on works
and what Jesus actually did. Mark because of his audience and I think he
himself went in that direction of Jesus’ works. Lastly, I think you have to
ask about the audience; the audience of Mark seems to be more Roman. They will
be more interested in actions being from a Roman background. The Jewish people
would be more interested in Jesus’ teaching as viewing Jesus as the great
Rabbi, the Rabbinic teacher. Matthew will focus on the teachings of Jesus
around five discourses. Matthew’s whole book will be built around these five
discourses. What I am suggesting to you as others have suggested and I am just
ripping it off, is that these five discourses that Matthew’s built around is
built to model Jesus as the new Moses. Moses had five books, Genesis, Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Jesus now has five major
teachings/discourses in the book of Matthew, so I think there are reasons for
these movements. Matthew is methodical.
H. Matthew Condenses [20:29-25:09]
This is actually kind of stunning; Matthew actually condenses. Yet the book of Matthew is much larger than the book of Mark. You would expect everything in Mark to be in encapsulated form, it would be very small and like a kernel. The kernel would be in the book of Mark, and what Matthew would do is pop that kernel up and so what we will go through in two or three verses in Mark, you go through the whole chapter in Matthew. You would expect Matthew to pop that kernel up. What you have here is this is not the case when it comes to the works of Jesus.
example, we have got the demoniacs, the Gadarene Demoniacs. Jesus comes to
this guy – the guy is cutting himself, slashing, he is kind of a slash person.
He is in the graveyard; nobody can contain him Jesus walks up to him and says, “Hey,
who are you in this guy?” The guy says, “Well, we are a legion,” because there
are so many demons in this guy, they were a legion. They begged Jesus, “don’t
cast us out or do anything bad to us. Why don’t you cast us into those pigs
over there.” So Jesus casts the demon Legion into the pigs and the pigs run
down into the Sea of Galilee and perish.
This guy, the Demoniac of Gadarene wants to go back, he wants to go with Jesus and Jesus says no. He tells him to go back and tell the great thing God has done for him. What a wonderful story. There are songs about this story. Casting Crowns or some group sings the story of the Demoniac of Gadarene. It is a tremendous story because, in one sense, all of us are demon possessed until we are freed by Jesus. So, but what is interesting here is that Mark tells the story of the demoniac of Gargasene and the casting demons into pigs and the story is 326 words long. Matthew tells that same story, has two demoniacs at Gadarene--actually there are two guys rather than just the one that Mark tells us about--and the story is only 134 words long. So Matthew takes the story of Mark, over three hundred words, and condenses it down to about a hundred words. So Matthew takes that story in Mark, rather than expanding the story, it is something Jesus did by casting of demons out into the pigs, he collapsed the story down to one third of what it is in Mark. So you can see that Matthew takes the words of Jesus and blows them up but he takes the works of Jesus and he boils them down. So the story is one third of the size that it is in Mark. The actual point that we are making now on the Powerpoint is Mark has 326 words, one demoniac, down to a 134 words and two demoniacs in the book of Matthew. Mark focuses on the works of Jesus, Matthew focuses on the words of Jesus more.
Now here is another one Jesus walking on the water. Mark has that story of Jesus walking on the water. The story is 139 words long in Mark, so he tells the story in 139 words. Matthew over in chapter 14, John the Baptist is going to be beheaded, Jesus is going to feed the 5,000 and Jesus is walking on the water. Matthew tells us about Peter getting out of the boat and then walking to Jesus. Then Peter falls in and Jesus bails him out. So Matthew adds this thing about Peter falling into the water and falling in and Jesus pulling him out. But yet, even so, with the addition of Peter the story in Matthew is 101 words, it looks like 40 words less than Mark. It is almost one third less, plus it has a story about Peter. So, again, Matthew collapses the stories on the works of Jesus and shrinks them down. You would expect the story in Matthew to be much longer for Matthew is a much bigger book but instead the story is shorter but he adds this story about Peter.
Now the question is why does he add that story about Peter? Peter falls in as a result of his little faith. Some interesting things there, I think let me just give you a hint, I think Peter is the consummate disciple. In the book of Matthew I think Peter is portrayed as the consummate disciple. Peter is good, Peter is bad and he will be portrayed both ways, but he is this kind of representative, Peter is this representative disciple. So he takes that role as being a special disciple there.
I. The Five Discourses – Sermon on the Mount, Sending of the 12 and Parables … [25:09-28:29]
Now here is
the book of Matthew and I want to basically show how the book of Matthew
focuses, in what we call these five discourses or five sermons of Jesus. So in
Matthew has the new Moses and has the new Pentateuch in one sense here. So we
get Jesus’ first big discourse as the Sermon on the Mount, three chapters of
Jesus’ teachings from the Beatitudes to “you have heard it said of old time
thou shalt not commit adultery but I say unto you…You have heard of old time thou
shalt not murder but I say unto you, whoever is angry with his brother without
a cause has committed murder already in his heart.” So the Sermon on the Mount
is a tremendous teaching focal point of the summary of Jesus’ teaching in those
three chapters. It is a phenomenal sermon, the Sermon on the Mount; every
Christian should be very familiar with the Sermon on the Mount.
Secondly, there is a discourse in chapter 10 where Jesus sends the twelve, remember from your Picture Scripture “sends 12.” He sends the twelve out and he warns them that they are going to have a rough time when he goes out there. He sends them only to the house of Israel, notice again the focus on Israel, Jewish audiences possibly. He goes out to the people of Israel and basically spreads the gospel--so he spreads the gospel so he sends out the 12. He then commissions them, and it is a very long chapter. In chapter 10 Jesus instructs his disciples as they go out as his witnesses to spread the gospel.
Chapter 13 is a very famous passage. In Picture Scripture we called it “Parables of the Kingdom: seeds and weeds.” “These are the great parables of Jesus. Matthew chapter 13 the parables of the kingdom, there are about seven or so parables there. Some seed falls on the path and basically nothing happens. Some of it falls on the stony ground and it comes up for a bit but it has no roots so it dries up when the sun hits it. Some fall on the thorny ground, and it comes up in the thorny ground and it looks like it is going to do really well but the thorns and weeds choke it and so it doesn’t produce anything. Finally some seeds fall on the ground, and it comes up and produces sixty, one hundred more and the kingdom of heaven is like that. Actually people are always saying it is not the parable of the seeds or the sower it is the parable of the soil telling the different types of soils. I don’t want to quarrel over those things but basically it is telling you different responses to the word of God and its effectiveness in people’s lives. You have the parable of the wheat and tares, the guy plants the tares and plants the wheat and he is wanting the wheat to grow. All of a sudden he realizes that an enemy has planted all these weeds in there; the weeds are growing up and they look just like the wheat initially. The guy says, “hey,” to the master, “can we pull the weeds out.” The master says, “no, let the weeds to grow with the wheat until the time of the harvest. At the time of the harvest we will separate the tares from the wheat and burn them up.” You kind of get the notion of burning up the tares; the tares are the bad folks, the wheat are the good folks. So you get these seven parables in the teaching in Matthew chapter 13, the parable of the kingdom “seeds and weeds.” There are some great teachings of parables there (if you are ever interested in parables that is a great place to start).
