Course Notes for

NT 760

Gospel of Matthew




Robert C. Newman


Biblical Theological Seminary

Hatfield, Pennsylvania



                                                      OUTLINE OF MATTHEW



The Birth of Jesus (chs 1-2)

Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah (1:1-17)

Birth of Jesus (1:18-25)

Visit of the Wise Men (2:1-12)

Flight to Egypt (2:13-15)

Slaying of the Infants (2:16-18)

Return from Egypt (2:19-23)


Preparation for Jesus' Ministry (3:1-4:11)

Preaching of John the Baptist (3:1-12)

Baptism of Jesus (3:13-17)

Temptation of Jesus (4:1-11)


Jesus' Ministry Begins (4:12-25)

Beginning of Galilean Ministry (4:12-17)

Calling of the Four Fishermen (4:18-22)

Ministering to a Great Multitude (4:23-25)


Sermon on the Mount (chs 5-7)

Introduction (5:1-2)

Blessings (5:3-12)

Salt and Light (5:13-16)

Keeping the Law (5:18-20)

Anger (5:21-26)

Adultery (5:27-30)

Divorce (5:31-32)

Oaths (5:33-37)

Retaliation (5:38-42)

Love for Enemies (5:43-48)

Almsgiving (6:1-4)

Prayer (6:5-14)

Fasting (6:16-18)

Treasure in Heaven (6:19-21)

The Light of the Body (6:22-23)

God and Mammon (6:24)

Care and Anxiety (6:25-34)

Judging Others (7:1-6)

Ask, Seek, Knock (7:7-12)

The Narrow Gate (7:13-14)

Tree Known by its Fruit (7:15-20)

I Never Knew You (7:21-23)

The Two Foundations (7:24-29)


Many Miracles (ch 8)

Cleansing a Leper (8:1-4)

Healing a Centurion's Servant (8:5-13)

Healing Many (8:14-17)

Would-Be Followers (8:18-22)

Calming a Storm (8:23-27)

Healing the Gadarene Demoniacs (8:28-34)


Controversy Develops (ch 9)

Healing a Paralytic (9:1-8)

Matthew Called (9:9-13)

Question about Fasting (9:14-17)

Ruler's Daughter & Woman Who Touched Jesus' Garment (9:18-26)

Healing Two Blind Men (9:27-31)

Healing a Mute Demoniac (9:32-34)

Jesus' Compassion (9:35-38)


Mission of the Twelve (10:1-11:1)

Introduction (10:1-4)

Twelve Commissioned (10:5-15)

Coming Persecutions (10:16-25)

Whom to Fear (10:26-31)

Confessing Christ before Men (10:32-33)

Not Peace but a Sword (10:34-39)

Rewards (10:40-11:1)


Who is Jesus? (11:2-30)

Messengers from John the Baptist (11:2-19)

Woes to Unrepentant Cities (11:20-24)

Come to Me and Rest (11:25-30)


More Controversy (ch 12)

Plucking Grain on the Sabbath (12:1-8)

Man with Withered Hand (12:9-14)

Chosen Servant (12:15-21)

Jesus and Beelzebul (12:22-32)

Tree and its Fruit (12:33-37)

Demand for a Sign (12:38-42)

Return of the Unclean Spirit (12:43-45)

Mother and Brothers of Jesus (12:46-50)


Parables of the Kingdom (13:1-52)

Parable of the Sower (13:1-9)

Purpose of Parables (13:10-17)

Sower Explained (13:18-23)

Parable of Weeds among Wheat (13:24-30)

Mustard Seed and Leaven (13:31-33)

Jesus Use of Parables (13:34-35)

Wheat and Weeds Explained (13:36-43)

Treasure and Pearl (13:44-46)

Parable of Dragnet (13:47-50)

Treasures New and Old (13:51-52)


Growing Polarization (13:53-16:12)

Rejection at Nazareth (13:53-58)

Death of John the Baptist (14:1-12)

Feeding the Five Thousand (14:13-21)

Walking on Water (14:22-33)

Healing Sick at Gennesaret (14:34-36)

Tradition of the Elders (15:1-20)

Canaanite Woman's Faith (15:21-28)

Healing Many (15:29-31)

Feeding of Four Thousand (15:32-39)

Demand for a Sign (16:1-4)

Leaven of Pharisees & Sadducees (16:5-12)


Preparing the Disciples (16:13-20:34)

Peter's Declaration (16:13-20)

Jesus Foretells His Death & Resurrection (16:21-28)

Jesus Transfigured (17:1-13)

Healing Demonized Boy (17:14-20)

Jesus Again Foretells Death & Resurrection (17:22-23)

Payment of Temple Tax (17:24-27)

Greatest in Kingdom (18:1-5)

Temptations to Sin (18:6-9)

Parable of Lost Sheep (18:10-14)

Brother Who Sins (18:15-20)

Parable of Unforgiving Servant (18:21-35)

Teaching about Divorce (19:1-12)

Little Children Blessed (19:13-15)

Rich Young Man (19:16-30)

Parable of Vineyard Workers (20:1-16)

Jesus Foretells Death & Resurrection Third Time (20:17-19)

Request of James and John (20:20-28)

Healing Two Blind Men (20:29-34)


The Last Week (chs 21-23)

Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (21:1-11)

Temple Cleansed (21:12-17)

Fig Tree Cursed (21:18-22)

Jesus' Authority Questioned (21:23-27)

Parable of Two Sons (21:28-32)

Parable of Tenant Farmers (21:33-46)

Parable of Marriage Feast (22:1-14)

Paying Taxes to Caesar (22:15-22)

Question about Resurrection (22:23-33)

Great Commandment (22:34-40)

Question about David's Son (22:41-45)

Scribes and Pharisees Denounced (23:1-36)

Lament over Jerusalem (23:37-39)


The Olivet Discourse (chs 24-25)

Destruction of Temple Foretold (24:1-2)

Beginning of Woes (24:3-14)

The Great Tribulation (24:15-28)

Coming of the Son of Man (24:29-31)

Lesson of the Fig Tree (24:32-35)

Unknown Day and Hour (24:36-44)

Faithful and Unfaithful Servant (24:45-51)

Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids (25:1-13)

Parable of Talents (25:14-30)

Judgment of the Nations (25:31-46)


The Plot to Kill Jesus (26:1-16)

Prediction and Plot (26:1-5)

Anointing at Bethany (26:6-13)

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus (26:14-16)


The Last Supper (26:17-35)

Passover with the Disciples (26:17-35)

Preparations (26:17-19)

Betrayer Identified (26:20-25)

Institution of Lord's Supper (26:26-30)

Peter's Denial Foretold (26:31-35)


Jesus' Death (26:36-27:66)

Prayer in Gethsemane (26:36-46)

Jesus Arrested (26:47-56)

Jesus Before the Council (26:57-68)

Peter Denies Jesus (26:69-75)

Jesus Brought before Pilate (27:1-2)

Judas' Remorse and Suicide (27:3-10)

Jesus Questioned by Pilate (27:11-14)

Jesus Sentenced to Die (27:15-26)

Soldiers Mock Jesus (27:27-31)

Jesus Crucified (27:32-44)

Jesus Dies (27:45-56)

Jesus Buried (27:57-61)

The Tomb Guarded (27:62-66)


Jesus' Resurrection (ch 28)

The Empty Tomb, the Angel and Jesus (28:1-10)

The Guards Report (28:11-15)

The Disciples Commissioned (28:16-20)


                                                         Bibliography of Matthew



Carson, D. A.  New Testament Commentary Survey.  4th ed.  Grand Rapids:  Baker, 1993.

Danker, Frederick W.  Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study.  St. Louis: Concordia, 1960.

Harrington, Daniel J.  The New Testament  A Bibliography.  Wilm­ington, DE:  Michael Glazier, 1985.

Hort, Erasmus.  The Bible Book:  Resources for Reading the New Testament.  New York:  Crossroad, 1983.

Hurd, John C.  A Bibliography of N.T. Bibliographies. Seabury, 1966.

Metzger, B. M.  Index of Articles on the N.T. and the Early Church Published in Festschriften.  Society of Biblical Literature, 1951.

________.  Index to Periodical Literature on Christ & the Gospels.  Brill, 1962.

Scholer, David M.  A Basic Bibliographic Guide for N.T. Exegesis.  2nd ed.  Eerdmans, 1973.


