About this book
The Sermon on the Mount (5.1—7.28), the Lord's Prayer (6.9–13), and the Golden Rule (7.12: “Treat others as you want them to treat you”) are all in this book. It is perhaps the best known and the most quoted of all the books that have ever been written about Jesus. That is one reason why Matthew was placed first among the four books about Jesus called Gospels.
One of the most important ideas found here is that God expects his people to obey him, and this is what is meant by the Greek word that appears in many translations as righteousness. It is used seven times by Matthew, but only once by Luke, and not at all by Mark. So it is an important clue to much of what Matthew wants his readers to understand about the teaching of Jesus.
Jesus first uses this word at his own baptism, when he tells John the Baptist, “We must do all that God wants us to do” (3.15). Then, during his Sermon on the Mount, he speaks five more times of what God's people must do to obey him (5.6,10,20; 6.1,33). And finally, he reminds the chief priests and leaders of the people, “John the Baptist showed you how to do right” (21.32).
Matthew wanted to provide for the people of his time a record of Jesus' message and ministry. It is clear that the Old Testament Scriptures were very important to these people. And Matthew never fails to show when these texts point to the coming of Jesus as the Messiah sent from God. Matthew wrote this book to make sure Christians knew that their faith in Jesus as the Messiah was well anchored in the Old Testament Scriptures, and to help them grow in faith.
Matthew ends his story with the words of Jesus to his followers, which tell what they are to do after he leaves them:
I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.
A quick look at this book
1. The ancestors and birth of Jesus (1.1—2.23)
2. The message of John the Baptist (3.1–12)
3. The baptism and temptation of Jesus (3.13—4.11)
4. Jesus in Galilee (4.12—18.35)
5. Jesus goes from Galilee to Jerusalem (19.1—20.34)
6. Jesus' last week: his trial and death (21.1—27.66)
7. Jesus is alive (28.1–20)