J. The Firve Discourses--Community instructions (Mat. 18) [28:29-31:37]
In Matthew chapter 18, Jesus talks about relationships within the community of the church and largely here he talks about--there is even a parable here about the unjust and unmerciful servant who borrowed from this guy billions of dollars. He goes to the guy and says, “please forgive me the billions of dollars that I owe you.” The big master says, “I forgive you.” Then the guy goes home and a man owes him ten bucks, and the guy has this man thrown in prison. The master then comes back and says “You owed me billions and you won’t even forgive that guy ten bucks?” So the master then has some major problems with that guy. These are community instructions, also, it talks about when there is conflict within the community of the church.
Matthews is one of the only gospels by the way that mentions ekklnsia or church. So when there is a conflict in the church what do you do? You have a conflict with somebody in the church what do you? Well, of course, you go gossip, right? – O, no, no, Jesus didn’t say that. So you have two people that have a problem in the church. What do you do? You go to the person first. You confront the person and say, “Okay, this is the problem,” and then you try to work out the problem one on one between the two.
By the way, I always tell my class this too, I used to work with a guy, he was a business guy Anthony and I kept telling him, “Whenever you do an email, never send negative stuff in an email.” Basically if you have something negative to say to someone you should go face to face with them. So if I have some problem here at Gordon College or wherever, if I have a problem with the provost or the dean or whoever, I’m going to go to that person directly and say I have a problem with this person directly. I am not going to put it in an email, I am not going to telephone and say, “Hey, this is my problem” – I am going to go to the person personally and talk to them, I will explain my problem, what it is, and we will talk about it. So one-on-one, you go and try to solve the problem. If the problem is not resolved between the two of you then you take two or three people with you and you go three to the one, and you come together with a couple witnesses. The other people that may help with their wisdom to solve the problem – so you take two or three people and you go back and you try to solve the problem. If the person still will not resolve or reconcile the situation, you take it before the church. The church is composed of the elders and deacons or however your church is composed and you take it to your church and the people in your church. If the person doesn’t listen to the church and if there is still no reconciliation then basically that person can be kicked outside of the church with excommunication. So there is this process; one on one, two or three on one trying to reconcile, whole church on one trying to reconcile, if it will not be reconciled then at that point then the person is kicked out of the church, excommunicated. Jesus gives some community instructions here, it is a great passage if you are ever involved in churches or small groups and things. This is how things should be done according to the words of Christ.
K. The Five Discourses—The Olivet Discourse [Mat 24-25] [31:37-37:03]
The Last Discourse is the Olivet Discourse, which is the message that Jesus gave on the Mount of Olives. Mount of Olives is where the Garden of Gethsemane is, some of you have used the Get Lost in Jerusalem program and up on the Mount of Olives, Jesus will spend a lot of time there. Jesus, by the way, went up from the Mount of Olives in the book of Acts. He ascends to heaven from the Mount of Olives and, apparently, from the Old Testament we know that he is going to come back to the Mount of Olives and the Mount of Olives is going to split open. The Mount of Olives is a really famous place just east of Jerusalem. So in Jerusalem, the temple mount is here, you go down in the Kidron valley, you come up and there is a high mountain here, about 2,700 feet high. This is the Mount of Olives and it is to the east. Once you go over the Mount of Olives you are out into the desert. So on the far side, the eastern side, it is all desert. The Mount of Olives is here and there are all these olive groves, that is why they call it the Mount of Olives. They do a lot with olives over there. I am not a real big olive person myself but they squeeze the olives and make olive oil out of it. Whenever you see oil in the Bible-- I couldn’t believe it, years ago there was this prophecy speaker who came into our church and he was saying about how they found oil in Israel, and he was saying this about some of the oil references with the passages of Asher, in Genesis 49 where Asher dips his foot in oil. He was saying that off the coast of Israel they were going to find all this big oil and he is talking about petroleum oil. No, I am sorry, anybody knows that has read the Old Testament and New Testament whenever it mentions oil, shemen, it is talking about olive oil. They do everything with olive oil, they cook with it, and they anoint their bodies with it. By the way, when you say the Messiah, you guys say “the Messiah,” the Messiah is the anointed one; you anoint with olive oil. So, the anointed one, they anointed their kings, they anointed their priests, and they anointed their prophets. They anointed them with olive oil, they were Messiah, the anointed ones. In the New Testament by the way, that Messiah, that olive oiled one that they’ve anointed comes over as the word Christos. So Christos means in Greek, anointed one, Messiah in Hebrew means anointed one. So it is Jesus, Yahshuah Christos (Christos means “anointed one”) so it means Jesus, the anointed one. So, anyway, it is olive oil. So what you have is the Mount of Olives then where a lot of these trees are grown east of Jerusalem there on the other side, across the Kidron Valley. This is the Olivet discourse in Matthew 24 and 25, this is what talks a lot about the future.
So the Olivet Discourse is absolutely critical for how one views the future and he talks about the judgement day coming with the parable with the sheep and the goats. You know, “so as much has you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me.” He talks about the 10 bridesmaids, 5 were wise and 5 were foolish. While the foolish ones are off running to get their oil for their lamps the master comes and 5 are accepted in and the other 5 are rejected. So you have the parable of the talents. One person is given ten talents and he multiples those talents. The guy is given one talent, he buries it in the ground and the master is really upset with him and throws him out. You get these various teachings of Jesus on the Olivet Discourse about the future or the coming kingdom.
The point of this slide then is that Matthew, the whole book of Matthew is built around these five discourses. These five discourses portray Jesus as the new Moses, the new Pentateuch so to speak, and this is how the book of Matthew is actually structured, these are big things there.
Now, it is interesting that in each of these discourses, when it stops, it ends up with this phrase: “when Jesus had finished….” It goes on, when Jesus had finished this and when Jesus had finished that. It is very similar to the book of Genesis. You remember in Genesis, some of you had Old Testament with me, the Toledoth statements [“this is the account of ____”] in the book of Genesis; this is the account of Adam’s line, this is the account of Noah’s line, this is the account of Shem’s line, and ten of them. “This is the account of “ that break up the book of Genesis, this is the account of this person, that person and there are ten of these that break up the book of Genesis toledoths. Here you get these statements when Jesus finished the end of this part and he moves on to the next, and then when Jesus finished and then he ends that. So you see, in the end of chapter 7, at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, there is a concluding toledoth - a finish in chapter 11:1 verse one, this is the sending of the twelve, and so 11:1 that story ends. In chapter thirteen verse 53, at the end of the parables of the kingdom, again when Jesus had finished and then he goes on. So it is an interesting closing statement that Matthew uses to close off his discourse sections there “when Jesus had finished” and it goes on – all of them basically end that way.