NT Background:


Evans, Craig A. and Stanley E. Porter, eds.  Dictionary of New Testament Background.  Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity, 2000.

Keener, Craig S.  The Bible Background Commentary:  New Testament.  Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity, 1993.

Strack, Hermann L. and Paul Billerbeck.  Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch.  5 vols. München:  C. H. Beck, 1926-1956.


NT Commentary Sets:


Hendriksen, William and Simon Kistemaker.  New Testament Commentary.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Lenski, R.C.H.  The Interpretation of the New Testament. Minneap­olis: Augsburg.

Bruce, F.F. and Gordon D. Fee, eds. New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans.

Martin, Ralph, NT ed.  Word Biblical Commentary.  Dallas:  Word.

Marshall, I. Howard and W. Ward Gasque, eds.  New International Greek Testament Commentary.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans.


Commentaries on Matthew:


Blomberg, Craig.  Matthew.  New American Commentary.  Nashville, TN:  Broadman, 1992.

Carson, D.A.  "Matthew" in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed.  The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Vol. 8.  Zondervan, 1984.

Davies, W.D. and Dale C. Allison.  A Critical & Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Matthew.  3 vol. Edin­burgh:  T & T Clark, 1988, 1991, 1998.

France, R. T.  The Gospel According to Matthew.  Tyndale New Testament Commentaries.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1985.

France, R. T.  Matthew.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 1989.

Gundry, Robert H.  Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1982.

Hagner, Donald A.  Matthew 1-13; Matthew 14-28.  Word Biblical Commentary.  Dallas, TX:  Word, 1993, 1995.

Harrington, Daniel J.  The Gospel of Matthew.  Sacra Pagina.  Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press, 1991.

Hill, David.  The Gospel of Matthew.  New Century Bible.  London: Oliphants, 1972.

Keener, Craig S.  A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1999.

McNiele, A.H.  The Gospel According to St. Matthew.  London: Macmillan, 1915.

Morris, Leon.  The Gospel According to Matthew.  Pillar NT Com­mentary.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.

Mounce, Robert H.  Matthew.  New International Bible Commentary.  Peabody, MA:  Hendrickson, 1990.

Plummer, Alfred.  An Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Matthew. 2nd ed.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1953 reprint of 1910.

Tasker, R. V. G.  The Gospel According to St. Matthew.  Tyndale New Testament Commentaries.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1961.


Studies in Matthew:


Bornkamm, G., G. Barth, and H. J. Held.  Tradition and Interpretation in Matthew.  2nd rev. ed.  London:  SCM, 1982

Carson, D. A.  When Jesus Confronts the World:  An Exposition of Matthew 8-10.  Grand Rapids:  Baker, 1987.

Davies, W. D.  The Setting of the Sermon on the Mount.  New York:  Cambridge, 1964.

France, R. T.  Matthew:  Evangelist and Teacher.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 1989.

Goulder, M. D.  Midrash and Lection in Matthew.  London:  SPCK, 1974.

Guelich, R. A.  The Sermon on the Mount:  A Foundation for Understanding.  Waco, TX:  Word Books, 1982.

Howard, George.  The Gospel of Matthew According to a Primitive Hebrew Text.  Macon, GA:  Mercer University Press, 1987.

Kingsbury, J. D.  Matthew:  Structure, Christology, Kingdom.  Philadelphia:  fortress, 1975.

Stanton, Graham.  A Gospel for a New People:  Studies in Matthew.  Edinburgh:  T. & T. Clark, 1992.

Stanton, Graham, ed.  The Interpretation of Matthew.  Issues in Religion and Theology.  1983.

Stendahl, Krister.  The School of St. Matthew and Its Use of the Old Testament.  2nd ed.  Philadelphia:  Fortress, 1968.

Zaspel, Fred.  The Status of Mosaic Law in This Messianic Age:  A Theological and Exegetical Analysis of Matthew 5:17-20.  ThM Thesis, Biblical Theological Seminary, 1994.

Introduction to Matthew’s Gospel


A. Authorship and Date.


1. Matthew's Authorship


a. Internal Evidence


Except for the title (and we never have a copy of Matthew with any other person listed in the title), the text is anonymous (i.e., the writer never indicates when he is alluding to himself in an identifiable manner).  We do not know if the title was put on the autograph by the author or not.


Given that Matthew wrote it, is interesting that in  his Apostle list (Matt. 10:2‑4) he calls himself a tax collector, not exactly a popular profession in NT Palestine!  The Mark, Luke and Acts lists omit this detail from their lists.  This suggests the humility of Matthew and a probable reason for all the Gospels being anonymous, to keep the focus on Jesus.


b. External Evidence


   1) Papias (writing c130 AD)


Then Matthew wrote the oracles (τα λόγια) in the Hebrew  dialect (διαλέκτω), but everyone interpreted them as he  was able.

                                                                                                Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord,

                                                                                          cited in Eusebius Church History 3.39.16


The original of Papias' Exposition is not extant, but extracts are cited by several ancient and medieval writers, and the whole was apparently still extant in the middle ages.


What is meant here by "the oracles":  Was this the Gospel?  Liberals who hold to the Two Document Theory (see our later discussion of the Synoptic Problem) often say that "the oracles" were the Q source.


However, Papias later uses "oracle" to refer to Mark, and everyone agrees he is referring to the Gospel there.  Irenaeus gives the same tradition regarding its origin, but explicitly identifies it as the Gospel of Matthew.


What is meant by "Hebrew dialect"?  This could refer to either Hebrew or Aramaic language, as both are sometimes called "Hebrew" in antiquity.  This would imply that the original of Matthew was in Hebrew or Aramaic, and it was translated later.


In opposition to the above idea, some take "dialect" to mean "Greek written in a Hebraistic style."  This theory does not fit Papias' comment as well, as it is hard to see how a simple stylistic difference would make Matthew so difficult to interpret.  The idea of a language foreign to a Greek audience is more in keeping with Papias' remark.


Recently, George Howard at the University of Georgia has argued that a rather poorly preserved text of the original Hebrew of Matthew has come down to us in a medieval Jewish polemical (anti-Christian) text Even Bohan; see George Howard, The Gospel of Matthew according to a Primitive Hebrew Text (Mercer Univ Press, 1987).


   2) Irenaeus (c180 AD)


Now Matthew published also a book of the Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching the Gospel in Rome and founding the Church.

                                                                                                           Against Heresies 3.1.2 (Latin);

                                                                                                             Greek in Eusebius ibid. 5.8.2.


Note that Irenaeus calls Matthew's work a Gospel, in the Hebrew dialect, and gives it a date C when Peter and Paul were in Rome (we know Paul was in Rome in early 60's AD).


   3) Pantaenus (c.180 AD)


Pantaenus also was one of them and is said to have gone  to India, where the story goes that he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had preceded his arrival,  among certain people there who had learned of Christ; that Bartholo­mew, one of the Apostles, had preached to them; and that he had left the writing of Matthew in Hebrew letters, which also was preserved to the time indicated.         

Eusebius, Church History 5.10.3


Pantaenus was a Christian from Alexandria, Egypt, who was head of the catechetical school there before Clement and Origen.


Notice that this is indirect information: "The story goes that ..."  Pantaenus notes that Matthew was written in "Hebrew letters" (could still be either Aramaic or Hebrew, but not Greek).  The text is said to have been preserved still in the late 2nd century.


The remark about India is not far‑fetched; there was travel between India and the Roman world at this time.


   4) Clement of Alexandria (c200 AD)


Head of catechetical school after Pantaenus.  Left Alexandria during persecution in 203, died 210-217 AD.


Again in the same books Clement gives a tradition of the early presbyters con­cerning the order of the Gospels in the following manner: He said that those Gospels which contain the genealogies were written first; but the Gospel accord­ing to Mark had this occasion...

                                                                                                       Outlines, cited in Eusebius 6.14.5


By "tradition of the presbyters", Clement means  information he has learned from leaders before him.


Explicitly states that Matthew and Luke were written first, so before Mark.


   5) Origen (c240)


Clement's successor in Egypt; later went to Caesarea, where  he built up a large library inherited eventually by Eusebius.


