The Book of Matthew was aimed at Greek-speaking people, mainly Jews, but also for Gentiles – all living in a cosmopolitan city and in a world increasingly hostile to ‘The Way’ (Christianity). To present ‘Jesus as King’, Matthew wanted to show that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, but His Kingdom and salvation is for the whole world. It is also a ‘teaching gospel’ with the purpose to instruct people about Jesus.
Purpose of ‘The Book of Matthew’
- To teach God’s Word: inspirational and life oriented, not a technical study
- To focus on Christ the King: to know Jesus and His Messianic Kingdom
- Key of Matthew: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matt 3:2; Matt 4:17)
Structure, Theme and Characteristics
Matthew has 5 discourses, structuring his book around the 5 teachings of Jesus. There is a story section before each of the teachings, an introduction in Matt 1-2 and a climax in Matt 26-28. The central theme is Jesus the Messiah and the Kingdom of the Heavens:
- It’s Jewishness: there is a lot of Jewish terminology; many references to Old Testament fulfillment of prophecy; discussions around the Jewish laws and leaders etc.
- The Church: Matthew speaks a lot about the Church. His book was used as a ‘catechism’ in the Early Church (for evangelism, for new believers, and Church teachings)
- Miracles, Missions and ‘The End-Times’: Matthew emphasizes the power of God’s Kingdom, it’s mission to all nations and understanding the end of the world