M. Methodical – Matthew and Luke [37:03-41:36]
here is another comparison, Matthew gathers what Luke scatters. Now I want to
just take an example from the Sermon on the Mount, I don’t want to make a big
deal out of this, it is just interesting. So I wanted to split these up here
and just basically show you what happens here. So you have the Sermon on the
Mount in Matthew, it is all in chapters 5 to 7. So you have “you are the salt
of the world” – the salt is bad so you throw it out. The salt is found in Luke
14:34, but it is found in Matthew chapter 5. You have your candle, “let your
light shine before men,” don’t hide your candle under a bushel, you know that
you don’t put a candle under a bushel you put it on a lamp stand so it can
shine. The candle under a bushel thing happens in Luke chapter 8. So you see
that in Luke--has the salt in chapter 14 and the candle in chapter 8 separated
by six chapters there, whereas in Matthew they are right back to back – the
salt and the candle are right back to each other. “The light to the body is in
the eye,” in Luke that is in chapter 11 in Matthew it is in the same Sermon on
the Mount chapter 6. But notice again Luke chapter 14, chapter 8, and chapter
11. Totally different chapters even! These things are scattered; “Ask and ye
shall receive, seek and ye shall find” Matthew chapter 7, again it is part of
the Sermon on the Mount. In the book of Luke that is in chapter 11 verse 9,
again separated from any kind of context in that one discourse and it is
scattered about – so you can see these saying are scattered in Luke.
One thing I should say at this point and it should be clear, did Jesus ever preach the same sermon more than one time? When I was younger, I was taught at the Bible college in Bristol, Tennessee and when I was down there I was a circuit riding preacher and so every Sunday I would preach at a different church. I had like five churches and then I would preach. By the way, would I preach the same sermon at different churches? So I would go from one church to the next church and preach it five times. So it was really kind of nice, you write up the sermon once and you could preach it five times. My wife who traveled with me said that the first time was absolutely terrible. I love my wife; she’s honest with me. So I take that cum grainis salis [with a grain of salt] as they say. My wife said that my first time is bad, means that I am not the best preacher in the world that is for sure. So I preached the first sermon, she said it needed work, the second time it was much better. The third time, she said “the third time you preached you were on a roll, it was your best and you were really good.” The fourth time and the fifth time, she said the time you hit the fifth time, she said, “I could tell you were really bored with your own sermon.” What I am saying is, now Jesus would not get bored with his own sermon but is it very likely that when Jesus, as he moved from place to place, said the same things more than once and said it in different contexts. So you have to be careful when you are quoting the salt and this and that and the light under a bushel and things; Jesus may have said that in many different contexts. You have to be careful. Luke may be quoting it from one context and Matthew from another, so you just have to chill out on some of those details and not get so obsessive compulsive about how everything has to be through the same lens. No, it does not have to be with everything in the same lens, the gospel comes with different lenses. The point here is that Matthew gathers up what Luke scatters; Luke scatters things, Matthew is methodical – he gathers things up.
What does that say about the narrative and chronology, is it possible that the writer is not writing exactly chronologically according to time? Does a writer always have to develop the story according to time? No, time is just one factor. It may be that the writer is developing a theme. May be he has a theme going--so the theme takes priority over the chronology. So if you have ever been around people who tell stories, sometimes the chronology gets out of order because the point he is trying to make is something else. So the point will be to make the point not necessarily to establish the chronology. So you have to ask: what is the function and the purpose of the story?
N. Matthew and James [41:36-45:38]
Now this is interesting, I read an article, I think it was by Stanley Porter, it was about James comparing James and Matthew. Now, the book of James is in the Bible there in the New Testament. The book of James by the way is not written off by some people. Remember James and John, the sons of Zebedee, the fisherman Jesus called James and John? Peter, James, and John often went with Jesus when it was special and alone, with the transfiguration or to the healing the dead girl. So basically they invited Peter, James, and John. James the brother of John died early in the church, probably around 44 AD, so James, the brother of John, is one of the first martyrs. So James is dead. Dead before Matthew gets written, before John gets written, really before any of this stuff happens. He is an early martyr, really James is the one of the first martyrs.
This is another James, it turns out that he is probably the brother of Jesus. In Matthew, and in other places, it mentions that James and your brothers are here – you know James and Joseph are here to come and get you. James thought Jesus was crazy for a while but apparently James accepted Jesus and so James is going to write as the brother of Jesus. It is very interesting, James would have heard things as Jesus’ brother. It is very interesting and very similar to the book of Matthew and there is this overlap between the book of James and the book of Matthew. You would think that they are both (by the way, James is probably written in a Jewish context, so they may share a common audience. James says, “blessed is the man who preservers under trial. Well, that is interesting, because Matthew says, “blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness sake.” So you can see that they are not exactly word for word, but there are similarities there. Here is another one, and this one gets a little closer, James says “if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in the mirror.” So this contrast is between the hearer of the word and the doer. Matthew chapter 7, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them” contrasting between hearing the word and doing “…will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” The wise man built his house upon the rock, the foolish man built his house upon the sand. What is the difference between the wise man and the foolish man? The foolish man hears the words of Jesus but then does not act on them and so you get the same contrast between the words and the works between Matthew and James.
Here is one that is probably the most stunning of them; James 5:12, “But above all, my brethren, do not swear either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath but let your yes be yes and your no no, so that you may not fall under judgment.” Listen to what Matthew says, “But I say to you [this is Jesus talking] make no oaths at all but let your statement be yes, yes or your no’s, no.” So you get this yes, yes and these no, no’s, don’t swear, don’t take an oath, cementing the paralleled between James and Matthew. So it is just interesting these parallels between James and Mark, and Matthew collapsing, and miracles of Mark expanding the words of what Jesus said. Also Luke gathers what Luke scatters and here with James, paralleling many of the sayings of Jesus.
O. Matthew’s Story: Apostling [“A”--Discipleship] [45:38- 48:09]
Now I want to switch here and this is a big switch here to our second topic. So Matthew is methodical, that is our first letter “M.” Now I want to switch to one of his major themes and that is apostling, and that is his major theme about discipleship. First of all, what is an apostle? An apostle is a sent one – one that is commissioned. So the word apostle means to send, apostolos, a sent one. One sent with a commission or message. Usually a king or somebody would send out a delegate or an ambassador that represents his wishes. So the person would be a sent one, sent out to declare the king’s message.
So the discipleship is a theme we want to look at. As we do we will ask questions like this: how does one begin to be a disciple of Jesus? What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? Peter as we said before is going to be highlighted in the book of Matthew. Why will Peter play such a prominent role? Peter will be portrayed, I think, because Peter is the consummate disciple. Matthew wants to develop this theme of discipleship and what it means to be a disciple. I think Peter will be used as an example to model that discipleship.
There are so many unique stories about Peter in Matthew and I think the reason is because Peter is a kind of consummate disciple. For example, the walking on water in Matthew chapter 14 verses 28 and following. Peter in Mark, we just looked at that before, in Mark the story is told that Jesus is walking on the water. Jesus gets into the boat and rebukes his disciples a little bit. Jesus walks and gets into the boat. In the book of Matthew, Peter actually gets out of the boat and walks to Jesus. Peter--again, I think it wanted to show a disciple of Jesus putting it all on the line, taking steps to get out of the boat, and Peter falls into the water. Jesus pulls him out and rebukes him for little faith. Matthew is the only one who tells the story of Peter falling in the water, and so I think that is significant .