In the first of the books on the Gospel according to  Matthew, observing the ecclesiastical canon, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing some­what as follows:  As he has learned by tradition concerning the four Gospels, which alone are undisputed in the Church of God under heaven, that first there was written the Gospel according to Matthew, the one‑time publican but after­wards an apostle of Jesus Christ, who published it in the Hebrew language (γράμμασιv) for those from Judaism who believed.


                                                                                                      Commentary on Matthew: cited in

                                                                                                        Eusebius, Church History 6.25.3


Order: is Origen giving chronological or canonical order here?


Language = letters.  This is clearer than saying "dialect."


The next two witnesses are important more for their access to written documents which have not survived than for their likely access to reliable oral tradition.  Eusebius is the major historian of the ancient church, Jerome one of its best scholars.


   6) Eusebius of Caesarea (c325)


Bishop of Caesarea after the end of Roman persecution, with access to the same library as Origen.


Yet of all the disciples of the Lord, only Matthew and  John have left us memoirs; and they, it is reported, had recourse to writing only under pressure of necessity.  For Matthew, who preached earlier to Hebrews, when he was about to go to others also, committing his Gospel to writing in his native tongue, compensated by his writing for the loss of his presence to those from whom he was sent away.


                                                                                                    Eusebius, Church History 3.24.5‑6


"Memoirs" - an ancient genre for famous people thinking back over events in their own lives.  Matthew and John had not planned to write but when they saw the need arise (e.g., leaving Palestine) they did so.


   7) Jerome (c400)


Matthew who is also called Levi, and who changed from a  publican to an Apostle, was the first one in Judaea to  write a Gospel of Christ in Hebrew letters and words for those from the circumcision who believed; who translated it afterwards into Greek is not sufficiently certain.

                                                                                                      Jerome, Lives of Illustrious Men 3


c. Summary on Authorship of Matthew


   1)      That Matthew wrote the Gospel ascribed to him is the unanimous opinion of tradition and (perhaps not independently) of the titles on extant manuscripts.


This is consistent with title and content of the first Gospel.  No other names are associated with it.  The early church knew of fake gospels and rejected them.


   2)      That Matthew's Gospel was the first written is also given several times in the tradition.

This is frequently disputed today, as most liberals (and many conservatives) think Matthew's Gospel uses Mark's.


   3)      That Matthew's Gospel was written in Hebrew (or Aramaic) is a regular feature of the tradition.


This, too, is often disputed today because the extant Greek Gospel does not look like translation‑Greek from a Semitic language.  [Translation-Greek:  a lot of Hebrew syntax and vocabulary range carried over into the Greek.]  The LXX is an example of translation‑Greek in most of its text, though it varies from book to book.


But it could be that the translator tried to give it a more fluent Greek style.  Some OT translations into Greek were concerned about style: e.g.

Symmachus and Theodotion ‑ good Greek style;

contrast Aquila ‑ very literal translation Greek.


In English, interlinears have their English in translation-English; the NASB is something like translation-English; the NIV has a good English style.


Perhaps Matthew himself made a free translation at a later time.  We don't know for sure if it was a translation, or (if so) who made it.


Effect on inspiration if it is a translation:  No problem if Matthew translated it.  More a concern if done by someone besides an apostle or a trusted associate (Luke, etc.).  However, the church has been without the Bible in the original languages for long periods in church history:  Western church only had Latin in Middle Ages.  Even today, most Americans don't know the Biblical languages.


What languages were used in Palestine in NT times?  Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek were all used in Bar-Kochba materials which we have found recently in caves.  Latin, Greek, and Hebrew (or Aramaic) were used in the  sign over the cross.  Don't know how many people were multi‑lingual.  Since several of Jesus' NT statements are in transliterated Aramaic, this was probably Jesus' native language.


2. Date of Matthew's Gospel


a. Internal evidence


Internal evidence is of very little help here.  Two remarks suggest that it was not written immediately after the resurrection (i.e. in the 30's):


Matt 27:8  "called the Field of Blood to this day."

Matt 28:15 "This story was widely spread among the Jews to this day."


Both imply a significant time interval between the event and writing, but don=t say how much.


Liberals tend to date Matt after 70 AD, partly to place it after Mark (which they date just before 70), and partly to "post‑date" Jesus' predictions:


Matt 21:41 ‑ Parable of tenant farmers who kill son implies destruction of nation Israel for killing Jesus, so after 70 AD, story being made up to fit what happened.

Matt 22:7 ‑ Wedding Banquet, guests refused to come so king "destroyed those murderers, and set their city on fire." (Fits Jerusalem => written after 70).

Matt 23:38 ‑ "Your house is being left to you desolate!" (Either Jerusalem or temple destroyed => after 70).

Matt 24 ‑ Olivet Discourse describes fall of Jerusalem, so written after­wards.


Liberals say Mark could be written just before the fall of Jerusalem since that Gospel does not include these details as clearly.


Obviously this is no problem to believers, since all these are in prediction contexts, and Jesus can predict the future.


b. External evidence


Matthew was written before earliest surviving manu­scripts.  The papyri p64,67 and p77 represent 2 manuscripts from about 200 AD.  So written before 200.


Epistle of Pseudo‑Barnabas (probably written c132 AD) cites Matt. 22:14 ("many called, few chosen") saying "as the Scripture says," but doesn't name Matthew. Liberals say Matthew was written by then, but Pseudo‑Barnabas misremembered quote as OT Scripture.


Tradition on authorship would require that it be written within Matthew's lifetime, probably no later than 100 AD, possibly much earlier.  This is limited by Matthew's age:  Since he was an adult with some authority (tax collector) by c30 AD, it is doubtful he was living after 100 AD.  Thus the traditions imply that Matthew was written in the 1st century. Allusions in other Apostolic Fathers, including Clement (c95 AD) would agree with this.


Irenaeus' tradition would date it to c61‑68 AD.


Several other traditions make Matthew's Gospel the first one written, so it might be even earlier.


Luke (see below) was probably written in late 50's, so Matthew's date would then be earlier.


c. Various proposals for Matthew's date


These range from 37 AD (Old Scofield Bible) to 125 AD (so Robert Kraft, a liberal at U. Penn.).  37 AD is probably too early for the "to this day" references.  125 AD is far too skeptical of historical sources.  Does not explain why Christians and even heretics accepted it and used only the 4 gospels.


My suggestion for date:  Irenaeus slightly mistaken.  Matthew wrote a Hebrew Gospel in the 40's or 50s before he left Jerusalem (note when Paul visits Jerusalem, he found only Peter and John there).  Matthew later made a Greek edition in the 60's for wider use.  Thus Irenaeus is correct about author and language, but mistakes its publication in Greek (61‑68 AD) for its original Hebrew composition in the 40's or early 50's.


Papias's statement implies that for some time Matthew was the only written Gospel available and was in demand even in its Hebrew form as apparently no Greek translation had been made yet.


This model is proposed to fit (1) the tradition of Matthew being the first Gospel written, with (2) the evidence for a pre‑60 date of Luke.



B. Characteristics of Matthew


1. Matthew the author


He is mentioned by name 7 times in 4 different books of the NT, but these involve only 2 occasions: (1) his conversion and (2) the apostle lists.  He is called "Levi of Alpheus" in Mark 2:14, so may have been the son of Alpheus and brother of James the Little (listed as son of Alpheus in Mt 10:3, Mk 3:18, Lk 6:15, Ac 1:13).


Conversion: Matt 9:9, Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27,29 ‑ was a tax‑collector, so held a dinner for old friends to meet Jesus.  An interesting picture of the reaction of a new convert.


Apostle list: Matt 10:3 (only list using term "publican"), Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13.  In these lists, the apostles are always grouped in 3 groups of 4 and are never mixed between groups.  Matthew is always in the 2nd group, as either #7 or #8.


2. Matthew's Original Audience


Matthew's Messianic emphasis is more appropriate for Jews.


His tendency to assume a knowledge of Jewish practices (rather than to explain them) suggests principal readers in view are Jews and Jewish Christians.


Mt 15:2 ‑ "tradition of the elders" about washing hands.  Mark gives 3‑4 verses of explanation, Matt. doesn't.


Mt 23:5 ‑ "they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen  the tassels (of their garments)."  Even the NASB added parentheses to provide some explana­tion.  To show their piety, some Pharisees wore bigger phylacteries and longer tassels than the average person.


Mt 23:27 ‑ Scribes and Pharisees "are like whitewashed tombs."  Jews would whitewash tombs so people wouldn't accidently touch them and become unclean (esp. before festivals).


3. Aim and Structure of Matthew.


1) Aim ‑ no direct statement is made in the Gospel.


Contents suggest Matthew's purpose is to show Jesus as the Messiah who fulfilled OT prophecies.  Matthew cites more prophecies and a wider variety of them than any other Gospel writer. 


Matthew appears to draw a subtle parallel between the ministry of Jesus and the history of Israel.


2) Internal evidence of structure.


We try to find out how the writer would have outlined the material (not making arbitrary guesses); this gives more accurate view of book's structure.


a) Transition Passages:  2 possible major ‑ both begin with the same phrase: "After that Jesus began ..."


Mt 4:17 "to preach" = begins ministry to multitudes.  Transition from the preparatory narratives to Jesus' public proclamation of the gospel.


Mt 16:21 "to show His disciples" = begins His private ministry to the disciples and outlines the  rest of the book: suffer, be killed, rise.



b) Discourses.


Usually 5 are seen (Godet, Introduction to the NT), ending with the for­mula: "And it came to pass when Jesus had finished ..."


            Chapters          Formula

(1) Sermon on the Mount        5‑7                   7:28

(2) Instructions to the 12         10                    11:1

(3) Kingdom Parables             13                    13:53

(4) Church Discipline             18                    19:1

(5) Olivet Discourse                24‑25               26:1


Some say Matthew models his Gospel around the Pentateuch, so have 5 discourses = 5 books.  Sermon on Mount would fit Exodus, but what of Genesis?


Some see further (but non‑chronological) parallels of: Genealogy = Book of the generations.   Wilderness temptation = Wanderings.


But there are 2 other discourses in Matthew, not just 5:


Mt 23: "Woes to Pharisees" ‑ doesn't end with formula.  Could link it with Mt 24‑25, but topic is quite different.

Mt 3: Discourse of John the Baptist.


It appears that Matthew is giving topical samples of Jesus' preaching relevant to who Jesus is.  Attempts to get these samples to fit the Penta­teuch seem rather far-fetched.


c) Is Matthew involved in shifting materials?


Some suggest that Matthew gathered materials by theme rather than ordering them chronologically.


His discourses are admittedly by topic.  His miracles are mainly concen­trated in ch.8‑9.


Matthew's order of events is different from that of Mark and Luke in a few places.


But we find no solid evidence of chronological liberty between the Gospels (i.e., the same events explicitly said to have happened in a different order).  All the Gospels have a chronological structure, but with different purposes and emphases.


As an itinerant preacher, Jesus doubtless repeated the same/similar teaching material on different occasions.


Different cultures have different literary procedures.  Quotations must follow a specific accuracy and style for an academic thesis, but the require­ments for a newspaper article are not as formal.  Of course, to invent dialogue which never occurred is bad in any culture.


When condensing a long speech or narrative, a writer might either use key sentences from a discourse, simplify the action or summarize it in his own words.  Either approach would be acceptable so long as it tells us what actually took place. [He need not tell us what he is doing, however.]


4. Characteristic phrases in Matthew


1) "That it might be fulfilled" is very common in Matthew.


Some of these fulfillments are also noted in other Gospels, but not so many as in Matthew.  Some liberals have suggested that a book of testimonies (a compilation of OT prooftexts about the Messiah) was used in the early church.  This may be so, but it is more likely (cp. Luke 24:27) that these go back to Jesus' own explana­tion of Messianic prophecy after his resurrection.


2) "Kingdom of Heaven" occurs over 30 times.


This is apparently synonymous with "kingdom of God" in Mark and Luke.  In fact, Matt 19:23‑24 uses both terms in parallel. In Rabbinic sources "heaven" was a common substitution for "God," as they were reluctant to write or speak the name of God because of its holiness.


5. Other Materials Unique to Matthew


1) Matthew refers to various Jewish customs and usages not especially interesting to Gentiles.


2) Matthew's birth material is distinctive.


Both Matt and Luke narrate Jesus' birth; both are clear on the virgin birth.  But otherwise, they do not overlap much.


Matt notes the Wise men coming, Herod's attempt to kill Jesus, and the flight to Egypt.


Matt appears to give Joseph's perspective (see him wondering, worrying, acting), while Luke gives Mary's viewpoint.


3) Peter and the Church ‑ Matt 16, and Church Discipline ‑ Matt 18.


Only Matthew discusses the Church, even though it is the most Jewish Gospel.  This raises some problems for that dispensational view which makes such an absolute distinction between the Church and Israel and also sees Matthew as the "Jewish Gospel" in the sense that it is "not for this dispensation."  Note that ¦κκλησία is LXX term for "congregation."


4) Great Commission ‑ Matt. 28.


A commission also appears in Mark (but in ques­tionable text), Luke, Acts and John, each (exc Matt & Mark) in a different context than the others.  Jesus saw the spread of the Gospel as sufficiently important to repeat his instructions on several occasions.


Liberals don't like the implications of "go to all the nations," "be with you through the ages," and the Trinitarian formula, so they deny this goes back to Jesus.  They also question Matthew's authenticity and date because of perceived conflicts with Acts: (1) command to go vs. early reluctance of apostles; (2) Trinity vs. early baptism "in the name of Christ."


None of these is very serious if Xy is true.  If Jesus is who the Bible claims he is, then his atoning death and resurrection are certainly news of earth-shaking importance (Psalm 22 says as much, and it was certainly written before the rise of Xy).  If Jesus is God and there is only one God, then He is present everywhere and shares "the Name" with the Father.  The Acts' problems relate to emphasis:  (1) the early disciples were apparently waiting for further instructions on how to go about this, and did not at first realize that Gentiles would become Xns as Gentiles without converting to Judaism; (2) we probably misread both Matthew and Acts in taking the phrases "in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" and "in the name of Jesus Christ" as instructions on the exact wording to be used in a ceremony.


6. Graphic Outline of Matthew.  (| = about one chapter)


     |‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ 1:1

     |  Genealogy                      

     |‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ 1:18


     |  Birth and Infancy              

     |‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ 3:1

     |  Preparation for Ministry       

     |‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ 4:12 (17)




     |                   Public




     |  Galilean

     |  Ministry        

     |                      ‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ 13:1


     |                      Limited


     |                   ‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ 16:21


     |                   Private

     |‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ 19:1


     |  Journey to Jerusalem           

     |‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ 21:1



     |  Last Week



     |‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ 26:1


     |  Betrayal, Trial, Crucifixion   

     |‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ 28:1

     |  Resurrection


7. A Symmetrical Outline of Matthew

from Charles H. Lohr, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 23 (1961): 427-28.


A         Narrative: Birth and beginnings (1-4)

B         Sermon: Blessings, entering the kingdom (5-7)

C         Narrative: Authority and invitation (8-9)

D         Sermon: Mission discourse (10)

E          Narrative: Rejection by this generation (11-12)

F          Sermon: Parables of the kingdom (13)

E’        Narrative: Acknowledgment by disciples (14-17)

D’        Sermon: Community discourse (18)

C’        Narrative: Authority and invitation (19-22)

B’        Sermon: Woes, coming of kingdom (23-25)

A’        Narrative: Death and resurrection (26-28)




                                     GOSPEL OF MATTHEW VERSE-BY-VERSE


The Birth of Jesus (chs 1-2)


Genealogy (1:1-17)


Emphasis on Abraham and David


Three sections:

Abraham to David

David to Babylonian Captivity

Bab Capt to Jesus


The ‘fourteens’ app partly artificial (see 2 Chron 3):

missing Joash, Amaziah, Azariah betw Uzziah and Jotham

missing Jehoiakim betw Josiah and Jeconiah

a play on name "David" is suggested

the 3 consonantal letters DVD add up to fourteen



Genealogy looks like Joseph's, moves through royal line

(contrast Luke: Mary's, Davidic line, but not royal)

but Jer 22:30 curses Matthew's line (Jeconiah)

virgin birth and adoption by Joseph circumvent this curse!