P. Peter as the Rock of the Church [48:09-50:58]
Here is another one; Peter, rock, Satan. You guys remember Matthew chapter 16, “you are Peter, Peter who do people say that I am?” Peter says, “Well, you are the Christ the son of the living God.” Jesus says, “you are Peter, Cephas,” it means “rock.” You are Peter, petra, rock, “you are Peter on this rock I will build my church.” There is a big debate between Protestants and Catholics on this verse in on Matthew 16, “You are Peter, upon this rock I will build my church.” The Roman Catholic church uses it to put Peter up on a pedestal and basically have him be the Pope and the Papacy coming out of that – “You are Peter, upon this rock I will build my church” taking the Papacy from that. The Protestants said, “No, Peter is not the rock on which Jesus would build his church but the confession was.” It is Peter’s confession; “you are Christ son of the living God.” The confession was the rock upon which Jesus would build his church.
Actually I don’t like either of those approaches. I think actually Peter was the rock and I would go back to Matthew’s intent and I think it is here that Peter is the consummate disciple. Peter is the consummate disciple, and so “Peter is the rock on which I build my church.” But he is not saying Peter himself, but he is saying Peter as a disciple. In other words, the disciples are what “I will build my church on,” and we are Christ’s disciples. So I would take it as being a model representing the disciples and on to the discipleship of the church and that is what the church would be built on. Peter is mentioned in this special thing, “Thou art Peter, upon this rock I will build my church.”
By the way, in that same passage too, if people try to put Peter up to high you have to be careful because Jesus, after that starts leveling with his disciples and starts saying, “hey, you guys, I am going to die, I am going to be crucified” and things like that. So it starts to get more serious there and Peter then takes Jesus aside and rebukes him, and says, “That is not going to happen to you, you know, that is not going to happen to you. You are the Messiah…etc.” He goes off on Jesus and so Jesus says, “Get thee behind me Satan.” You know, “you are concerned with things of men and not the things of God.” So Jesus rebukes Peter and says, “get thee behind me Satan.” So what, is Peter going to be the great Satan too? That is what I am saying, Peter is the consummate disciple, he is a representative disciple and he is just showing that Peter makes some really good comments and Peter makes some really bad comments. So he is like a disciple, a follower of Christ, kind of like a representative.
Q. Peter—The Temple Tax and Denying Jesus [50:58- 51:39]
The temple tax, this is another one that is kind of unique in Matthew, or in Matthew it is described, “Does your master pay the temple tax?” So Peter goes to Jesus and says, “Jesus, do you pay the temple tax?” Jesus tells Peter to go get a hook or whatever, go down and catch a fish there, and in this fish he is just going to pull out this coin. Now this coin was half a denarius, or a shekel or whatever; and basically half the coin will pay for Jesus and half will pay for Peter. So that coin pays for half Peter and half for Jesus, and that story is told in the book of Matthew. So Matthew is going to portray Peter as this kind of representative disciple and is going to feature him.
R. Denying Christ [51:39- 56:33]
Peter’s denial at the end of the book, a tremendously tragic statement at the end of the book, and Matthew chapter 26 (let me see if I can pull this up, Matthew chapter 26:69 and following). It is really tragic, Peter did so many great things. Basically, Peter says, “Wherever you go Jesus, I am going to go. No, you are not going to die and I will protect you.” Peter you remember in the garden of Gethsemane, Peter whips out this sword and cuts off the high priest’s servant’s ear. John tells us (apparently he knew the guy), John tells us that his name is Malchus. So Peter cuts off Malchus’ ear who is coming out to arrest Jesus. Then Jesus tells Peter, “Peter put up your sword…those who live by the sword, die by the sword…don’t mess with the sword Peter it is my time to die.” Basically, Peter puts up the sword and the people are going to know that Jesus is not going to resist these things.
So apparently it is going down and in chapter 26:69 and following it says, “Now Peter was sitting out in the court yard, there was a servant girl who came to him, and said, “you were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. But he denied it before them all. “‘I don’t know what you are talking about’ he said, and then he went to the gateway and there was another girl saw him and said to the people there, ‘this fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.’” And he denied it again, ‘I don’t know the man,’ and a little while those who were standing near said, ‘Surely you were one of them; your accent gives them away.’” It is like being from, I just talked to a girl who is from Long Island, when they say Long Gisland, you know that they are from Long Island. If they say “Cah” “Let’s go get our cah and go down.” You know they are from Boston, and if they say, “y’all” and especially in New England here we have a problem when somebody comes and says “Y’all.” We know they are from down south. If they are from down south, you know what happens, they say that in New England, the Boston area here, and they say “Y’all” their I Q just went down 20 points as far as how people look at them. But if they say, “ Aye mate!” and they talk with a British accent, their IQ just went up 20 points, and so I always kind of laugh at New England because it is so funny. If you say “y’all” your IQ goes down and if you say “Aye mate” and you talk British, your IQ goes up. It is just kind of ironic. However, they said, “Peter, we know where you are from, you are from Galilee, because we can hear your accent and we would recognize that anywhere.” Peter says, “No,” and denies the Lord three times.
What does that mean to be a disciple of Jesus. A disciple of Jesus denying Christ three times? The question to ask yourself is, “Is that Peter, or is that me?” There are points in which I look at my life and say, “I am not so confident that I wouldn’t deny Christ.” And so you ask yourself, “What would cause me to deny Christ?” These are big questions, and so I think all must face the fact of denying Christ. Does anybody remember that girl in Columbine in Colorado. Those guys were going through and just killing the students. They were just point blank, and a guy basically pulls a gun on this girl in Columbine (this is a true story), and says, “Are you a Christian? Are you a Christian?” She says, “Yes, I am a Christian,” and he pulls the trigger and blows her head off. Would you deny Christ if you have a gun pointing to your head, do you deny Christ? Many of us would deny Christ with smaller things, How many times do we keep our mouths shut and we do not say that we are Christian followers because we don’t want to get into an argument with someone? We deny Christ in some very subtle and some very nuance ways – we deny our commitment to Christ because we don’t want to be seen as an Evangelical, or worse, a Fundamentalist. We do not want to be seen as kind of a radical person; we want to be seen as a middle of the road person, who fits in, who is very nuanced, who is very thoughtful. Therefore we deny Christ because we want to portray ourselves as being intelligent or something. In our culture, religion-- basically the secular culture has silenced religion. Religion has become something that is very personal and private and so it is very wrong in our culture to say anything religious because that is something very personal and private. So it is easier to talk about your sex life in public in America then it is to talk about your religion. I think you need to think about that, I wonder if something is a bit wrong there. Anyway, Peter denies the Lord three times and it is recorded in the book of Matthew. So Peter is a special disciple in the book of Matthew, he is a representative disciple – the consummate disciple.