Four women in genealogy (not counting Mary)

Tamar (3) (Gen 38) - Canaanite, incest

Rahab (5) (Josh 2 & 6) - Canaanite, prostitute

Ruth (5) (Ruth) - Moabite, faithful

[Bathsheba] (6) - Uriah's wife

perhaps a reminder of involvement of women in redemption as well as in curse


Birth (1:18-25)


Overlapping details w/ Luke:

virgin conception

birth at Bethlehem


But Matt appears to give Joseph's perspective, Luke Mary's

Joseph's deliberation re/ Mary's pregnancy

annunciation to Joseph

dreams to Joseph re/ flight to Egypt and return



betrothed - Jewish engagement stronger than modern Western type

found to be pregnant - presumably by Joseph

righteous man - not sure connection w/ what follows

how does death penalty come into play if no witnesses?

not willing to disgrace her - thought she was deranged?

angel's message (cp 1:20, 2:13, 19 and "warned in dream" 2:12, 22)

son of David

don't be afraid to take her

conceived by Holy Spirit

call name Jesus (Yeshua - He [God] saves)

fulfillment of Isa 7:14, 9:6-7, 8:10

Joseph is obedient (see also 2:14, 21, 23)

takes her as wife

no sexual relations until after birth


Wise Men (ch 2)


Magoi - same word (in singular) for Simon Magus and for "magician"; otherwise negative connotation in NT; can mean "scholar," but with star and its meaning, probably closer to astrologer here; Howard, Primitve Hebrew Text, 4 (at 2:1), has hozim b’kokavim (astrologers).


Herod - background: jealousy involved in killing favorite wife, and two sons (so far); also concern re/ security of his throne and his dynasty


Gifts – Christmas carol "We Three Kings" emphasizes symbolism:

gold for king

incense for God

myrrh for burial

practically, gifts prob financed flight to Egypt


Flight to Egypt

reasons for this direction

            out of Herod's territory

            different direction than Wise Men

            fulfillments below



birth - Isa 7:14 - two fulfilments?  don't know whether partly fulfilled by Isaiah's wife

out of Egypt - Hos 11:1 - looks like typological fulfillment, based on parallelism between Israel and Messiah (cp servant passages in Isa 40-55 and Jesus' own meditation on "Israel in wilderness" passages during his temptation)

death of children - Jer 31:15 - children killed in connection with Babylonian conquest?  but deliverance to come?  similar situation here, in heart of salvation history

Nazarene - no specific passage worded like this, but probably refers to use of title "Branch" for Messiah, one of words for which is "nezer"


Preparation for Jesus' Ministry (3:1-4:11)


Preaching of John the Baptist (3:1-12)


Summary Message: repent for kingdom of heaven has arrived/come near


Fulfillment: Isa 40:3: note context: speaking comfort to Jerusalem; iniquity removed; preparation for the LORD's coming; glory of LORD revealed, all flesh will see it


John’s clothing: traditional prophetic attire?  cp Ascension Isaiah 2:7-11


Response: large crowds; even Pharisees and Sadducees came for baptism


More Detail on Message:

must live lives consistent with repentance

baptism not enough?

ancestry not enough

already axe laid to root

the Coming One:

greater than John, not worthy to be his servant

baptism w/ HS and w/ fire

figure of winnowing, harvest


Baptism of Jesus (3:13-17)


John recognizes him

as Messiah yet?

or from childhood acquaintance?

Jesus' baptism to fulfill all righteousness

perhaps baptism as symbol of judgment

see Kline, By Oath Consigned for baptism as judgment

Jesus identifying with his people

God's sign

heaven opened

Holy Spirit descends like a dove

voice from heaven:

Son, beloved, well-pleased


The Temptation of Christ (Matt 4:1-11)


Compare and Contrast with:

Temptation of Adam and Eve in Garden

Temptation of Israel in Wilderness

First Temptation (vv 3-4)

Jesus is presumably very hungry by this time

command stones to become bread

show self to be Son of God?

use miracles for own comfort, advantage?

Jesus' response:  Deut 8:3

not by bread alone (note context)

depend on God for everything

Second Temptation (vv 5-7)

jump off temple pinnacle

show others you are Son of God?

short-circuit the atonement?

use miracles to wow audience?

fulfill “come suddenly to his temple”?

Satan can quote Scripture, too!

Ps 91:11-12 (note context)

Jesus' response: Deut 6:16

don't put God to test

note context here and ref to Ex 17:7


Third Temptation (vv 8-10)

note different order in Luke

does Satan repeat temptations?

seems very blatant, not subtle like others

become Messiah without opposition?

compromise in order to do good?

take Satan's word over God's?

Jesus' response: Deut 6:13, 10:20

worship God only


Jesus' Ministry Begins (Matt 4:12-25)


Beginning of Galilean Ministry (vv 12-17)

John arrested (see Matt 14:3ff)

Jesus settles in Capernaum rather than Nazareth

fulfilment of Isa 9:1-2

Jesus' message: cp with John Baptist’s, Matt 3


kingdom is at hand/has come


Calling of the Four Fishermen (vv 18-22)

Peter and Andrew

James and John

follow me

become man-fishers

relation to other calling accounts?

John 1:35-42 is considerably earlier, probably explains why they leave everything now

Mark 1:16-20 is same incident as Matthew

Luke 5:2-11 is a later incident


Ministering to a Great Multitude (vv 23-25)

summary of Jesus' early ministry, before opposition fully developed

teaching in synagogues:

proclaiming good news re/ kingdom


drawing large crowds from considerable distances


The Sermon on Mount (Matt 5-7)



Introduction (5:1-16)

Teaching about the Law (5:17-48)

(True and False Interpretation)

Rewards (6:1-21)

(True and False Outworking)

Security (6:22-34)

(True and False Security)

True and False Judgement (7:1-23)

Conclusion (7:24-29)

(True and False Reaction)


Some Details:

crowds amazed at authority of his teaching in contrast to scribes (7:28-29); so perhaps not to be understood merely as repetition of OT law


Introduction (5:1-16)


Blessings (5:3-12)

true blessedness is not now, but then; it is not having, but being; it is even a certain wretchedness because sin is still given (rather) free rein


Salt and Light (5:13-16)

small things which produce large effects; salt: taste, preservation,


light: visibility (but see 6:1-21), illumination


Teaching about the Law (5:17-48)

Jesus not to destroy but fulfill

Not a letter to disappear until all happens

Don't you abolish

Righteousness must exceed scr & Pharisees'


Anger (5:21-26)

included under category "murder"

reconcilation takes precedence over worship


Lust (5:27-30)

included under "adultery"

purity takes precedence over physical health


Divorce (5:31-32)

included under "adultery"

developed further in Matt 19


Oaths (5:33-37)

included under category "lying"?

don't make huge promises to strengthen your word; just tell truth

compare w/ Matt 23:16-22 and Jas 4:13-17


Retaliation (5:38-42)

rather, non-resistance

show we really believe what we claim to?


Love for Enemies (5:43-48)

shows likeness to God

shows how His righteousness exceeds that of others


Rewards (6:1-21)

Doing good deeds to be seen by others is this world's "righteousness"; God rewards those deeds which are really good


Almsgiving (6:1-4)

not advertised

not recorded?


Prayer (6:5-15)

private not public

simple not elaborate

sample prayer given, "Lord's Prayer"


Fasting (6:16-18)

secret; even hiding effects


Treasure in Heaven (6:19-21)

summary on reward?

certainly insight regarding priorities

transition to next section


Security (6:22-34)


Light of Body (6:22-23)

somewhat puzzling!

spiritual insight vs blindness

prob specialized to money-attitudes,

since "evil eye" meant covetousness


God and Mammon (6:24)

Mammon is Semitic for money, here personified

living for God and living for money are quite inconsistent


Care and Anxiety (6:25-34)

don't worry; what you can't control is more important than what you can

food and the birds

clothing and the flowers

your righteousness must exceed the pagans'

seek first God's rule and righteousness

He will take care of the rest


True and False Judgement (7:1-23)


Judging Others (7:1-6)

God will not let you get away with a double-standard of judgment

He wants you to put your emphasis on straightening out your own life

Some will not appreciate your help


Ask, Seek, Knock (7:7-12)

Keep asking God for what is good

Don't be judging His motives

Trust Him by doing good to others


The Narrow Gate (7:13-14)

There aren't many who will enter heaven


Tree Known by Fruit (7:15-20)

Use God's yardstick to evaluate teachers

What they do speaks louder than what they say


I Never Knew You (7:21-23)

Many who profess Jesus and even do great things won't enter heaven because of their (other) deeds


Conclusion (7:24-29)


Two Foundations (7:24-29)

Parable of building applied to our spiritual lives

Obedience represented by solid foundation, not mere knowledge


Many Miracles (ch 8)


Cleansing a Leper (1-4)

Leper's statement:

you are able to cleanse

if you want to

Jesus' compassion

I want to

touches & cleanses him

Lesson: Who is Jesus?

when others touch a leper, they become unclean

when Jesus touches a leper, leper is cleansed!


Healing Centurion's Servant (5-13)

Condensed version re/ Luke's

e.g., mediation not mentioned

Centurion asks healing for his servant

Jesus ready to go

Centurion expresses his unworthniess

Centurion understands authority

not necessary to go & do it yourself

Jesus' response

amazement at his faith

contrast with Jews

heals servant without going there

Lessons: Jesus can heal at a distance

a hint at the Gospel going to Gentiles


Healing Many People (14-17)

healing, strengthening of Peter's mother-in-law

many others in evening, incl demonized

fulf of Isa 53:4: "bore"


Would-Be Followers (18-22)

leaves a crowd behind

wherever?  even if no housing?

postponed following?  let unsaved do what they can do

            let saved do what unsaved cannot


Calming a Storm (23-27)

who is this?

even wind and sea obey!


Healing Gadarene Demoniacs (28-34)

Matthew explicit about two demoniacs

demons know who Jesus is

come before the time?

Demons’ request

Jesus lets them enter pigs

Inhabitants ask him to leave


Controversy Develops (ch 9)


Healing a Paralytic (1-8)

Jesus forgives his sins

Scribes complain: this is blasphemy!

Jesus gives visible evidence of his invisible power

Lesson: Jesus' claim supported by miracle


Calling of Matthew (9-13)

Tax collector called and comes

Matthew's friends (?) share dinner w/ Jesus

Pharisees complain: bad associations!

Jesus' response:

doctors associate with sick people

what does Hos 6:6 mean?

Jesus' mission is to call sinners

Lesson: people of God not to be a ghetto


Question about Fasting (14-17)

Why don't Jesus' disciples fast?


not now appropriate

like mourning at a wedding

doesn't fit new situation

like new patch on old cloth

like new wine in old skin

Lessons: doesn't rule out fasting altogether,

but different in new situation which has come


Jairus' Daughter and Bleeding Woman (18-26)

different concentration here than in Luke

woman healed while on way

saved by trusting

Jesus sends off mourners & is ridiculed

little girl raised

news spread broadly


importance of faith

ridicule a hint of coming rejection?


Two Blind Men Healed (27-31)

done indoors rather than in public

story spread in spite of Jesus' warning


Healing a Dumb Man (32-34)

demonized, unique healing

Pharisees: must be Satanic healing!


Compassion of Jesus (35-38)

teaching and healing in all the towns

concern for crowds, like sheep w/o shepherd

pray to God for more workers


Mission of the Twelve (10:1-11:1)


Mission of the Twelve (1-4)

given authority over unclean spirits

apostles named:

Matthew the tax-collector (only apostle-list that calls him ‘tax collector’)

Cananaean - Aramaic for zealot


Commissioning of the Twelve (5-15)

sending restricted to Israelites

message: kingdom of heaven at hand

gracious miracles

dependence on God's provision through hospitality

responsibility of hearers


Coming Persecutions (16-25)

sent like sheep among wolves

persecution by synagogue and government

don't worry about what to say

hated by all, including close relatives

flee persecution

if Jesus persecuted/rejected, so also disciples


Whom to Fear (26-31)

don't fear men, they will be judged

don't hide message

fear God alone

He knows all and values you


Confessing Christ before Men (32-33)

reaping what you plant


Not Peace but a Sword (34-39)

Jesus' "good news" won't bring immediate peace

even close relatives may be your enemies

trust me with your very life


Rewards (10:40-42, 11:1)

your reception really reflects what they think of Jesus, and God the Father

no one who does good will lose their reward


Who is Jesus? (11:2-30)


Messengers from John the Baptist (2-19)

John perhaps has begun to have doubts, since Jesus is not setting up Messianic kingdom right away

Jesus calls his attention to Isa 35:5-6; 42:18; 61:1

Blessed are those who don't take offense at me

allusion to Isa 8:14?

Jesus' eulogy on John the Baptist (7-15)

John fulfills Mal 3:10

no greater person of natural birth, but least (resurrected?) believer will be greater

verse 12 tough: 2 alternatives

need violence to get into kingdom

kingdom afflicted by opponents

a great change w/ coming of John, the "Elijah" of the first coming

Jesus' rebuke to that generation (16-19)

like crabby children who don't want to play any game offered


Woe to Unrepentant Cities (20-24)

Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum

far greater evidence given them than to Tyre, Sidon, Sodom

so far greater judgment


Come to Me and Rest (25-30)

the so-called "bolt from the Johannine heaven"

shows Jesus did talk like Gospel of John says

God's mercy to children/simple

mystery of Jesus' person

Jesus as revealer of Father

come, my yoke is easy


More Controversy (ch 12)


Plucking Grain on the Sabbath (1-8)

Pharisees object that disciples are working on Sabb

cp 39 labors of rabbinic literature and question

of minimal amount of work needed to violate Sabb

Example of David

need to satisfy hunger overrides showbread law?

Example of priests

need to serve God overrides Sabbath regulations

Something greater than temple is present!

Jesus (as Son of Man) is Lord of Sabbath

prob an allusion to Dan 7:13-14


Man with Withered Hand (9-14)

Another Sabbath controversy: Is it lawful to heal?

Jesus' response: Is it lawful to rescue a sheep?          

            How much more to rescue a human! 

            Therefore, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.

Heals him, but opponents now begin to plot his death


The Chosen Servant (15-21)

Jesus continues healings, but discourages publicity

Fulfillment of Isa 42:1-3:  God's servant, has HS, proclaims justice to Gentiles, not ostentatious, patient toward the weak,

            successful, nations will trust in him


Jesus and Beelzebul (22-32)

heals blind and mute demoniac

crowds begin to wonder if this is Messiah

Pharisees: he has demonic power!

Jesus' responses:

danger to Satan of dividing his forces

how can you tell where power comes from?

sign of the kingdom having come

evidence of power superior to Satan

importance of choosing right side

danger of blaspheming HS: prevents forgiveness, presumably by preventing repentance


A Tree and its Fruit (33-37)

need for internal change to produce good works

judgment will extend to every idle word


Demand for a Sign (38-42)

Jesus certainly does signs, so problem here seems to be insincerity

Jesus promises only the "sign of Jonah"

Matthew mentions burial and resurrection of Jonah

Mark doesn't record this part of answer

Luke mentions Jonah becoming sign to Ninevites


Both Jonah and Jesus have a death & resurrection

Israel unrepentant, as in Jonah's time, but Gentiles repent in droves


Return of Unclean Spirit (43-45)

a parable based on demon phenomena

spirit dwelling in person like person dwelling in house

generation's rejection of Jesus will bring disaster


Mother and Brothers of Jesus (46-50)

spiritual relationship more important than physical


Parables of the Kingdom (13:1-52)


Parable of the Sower (1-9)

broadcast method of planting, poss done before plowing

four kinds of soils (or six) with different responses:

road: seed eaten by birds

thin: no root, burned by sun

weedy: choked by thorns

good: various yields: 100, 60, 30


Purpose of Parables (10-17)

disciples: why parables?

those who have, get; those who don't, lose

a gift of God

fulfillment of Isa 6:9-10

blessed events which are crux of salvation history


Sower Explained (18-23)

seed: word of kingdom

road: don't understand word, Satan takes away

thin: received w/ joy, but no root; trouble or persecution leads to apostasy

weedy: worries of life, deception of riches choke word

good: hears, understands, bears fruit


Parable of Weeds among Wheat (24-30)

kingdom of heaven like this story

enemy scatters weed seed on top of good planting

servants want to uproot weeds

master forbids, let them grow together till harvest

then they will be separated


Parables of Mustard Seed and Leaven (31-33)

mustard seed grows to large shrub/small tree, birds come and build nests in branches

leaven put in dough grows till all is leavened


Use of Parables (34-35)

fulfillment of Ps 78:2


Weeds and Wheat Explained (36-43)

field = world

good seed sown by Son of Man, bad seed sown by Satan

good/bad seeds = sons of kingdom/sons of evil one

harvest = end of age, reapers = angels


Parables of Treasure and Pearl (44-46)

treaure found in field (by agricultural laborer?)

goes and sells everything to buy field

pearl found by pearl merchant

goes and sells everything to buy pearl


Parable of Dragnet (47-50)

reaching from bottom to surface, it catches all it encloses

when full, dragged to shore and fish sorted

thus the angels separate righteous and wicked at end of age


Treasures New and Old (51-52)

disciples claim to understand (!)