S. Call and Vocation [56:33-59:16]
How do you get started being a disciple of Christ? There is a call or a vocation, a calling to a vocation. So what is interesting here is that in the case of the rabbis, often the students would go to the rabbi and say, “You know I’ve got a 1500 on my SAT, you should accept me as your student.” So the student would go to the rabbi and try to sell himself to the rabbi, and the rabbi would approve this student and reject that student. That is not how Jesus did it. Jesus did not take applications of the students, Jesus went out to these people while they were in their midst of their lives doing things. What were Peter and Andrew doing? They were doing their fishing nets. Jesus came up to them and says, “you guys are casting nets and doing whatever you are doing, come and follow me.” There was a calling and then there was a leaving. So he called them and they left their nets. He came up to James and John the sons of Zebedee, they also were fisherman, and he came up to them in the process of cleaning or doing something with their, and he calls them. So James and John leave there father Zebedee and follow Christ. So there is this calling and there is this leaving. Jesus calls them in the midst of things.
Did Jesus call the best and the brightest? Jesus called these fishermen in the midst of their jobs, not trained as Rabbis or thinkers. Why did he call these people? God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the things that are wise as Paul tells us in Corinthians. So Jesus’ calling is very important, he calls ordinary people in the midst of life casting nets. These guys are not super stars. Jesus—actually, so many times has to rebuke them and say you guys still don’t get it. You know he starts talking about the leaven and the Pharisees and they say, “Oh no! We forgot to bring food.” So they go off and say, “You know, we did this thing, we know it was really stupid. We forgot the food and Jesus is getting on our case. He is doing it in a round-about way.” He is really talking about the Pharisees. Jesus says, “You don’t understand, I just fed 5,000 people, how many baskets did you pick up? I just fed 4,000 people and how many baskets did you pick up? And you’re worried about not having about not having enough food, I am talking about the leaven and the Pharisees.” He rebukes his disciples for not understanding. So sometimes his disciples just don’t get it and that is because they are not really trained that well in terms of those types of things.
T. The Qualities of a True Disciple – COURT [59:16- 61:13]
So our next point here: what are the key qualities of a disciple of Christ? I want to get into these key qualities of the disciples of Christ and what I want to do is this goofy acrostic thing again so I can remember it but just that it may help you as well. So I want to talk about basically five things here that typify a disciple. The first will be the issue of cost [C]: the cost of discipleship. As soon as I say that you can kind of think of cost of discipleship, and you think, I thought I heard a book like that called The Cost of Discipleship by a guy named Dietrich Bonheoffer. We might want to talk about that a little bit when we cover the cost. The cost of discipleship; what’s it going to cost me?
Obedience [O] is one of the key qualities of discipleship, Matthew will develop that. Understanding [U] is that the disciple understands his master. If he is going to be a disciple of someone he has to understand what his teaching is. Righteousness [R] is one of the key aspects that Matthew will develop in a unique way will be the notion of righteousness. The disciples have to be righteous, and he will tell us what he means by that righteousness. Last of all there are true [T] and false disciples and so the book of Matthew will warn us about what does it mean to be a false disciple and if that is a real possibility. Matthew will bring up this issue of false disciples and this will be penetrating. Again you can see that Matthew is addressing Jewish people that may have come into Christianity listening to Jesus’ teaching and they end up being false disciples, falling away. This is “COURT”, the “COURT” is the acrostic there, C-O-U-R-T, cost, obedience, understanding, righteousness, and true and false disciples.
U. Obedience – Joseph [61:13-65:39]
So let’s look at obedience first. In Matthew 1:28 it is interesting to me, how does Matthew start his book? In Matthew 1, who is the featured person? It is not Mary; you think that Mary should be the one who is featured there. It is not Mary that is featured there, it actually turns out to be Joseph. Chapter 1:18, “Now the birth of Jesus came about, his mother Mary was pledged to be with Joseph. But before they had come together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man, (remember how we said righteous as a disciple, kind of interesting that Joseph is portrayed as a righteous man) did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” So, Joseph has a problem: Mary’s pregnant and he knows it is not him. He does not want to hurt her so he wants to divorce her quietly. He is thinking about these things; he has a problem, this wife that he loves, he thought this pure beautiful Mary who was a wonderful person, she is pregnant now. He knows that it is not him, he has a big problem. “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David’” (you see the connection there). He’s addressed as Joseph son of David. What is going to be some of the major points in the book of Matthew? It is going to be Jesus as king; Jesus Christ is the son of David. So Joseph, son of David, remember the genealogy in Matthew chapter 1, “Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife because what is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit…”, it goes on and things, “…all this took place to fulfill what was said by the prophet, ‘Behold, a virgin will be with child, and will give birth to a son and you will call him Emmanuel.’” It says, “When Joseph woke up he did…(what, he is a disciple)… when Joseph woke up…” Joseph is going to be obedient to the angel or disobedient, and the angel told him, Joseph it is okay it is from the Holy Spirit; “Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary home as his wife but she had no union with him until they had a son.” He named him Jesus, what does Jesus mean? Jehovah saves, YAHWEH saves, the Lord saves, “because he is going to save his people from there sin.” So Joseph is portrayed in chapter 1 as one who hears the message of the angel and does what the angel says.
In Matthew chapter 28 how does the book end? The book ends, the book of Matthew the last chapter, a very famous verse, the great commission. Here is how the book ends; “…the 11 disciples went to Galilee (this is chapter 28:16) to the mountain to where Jesus told them to go and when they saw him they worshipped him but some doubted. And then Jesus came to them and said all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me therefore go and make disciples.” The notion of discipleship, “go and make disciples [as I had made disciples of you, you go and make disciples of them]. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations [not just Judaism, again it is extensive] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them [notice the highlight of teaching, Jesus is a teacher in the book of Matthew] to obey everything that I have commanded you and surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” The Great Commission, that is how the book ends. So Matthew features Joseph as the disciple in the beginning and the discipleship of people going out and spreading the words and commands of Jesus, and this discipleship is to the end. The book begins and ends that way, so the focus is not on Mary it is on Joseph because, I think, of his discipleship. He is instructed and he is obedient.
V. Obedience of the Magi (Mat. 2) [65:39- 68:00]
The magi, another thing, why is it that Matthew alone mentions these magi, these magicians coming from the east, these astrologers “we have seen a star in the east and we have come to worship him”? Why is Matthew the only one who mentions these magi? Again you have several things converging here. I think the magi are Gentiles and I think that Matthew wanted to show the gospel breaking out to the Gentiles beyond Judiasm. He’s writing to a Jewish community and he wants to show the extensiveness and so he breaks out to the magi that is part of it and as the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant.
You know, Dr. Mathewson, as he was teaching this part of Matthew with the first verse, it is very interesting. First verse of the book of Matthew, “The record and the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David.” Jesus Christ is the son of David, the king of Israel but then who also, “the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Why is Abraham brought up? Most likely because there were three promises given to Abraham in the Abrahamic covenant. Do you remember back in Genesis 12 and following, Abraham was promised the three things as the father of the Jewish nation, “Our father Abraham,” as is Dr. Wilson’s most famous book. Three things: he was promised the land; he was promised the seed, that his seed would multiply as the stars in the heaven and the sand on the sea shore, his seed Isaac and through the twelve tribes of Jacob and his seed would multiply; third thing, and this is what’s really important for the book of Matthew and I think this is what Matthew is highlighting, that Jesus Christ is the son of Abraham and through Jesus Christ it will go out to all the nations. Through Abraham all the nations of the earth would be blessed. The covenant to Abraham is: the land, the seed and the blessing to all nations. It is through Jesus then that this Abrahamic covenant then is expanded out. So we are really working off of all these Old Testament themes but the Abrahamic covenant is finding it’s fulfillment in Jesus Christ who will actually implement it and blow it out.
W. The Massacre of the Infants at Bethlehem [68:00-71:48]
So the magi are part of that and they come as those who are obedient. The angel appears to the magi and says, “Don’t go back to Herod, Herod seeks to kill the kid, go back another way.” And the magi are obedient to the word of God. So here again you get this same idea of obedience with the magi as you got with Joseph chapter 1 and here in chapter 2. With Joseph, Herod is seeking to kill the child, and with the magi he is going to kill the infants in Bethlehem-- be careful too. When I was younger, I thought Bethlehem was this huge town and Herod goes in and kills all the babies under two and you think of all these hundreds of babies dying, and I don’t want to minimize it at all, what Herod did was really bad. What I am saying is that Bethlehem is so small that it can fit on Gordon College campus. The killing of the infants of Bethlehem was probably under twelve kids. In other words, you have a couple hundred people there how many infants are you going to have under two, most people think that ten or twelve kids got killed. It is not that he killed thousands of people and so to be honest, historically it is not even mentioned because it was such a minor thing. Now, if it is your child twelve kids is still twelve kids, but I think you need to put this into perspective here. Bethlehem is a small town. A lot of times they used the word “city” in the Old Testament and New and I know in my translation they tried to do it with the word “town.” Because city in America we think of New York City, Boston and Philadelphia, Miami, or LA or something like that. So when we think “city” we think these big urban centers but these were small towns actually, a couple hundred people, three or four hundred if that.
Joseph is told, Herod is going to come after him, leave and go to Egypt. So Joseph takes Mary and the child and they go to Egypt. Then what happens? He comes out of Egypt and goes up to Nazareth, he doesn’t go back to Judea but goes to Nazareth. It is very interesting as he goes out of Egypt who comes out of Egypt? You get all the over tones of this. Jesus now, his birth, is taken out of Egypt and goes to Nazareth. Who comes out of Egypt? Moses comes out of Egypt. Jesus is the new Moses, and so Jesus comes out of Egypt even when Moses comes out of Egypt. So there are a lot of these overtones. Nevertheless, Joseph is obedient to what the angel told him and the point here is obedience.
Herod, it turns out, is even obedient in a certain sense. It says that even after Herod killed the children, it quotes from Jeremiah it says, “so was fulfilled what the prophet of Jeremiah said, “Rachel, weeping for her children and will not be comforted because they were not.” Where is this, Rachel’s tomb is outside of Bethlehem on the Ridge Route that goes right outside a mile from Bethlehem. It is a major route like Route 95 going north and south--actually not like 95, more like Route 1--going north and south along the ridge of the mountains there. So Rachel’s tomb is outside of Bethlehem because that is where she died and so Rachel weeping for her children, she was like a patron saint, and so it quotes the book of Jeremiah and cites that. Herod even in doing his devastation deed, Herod is being obedient to scriptures in one sense not as a disciple but nevertheless as one who fulfills God’s word there.
X. Imitatio—Being Like the Master [71:48-77:33]
The great commission, we talked about the gospel going out to all nations and the Abrahamic blessing going out to all nations beyond Judaism. Now, a couple little things here. I wanted to look over it in Matthew chapter 10:24, and I want to introduce the idea of the disciple being what I call “imitatio.” Imitatio is imitating. The student imitates the teacher. If I learn how to do wood making and I am studying under a master carpenter and the carpenter shows me how to cut a board and how to plane it smooth. I then try to do it myself and I imitate the master. I imitate the master to learn how to plane the board like he does.
I had a son once who loved to play basketball. We were in Indiana and in Indiana there was only one sport and that is basketball, and that is it. I never watched sports much in my life, I would always rather be playing sports. I played sports, I played basketball in Houghton College when I went there my freshman year and not after that because I couldn’t afford it after that. But I played basketball and tennis three seasons there. So when my son was growing up we would go out and shoot hundreds of shots of basketball every night, and we would shoot from various positions. I would have him shoot ten shots from each place and shoot twenty-five foul shots every night. It was fun, it was just a father-son type of thing.
My son got into watching basketball on television and this was in the 90’s the 1990’s. I don’t like watching sports on the television and I still don’t. But we sat down and we watched this guy played basketball, and he play basketball and I would watch this man play basketball and I could not believe what my eyes were seeing, nobody could do that. What he was doing was impossible, it was just “holy cow, how can this guy do this?” and his name was Michael Jordon, and he was one of the most incredible basketball players I had ever seen in my life, that I have ever seen since. So our family developed a ritual where we would sit down and watch Michael Jordon and the Chicago Bulls play and the coach Phil Jackson. We would watch Michael Jordon play basketball and it was incredible.
My son, then, would take Michael Jordan’s stunts. My older son could leap, he could really jump. He was one of the few white men who can jump kind of thing, and he could jump. He would do the acrobatics of Michael Jordan the best he could, and I always down played it and I’d say, “Zach don’t do that, you are not Michael Jordan, you can’t do this stuff so don’t even try.” Yet he watched Michael Jordon; Jordan was his model so there would be this imitation going on, this double reverse layup kind of thing, he would try that.
When he was at Portsmouth Christian Academy in New Hampshire, many of the people came up to my wife and I and said, “We just always love to watch your son play basketball because he does crazy moves and often times he makes it.” He actually got to play in the All-State team up in New Hampshire. I remember that in one of the last games that we had, I had bet him a hundred bucks that he couldn’t dunk it because he is 5’10” or so, 5’11”, and he told me he could dunk it but I couldn’t believe it, he couldn’t jump that high, I thought. He stole the ball and there was a guy in front of him, and what the deal is you should always pass the ball up court to the guy in front. He stole the ball and I could just tell he looked at the rim and said it’s tonight, so he dribbled down on a fast-break and didn’t even pass the ball off and he dunked it that night. That night I learned that you don’t make bets like that – and I became a hundred dollars cheaper. Now you say well that is just a funny story about your son, well the point is he was imitating his teacher who is his teacher? It wasn’t me. It was Michael Jordon, and so he would learn and try to do make the moves that Michael Jordan could do and it inspired him.
So here is what Jesus says, let me just read this to you, Matthew chapter 10:24; Jesus is sending out his twelve disciples, and he says, “It is enough for a student to be like his teacher and the servant to be like his master, if the head of the household is called Beelzebub (when Jesus was condemned, they said that if he cast out demons it must be by Beelzebub). He said that if they said that of me your teacher, how much more then members of the household, in other words, you guys, they call me Beelzebub, and say I’m powered by Beelzebub, and so you are going to get it too. So the student is not above the teacher and so this kind of thing comes up with Jesus. And so he says that it is enough for the student to be like his teacher. That is part of this imitatio; the student is to be like his teacher, if we are going to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to be like our teacher.