Jesus compares scribe trained in kingdom to householder who shows off his treasures, both old and new


Growing Polarization (13:53-16:12)


Rejection at Nazareth (13:53-58)

same incident as Mk 6:1-6, but not same as Lk 4:16-30

couldn't understand source of Jesus' wisdom

don't consider what his miracles might say about this

Jesus won't/can't do many miracles on acct of their unbelief


hardness of heart in face of powerful evidence

linkage of faith and God's work


Death of John the Baptist (14:1-12)

account given as flashback to explain Herod's theory

John imprisoned for criticizing Herod's marriage

Herod wanted to kill him, but afraid to

tricked by wife Herodias and her daughter

Herod's theory prob an indicator of his guilty conscience

story reaches Jesus via John's disciples


danger of confronting sin

warning of what Jesus is to face


Feeding the Five Thousand (14:13-21)

Jesus wants to get away from crowds due to news above

but they follow him

Jesus has compassion on crowd, heals many

Feeds them instead of sending them away

more leftovers than original food!


prophet like Moses:

            feeding in wilderness, but

            some features more impressive than manna

Jesus' compassion


Walking on Water (14:22-33)

sends disciples off in boat & dismisses crowd (John 6:15 explains)

spends several hours alone in prayer (temptation? prep for coming crucifixion?)

walks to them on water sometime after 3 AM

Peter's request and subsequent failure


Jesus flees temptation?

Jesus rescues his disciples

Jesus encourages Peter's faith and rebukes his weakness


Healing Sick at Gennesaret (14:34-36)

back over on W side of lake

men recognize Jesus, bring sick, who are healed merely by touching his garment

Lesson: healing like that of woman w/ hemorrhage


Tradition of the Elders (15:1-20)

another confrontation w/ scribes & Pharisees

they rebuke discipes (& Jesus?) for breaking tradition

Jesus rebukes them for breaking God's law to keep their traditions

e.g., Corban vs. 5th commandment

real defilement comes out from within, not vice versa


the truth will be offensive to some

be careful whom you choose as your guides

need to distinguish picture from reality


Canaanite Woman's Faith (15:21-28)

Jesus at first ignores her request

then says he is sent only to Israel

finally commends her faith for her quick and humble response


Sometimes God doesn't seem very compassionate

God rewards humility, persistence


Healing Many (15:29-31)

another summary of Jesus' healing ministry

heals all sorts of diseases, God is glorified


Feeding of Four Thousand (15:32-39)

from Mark, this also East of lake, so perhaps mainly Gentiles


Demand for a Sign (16:1-4)

opponents want a sign from heaven

some manuscripts have him give "sign," others just refusal

sign from heaven is common weather-lore

ironic, humorous, prob original

otherwise, just 2nd reference to Jonah (see 12:39)

Lesson: we need to make good use of the evidence God provides


Leaven of Pharisees & Sadducees (16:5-12)

disciples misread Jesus' figurative remark

after Jesus' prodding, they realize he is speaking of danger

in teaching of Pharisees & Sadducees

Lesson: some teaching out there is quite dangerous



Preparing the Disciples (16:13-20:34)


Peter's Declaration (16:13-20)

Jesus' question

Popular answers

Peter's declaration

Jesus' response:





temporary secret


Jesus Foretells His Death & Resurrection (16:21-28)

from then on: the disciples now ready?

Peter is not!

God's way is victory thru sacrifice

Jesus' prediction of kingdom


Jesus Transfigured (17:1-13)

prob partial fulfillment of prediction above

to inner three only

prob what John has in mind in Jn 1:14; 1 Jn 1:1; 4:14

Peter's proposal: here to stay?

the Voice: be quiet & listen to Jesus!

again, keep secret

disciples' question about Elijah


Healing Demonized Boy (17:14-20)

"moon struck"? actually demonized

disciples couldn't heal, lacked faith

Jesus rebukes them, casts out demon


Jesus Again Foretells Death & Resurrection (17:22-23)


Payment of Temple Tax (17:24-27)

two-drachma (= 1/2 shekel) tax is religious, not secular

mandated by OT law (Ex 30:13ff)

Jesus (& Peter) as sons are exempt!


Greatest in Kingdom (18:1-5)

Matt's emphasis on disciples asking Jesus

humility requisite for salvation & greatness


Temptations to Sin (18:6-9)

better to suffer great harm than cause another to sin

better to suffer great harm than sin oneself


Parable of Lost Sheep (18:10-14)

different occasion than in Luke

don't despise even least person


Brother Who Sins (18:15-20)

steps for reconciliation or judgment

God's authority behind church's (proper) actions


Parable of Unforgiving Servant (18:21-35)

believers must be ready to forgive far beyond normal expectation

compare situation to that of two debtors

strong statement at end (35)


Teaching about Divorce (19:1-12)

Pharisees ask about lawful reasons for divorce

Jesus: don't break what God has joined

Pharisees: what about Moses command? (Dt 24:1)

Jesus: a permission, not command; for hardness of heart;

            not at beginning; divorce & adultery

disciples: better not to marry!

Jesus: perhaps (?), but not everyone can handle this!


Little Children Blessed (19:13-15)

Jesus' response to disciples' rebukes


Rich Young Man (19:16-30)

Jesus: keep commandments to enter life

fellow: have kept everything

Jesus: to be complete, give away your property

fellow leaves

Jesus: hard for rich to enter kingdom of heaven

disciples: we've left everything; what do we get?

Jesus: 100x as much! but 1st will be last...


Parable of Vineyard Workers (20:1-16)

picture of God's grace in rewards

and how mercenary attitudes rewarded

explains 1st last...


Jesus Foretells Death & Resurrection Third Time (20:17-19)

Matt (Mk & Lk) emphasize that disciples told in advance      


Request of James and John (20:20-28)

mother involved too; not sure who is driving force

Jesus: can they drink the cup?

disciples angry (J & J trying to pull a fast one?)

Jesus gives proper leadership attitudes


Healing Two Blind Men (20:29-34)

two (vs Mark and Luke)

going out of Jericho (Mt & Mk vs Lk)

they recognize his Messiahship

Jesus shows compassion


The Last Week (chs 21-23)


Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (21:1-11)

narrated in all four Gospels

Matthew makes clear that two animals used

seems to involve miraculous foreknowledge

Matthew notes fulfillment of Zech 9:9

"Hosanna" - Save us!

This is the prophet Jesus

Jesus' claim is Messianic, crowds app don't get it


Temple Cleansed (21:12-17)

in synoptic Gospels, clearly distinguished chronologically from account in John

casts out moneychangers and merchants

two passages Jesus uses in justification Isa 56:7; Jer 7:11

response to anger of opponents over "Hosannas"


Fig Tree Cursed (21:18-22)

Matthew apparently groups curse and fulf together

need to check all parallel passages before drawing conclusions

a lesson on faith

an acted parable?


Jesus' Authority Questioned (21:23-27)

opponents trying to get Jesus to make damaging claim

since they are not really after the truth, Jesus won't give it to them


Parable of Two Sons (21:28-32)

first: rebellious but repents = tax-collectors & harlots

second: good talk, no action = Jewish leadership

attitudes shown in reactions to John the Baptist


Parable of Tenant Farmers (21:33-46)

strong allusion to Isa 5:1-7 makes it obvious (to leaders, at least) what parable is about

if vineyard = Israel, tenants = leaders/Israelites

crowd's reaction condensed differently in 3 Gospels

implied in Ps 118:22 (rejected cornerstone)

leaders want to kill him, but afraid of crowd


Parable of Marriage Feast (22:1-14)

further clarification of what is going on here

unwilling invitees = leaders (rebellious)

replacement invitees = lower classes, undesirables

(parallel parable in Luke makes Gentiles more obvious)

fellow w/o proper garment = no nonchalance allowed


Paying Taxes to Caesar (22:15-22)

attempt to trap Jesus: cp John 7:53-8:11

looks perfect: if "yes" Pharisees will tell people

if "no" Herodians will tell Pilate

Jesus’ perfect response escapes trap, shows opponents hypocrisy, and provides guidelines for our relations to govt!