Matthew, chapter 10:24 has this notion, now this is an idea of orthodoxy versus orthopraxy. This is where Jesus uses the Pharisees and says of the Pharisees, he says that the Pharisees have their disciples too. The Pharisees and the Rabbis had their disciples.
Y. A Brotherhood of Believers not a Hierarchy [77:33-81:08]
He says that in Matthew chapter 23:10, by the way in Matthew chapter 23:10, Jesus against the Pharisees, you know the passage well. It is: “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites, you clean the outside of the cup but the inside of the cup is filthy.” Jesus is getting off on the Pharisees in Matthew chapter 23, “woe to you scribes and Pharisees.” Here is what it says in chapter 23:8, “But you are not to be called Rabbi for you have only one master and you are all brothers. Do not called Rabbi, you are all brothers and do not let anyone call you father for you have one father who is in heaven. Nor are you to be called teacher.” And that is why I always tell my students that you don’t call me “teacher,” you call me “professor.” Now you can actually can see, I’m sorry, let me explain, it was a sarcastic remark. I don’t that was the point, the point is not to call me “professor,” don’t call me “teacher” because Jesus said don’t call me “teacher,” I don’t think that is the point. Well, let’s go on and see what the point is: “Nor will you be called teacher for you have one teacher, the Christ”, the Christos, the Messiah, the anointed one. “The greatest among you will be your servant” and I think that is the point. Christianity is a very flat religion. We don’t have someone you call father, someone you call rabbi, who you esteem, “Oh yeah, father Rabbi, teach me” and this kind of thing. No, Christianity is very flat, with no big hierarchy.
My son worked for different companies and at one point he had five bosses over him and he had five layers of management over him. The problem is that he was the one programing and doing all the work and these five managers, then some of them didn’t do very much of anything except manage whatever that was, but he had to do all the work. Christianity is not like that; there are not these layers of management, no you are all brothers.
He that is the greatest is the least, Jesus takes his disciples and what does he do – I am the teacher, I am the father, I am the Christ, the anointed one? And what does the Christ, the father, the anointed one do, he gets down and says, “Take off your shoes” and he washes their feet to show them that the greatest must be the servant of all. This is what discipleship is, discipleship is not getting ones status in religion as being the “holy man.” So, in Jesus’ kingdom, the one who is on top is the one who serves and washes the feet and does the dirty work and does the menial stuff. It is not the person who does the big work on top. And I am afraid some times that we have taken a management kind of model and have put it into the church. Now all of a sudden in the church we have all these layers of management and Jesus, “Now you guys are all brothers and sisters of Christ.” What is this layered stuff of power structure? The church isn’t like that, you are all brethren and the greatest among you will be the servant the slave of all. It is a very interesting comment there about the structure of the church.
Z. Orthodoxy versus Orthopraxy: Do as they say, not as they do [81:08-84:56]
So it is Orthodoxy, Orthopraxy let me just--I forgot the other verse there that says this; “Obey [he tells them of the Pharisees] what the Pharisees tell you, but do not do what they do. Obey what the Pharisees teach you, but do not do what they do.” So basically he is saying that the Pharisees are hypocrites because they teach the right thing but they do not do the right thing. He is saying, “you are my disciples you teach and do.” It is not enough to know the words, you have to do it. So it is not just Orthodoxy. And I have been in--how many contexts where they prize themselves in that they hold the pure doctrine, the real doctrine of Christ from Scripture. Orthodoxy is really important and the whole true doctrine based on Scripture about ourselves, about Christ, about our world. Those things are very important. Orthodoxy is very important but it also has to be connected with the true ways of thinking and the true ways of doing.
In other words, Christianity is about the head yes, and by the way, Christianity is not just about the heart. Christianity is about our head and the way we think about things, It also about our heart, but it is also about our hands, what we do, not just what we think not just what we feel but what we do with our hands. Heads, heart and hands are all committed to be disciples, obey what they say but don’t do what they do.
So Christianity is a brotherhood and that is just what they said and so humility--not power--is part of being a disciple of Christ. A disciple of Christ is one who is humble, not into power and all those types of things. I have often told my students there are three bad things: money, sex, and power. People tell you watch out for these three bad things: money, sex and power. Now sex: don’t do sex. It is dirty; if you are caught doing sex - you know all the problems we have had from the president of the United States from John F. Kennedy all the way down. Don’t do sex; it is dirty, you are exposed, sex is bad in those kind of contexts. Money; I often said that I teach at Gordon College, you guys don’t have to worry about your student debts. What is it we owe, 15 trillion dollars in America? Don’t worry about money, you are never going to have any so don’t worry about money. What is the clean one? Money, sex and power; what is the clean one? It is actually power. Power is the subtle one; it is clean. And when a person has power others snuggle up to them. Power is the thing that is sought after, it is the clean sin and so what I am saying is that it is the most subtle and therefore the most deadly. So people say I don’t want to do sex, I don’t want to do money, because it looks bad, power is the name of the game. You will see a lot of people going after power and all I am saying is “be careful.” And Jesus says, “No, my people are servants.” It is the humility thing, it is what we call there on the screen the upside down kingdom. The kingdom of this world has the king and all its delegates and the people under him. In Christ’s kingdom, what the king becomes is the servant of all.
AA. Doing the Will of God: Wise/Foolish people, Jesus’ family [84:56- 88:15]
What separated the wise and foolish? What separated the wise and the foolish man? The wise man built his house upon the rock the foolish man built his house upon the sand – Matthew chapter 7:24. It separated those two, check this out, let me just read this verse for you, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand…” So Christ, again, is emphasizing a disciple must be a doer of the word not just a hearer only, sounds like the book of James.
Here is another one that I think is kind of stunning, and this one is with Jesus’ family. Do you remember in Matthew chapter 12, Jesus is out there and they come up to Jesus and say, “Jesus your family is outside, and they want to see you.” Why don’t you go see them?” He points to his disciples and says, “these are my mother and my brothers.” Now who is Jesus’ mother and brothers? He tells us explicitly here, what does it mean to be a part of Jesus’ family? Now this is not a slam on his mother or his brothers, for James will be writing the book of James, and Jude will be writing the book of Jude, and they are the brothers of Jesus, and Mary, of course was highly favored by God. Does Jesus, even to the end, take care of his mother Marry? Jesus is on the cross in the book of John; where are the disciples? The disciples are running scared. Who is at the foot of Jesus as Jesus is dying? It is the women, the Mary’s. I swear half the women in the New Testament are named Mary, the Mary Magdalene… But he looks down from the cross and sees Mary, his mother, and says, “John,” he says, “Hey, the beloved disciple, you take care of her.” Even in his death, he is concerned for his mother. So Jesus is not demeaning his mother at all but what he is saying is who my mother is. Jesus constitutes a new family, and he is saying what it takes to get into the family of Jesus. Jesus explains here, what the entrance requirements of being a disciple and to join his family are anyone who does the will of my Father is heaven in my brother and sister and mother.” Notice it says, “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,” is that what it says – no. It doesn’t say that, it says “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, sister, and mother.” So you get again the emphasis on orthopraxy here, and not orthodoxy. He who does the will of my Father in heaven… so that is a really important thing and those are some tough things.
AB. Righteousness in Matthew versus Luke [88:15-91:33]
What does Jesus say about righteousness? There is this plan of righteousness here, we know that Joseph was considered a righteous man and so we get this notion of righteousness. How do we prove that Matthew is emphasizing this notion of righteousness? How you can do that is by comparing Matthew with the other gospels. So check this out: Luke chapter 12:31, and here is what it says, “But seek first his kingdom and these things will be added to you as well.” And you say, “that is not how I remember that,” because most of us remember the verse from back over in Matthew chapter 6. Notice where it says in Matthew chapter 6, “But seek his kingdom and his righteousness…” and you see how Matthew has added the word “righteousness,” Luke skips that and says, “but seek his kingdom and these things will be added to you as well.” Matthew says, “but seek his kingdom and his righteousness, and these things will be given to you as well.” Emphasis and inserting the righteousness in there, notice the link between righteousness and the kingdom.
Now here is another verse with the same type of thing, “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and they insult you because of the Son of Man…” and it goes off like that in Luke chapter 6:22. Here is Matthew with the same beatitudes. “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness…” and so you get this statement here, “because of righteousness” as you can see it is added in here. So Matthew is emphasizing the true nature and righteousness of the disciples.
Here is another one, and this is kind of interesting because Luke is talking about people and helping the poor and that kind of thing. He is very conscious about the fatherless, the widow and the poor. Luke says, “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.” Notice here it is simply talking about those who are hungry, it looks like the poor don’t have food and are hungry. Notice what Matthew does with that same verse, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” he takes it in a way and highlights the notion of righteousness then, “for they will be filled,” for “they will be satisfied.” So as you can see Matthew emphasizes this nature of righteousness.
AC. Better Righteousness: from head to heart [91:33-96:55]
So how do you account for these differences? Matthew is trying to create a theme, Jesus Christ’s righteousness. Joseph his father was a “righteous man,” Jesus disciples need “to hunger and thirst after his righteousness.” Now Jesus goes after a deeper righteousness however; and Jesus moves it from the head to the heart. So you get these kinds of statements coming from Jesus, “You have heard it said, don’t commit adultery….”, now everyone says, “I never committed adultery, I have never been divorced.” “You have heard it said don’t commit adultery, but I say unto you whoever looks on a women has committed adultery already in his heart.” So adultery, now, from the Ten Commandments you have, “Thou shall not steal, thou shall not covet, thou shall not lie, thou shall not do any murder, thou shall not commit adultery.” It is one of the Ten Commandments, but Jesus says that if any man who looks at a women and lusts after her has already committed adultery in his heart. What that means then is that everybody in this room is an adulterer, having looked at a woman with lust in his heart, all the guys at least? So this is the big thing. So Jesus is taking the law and driving it into the heart.
he says down below that, “you have heard it said of old time, do not commit
murder. But I tell you anybody who is angry at his brother without a cause has
already committed murder in his heart.” Anger is at the root of so much
murder, Jesus says that we have to get down to it, into the heart is what it
is. It is not necessarily what you do, it is what you think; and it is who you
are. So anger is the seed to murder. By the why is Jesus saying that all anger
is wrong? No. God in the Old Testament gets angry; Jesus in the New Testament
gets angry; Jesus in the book of Revelations gets angry. I think it is in
Paul, “Be angry and sin not.” Anger can lead toward murder, so he says if you
committed anger in your heart.
Once upon a time, for over a decade I taught in a maximum security prison in Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. I used to teach down at Grace College and then I would get in my car at night and run up to the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City and teach for a few hours there at night half asleep and then I would come back home. But people always said, “how do you relate to these guys in the prison?” And the answer is, the reason why I can relate to guys in the prison because, you say these guys are all in the big house, maximum security, forty foot walls, ten foot thick. I think that it opened in 1865, so it is really old and decrepit and these huge walls. How could I relate to them? Well, Jesus said that if you have been angry at your brother, in your heart you have committed murder already. So I have friends in this prison who are murders, and you say how can you relate to these murderers? Because I am that. I have never really killed anyone else but on the inside I have committed crime as well. For adultery, some of these men are in there for rape, I have looked at a woman lustfully but when I go into the prison are those guys so much different than I am? No, they are my brothers; because I understand that the roots of what they did is in me too. Jesus is the only reason why I am on the outside.
So what I am saying is, Jesus is driving the notion of sin into the heart so that everyone is guilty so that Jesus is going to save them. What is the main mission of Jesus, what does his name mean, “Jehovah saves.” Saves from what? His name is Jesus because “he will save his people from their sins.” That is what Jesus does, he has come to die for the sins of the people. That is the main point of Christ. Sometimes in modern culture it seems now that we are shifting the message of the gospel over to the message of the gospel is helping the poor. The social gospel the social justice issues--so we make a big deal about social justice issues and I am wondering if we are missing the point, that Jesus came to save people from their sins. Now we are telling people that the gospel is a social justice issue and I am telling people, “No, Jesus came to save the people from their sins.” We need to understand that first and that needs to be a major focus for us. But there has been a subtle shift in our culture in the last 20, 30, 40, 50 years. Now, even what I said some people would find very offensive because I am going back to Jesus’ original calling, that he shall save his people from their sins. That means that you have to understand that people are sinners, and we are saying, “No, no, we don’t want to think like that.” But that is God’s way--his name Jesus.
AD. A Core Righteousness [96:55-99:42]
In Matthew chapter 12:36 Jesus says that we are going to be accountable on judgment day for every word that comes out of our mouth. That is some pretty strong language. So Jesus says that he wants a better righteousness out of his disciples; his righteousness has to come from the heart. It is not enough just knowing what is right. It has to be in the heart, down to the point of anger and lust. Now a better righteousness is in terms of the mouth to the hands. Do not do what they do, do what they tell you to do, do what they say with their mouths. You do it, in other words, your hands have to be involved in the work of God, not just do what they say. They don’t do what they say; you guys need to do what the Word says.
Core righteousness, what is the core righteousness that Matthew develops? Love God, Matthew chapter 22. What are the two great commandments? They asked Jesus what summarizes the Old Testament teaching, what is the major teaching here? Jesus says, “Well love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” That core righteousness is not that I am better than anybody else, it is the love of God and the love of neighbors. Is love hard, is it easier to hate or is it easier to love? It is easier to hate, it is hard to love. One of the most difficult things in life you will do is loving another person. Loving is hard and Jesus says those loving God and loving others those two things are the major things. Now he is going to talk about the disciples and their understanding--I think actually, we will pick that up next time and we will go through the disciples on their understanding.
Transcribed by Stephanie Bouillon
Edited by Ben Bowden
Rough edited by Ted Hildebrandt