Question about Resurrection (22:23-33)

Sadducees deny resurrection (not believers in immortality of soul, but in death as the end)

Jesus' response not entirely clear:  apps that he responds with a Moses passage, that pictures reference to dead people, and relates to a central theme of the covenent rather than the peripheral one of levirate marriage


Great Commandment (22:34-40)

lawyer may be trying to show Jesus up, but Jesus' response in Mark 12 suggests not, or that Jesus is reaching out to him


Question about David's Son (22:41-45)

turns tables on Pharisees, but also reaching out to them

this ends attempts to trap Jesus in words; too risky


Scribes and Pharisees Denounced (23:1-36)

Jesus' final warning to scribes & Pharisees

talk but no action

make it hard for others to come to God

looking out for own reputation

exalting selves

keeping others from God

devouring widows' houses

making converts of the wrong sort

twisting the law: oaths

majoring on minors


sons of those who murdered prophets

facing massive judgment

disaster to come on this generation


Lament over Jerusalem (23:37-39)

Jesus' desires and their reaction

house left desolate

hint of repentance at last days


The Olivet Discourse (chs 24-25)


Named for location at which it was given, on Mount of Olives

Paralleled in all three Synoptic Gospels:

Mark 13; Luke 21


Destruction of Temple Foretold (24:1-2)

Jesus has just left temple for last time in public ministry

Disciples excited about bldgs, some of most impressive in entire Roman world

Jesus response: these will one day be leveled


Beginning of Woes (24:3-14)

They cross Kidron Valley to east to Mt Olives

Disciples ask for private explanation

Their Qs:

(1) When will these things happen?

(2) What will be sign of your coming and end of age?

Presumably Jesus' response deals with both

Danger of being misled by false Messiahs (4-5)

End is preceded by beginning of birth pangs (6-8)

wars & reports of such

famines & earthquakes here & there

Then (end? beginning of end? interadvent period?) (9-12)

persecution of Jesus' followers

hated by all nations


false prophets

lawlessness, lovelessness

Two encouragements (13-14)

those who endure will be saved

Good news will go to all nations before end


The Great Tribulation (24:15-28)

Abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel (15)

Dan 9:27 - last week of Daniel's 70; he (Messiah? prince who shall come?) will stop sacrifice

Dan 11:31 - king of North (prob Antiochus Epiphanes, c 168 BC) will stop sacrifices

Dan 12:11 - 1290 days after abomination of desolation (to end of these wonders? to shattering power of holy people?)

Get out of there! (16-20)

Great tribulation (21-28)

worst in history of world

would destroy all flesh, but shortened for elect's sake

false Messiahs & false prophets doing miracles

elect not deceived (because told in advance?)

don't believe 2nd hand accounts of 2nd coming

lightning and vulture analogies


Coming of the Son of Man (24:29-31)

the real coming is after great tribulation (29)

the signs (29)

sun darkened

moon also

stars fall

powers of heaven shaken

the coming (30-31)

sign of Son of Man visible in sky

all tribes mourn

comes on clouds w/ power and glory

sends angels w/ trumpet to gather elect


Lesson of the Fig Tree (24:32-35)

a parable

fig's branches and leaves foretell summer

so events (above) foretell coming

it all happens in one generation

I guarantee it


Unknown Day and Hour (24:36-44)

signs not such as to calculate exact time

not even Son knows/knew

like days of Noah

business as usual till judgment overtakes

one taken, one left

unknown time (like thief's coming), but be alert


Faithful and Unfaithful Servant (24:45-51)

two cases re/ overseer slave:

(1) faithful in responsibilities, rewarded (45-47)

(2) wicked, thinks master delayed, misuses position, surprised by return, cut in two (48-51)


Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids (25:1-13)

two cases re/ bridesmaids

gone out to meet bridegroom & procession

(1) wise, took (extra) oil for lamps

(2) foolish, didn't take oil

coming delayed, all fall asleep

foolish off looking for oil and shut out of banquet

looks like two paired parables (servants, bridesmaids)

1st: master returns sooner than expected

2nd: master returns later


Parable of Talents (25:14-30)

a third return parable with shift in emphasis back to faithfulness here

master gives slaves money to trade with while away

(1 talent = 60-75 lb silver, c 20 yrs wages)

comparable reward for comparable faithfulness

wickedness, laziness also rewarded

excuses won't work

unfaithfulness & excuse shows he doesn't know God


Judgment of the Nations (25:31-46)

when the Son of Man returns in glory

a judgment of nations (as individuals)

like separation of sheep from goats

parallel features mention:

food for hungry

drink for thirsty

hospitality for strangers

clothing for naked

care for sick

vistation for prisoners

the decision is clear-cut

doing these things to "least of these my brothers" is doing it to Jesus

righteous to everlasting life

wicked to everlasting punishment


The Plot to Kill Jesus (26:1-16)


Prediction and Plot (1-5)

Jesus again predicts crucifixion, just two days before Passover

Leaders planning this very thing, but had planned to postpone due to danger of riot


Anointing at Bethany (6-13)

Woman anoints Jesus' head with very expensive perfume

Disciples angry at this waste of money, better given to poor

Jesus defends her:

she did something good

you always have the poor, but not always me

she has prepared my body for burial


Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus (14-16)

perhaps Judas angered at this

goes to leaders to get offer for betrayal

they agree on 30 pieces of silver (prob shekels, so about 120 days' wages)

Judas begins looking for opportunity

            (and finds one during feast, so that leaders change their plans)


The Last Supper (26:17-35)


Preparations for Passover with the Disciples (17-19)

Matthew's account quite brief

Disciples give message to so-and-so to get place

Disciples make preparations


Betrayer Identified (20-25)

Jesus predicts betrayal by one of twelve

Each disciple asks, "It isn't me, is it?"

Jesus' response: he dips with me in same dish

(further limiting?); warning of danger for betrayer

Judas identified (apparently not understood by others)


Institution of Lord's Supper (26-30)

during the meal

takes bread and cup from passover meal

bread represents Jesus' body

cup (wine) his blood "of the covenant"

Jesus takes a Nazarite vow?


Peter's Denial Foretold (31-35)

disciples will scatter in fulfillment of Zech 13:7

Peter: not me!

Jesus: yes, you!  3 times before cock-crow

Peter (and others): never!


Jesus' Death (26:36-27:66)


Prayer in Gethsemane (26:36-46)

coming from place of last supper, traditionally in upper city

garden of "olive press," across Kidron Valley; several sites have been suggested

disciples asked to stay awake, but fail

Jesus' grief, anxiety, sadness to point of death

His request for cup to pass

His submission if this not possible


Jesus Arrested (26:47-56)

great crowd w/ swords and clubs

Judas' kiss

slave's ear cut off

Jesus' rebuke to disciples: don't need your help;

Scripture must be fulfilled

Jesus' rebuke to crowd: coming against a terrorist?

Scripture must be fulfilled

disciples flee to safety


Jesus Before the Council (26:57-68)

preliminary hearing (see 27:1; Lk 22:66-71 for formal trial)

Peter follows at distance (narration in next section)

unsucessful attempt to get (consistent) testimony

sample: what did Jesus say about destroying temple?

high priest charges Jesus on oath to testify whether or not he is the Messiah, the Son of God

Jesus' oath: "you have said so"; in context means "yes," though poss w/ connotation of reluctance; cp "I am" of Mk 14:62 and reaction of HP and Sanhedrin; note Jesus' follow-up words

Jesus condemned as worthy of death


Peter Denies Jesus (26:69-75)

probably going on at same time (see Lk 22:55-61 and Jn 18:25-27)

three occasions, with some complexity

Peter's oath: "I don't know the man!"

remembers Jesus' prediction, goes and weeps bitterly


Jesus Brought before Pilate (27:1-2)

early morning decision of Sanhedrin

turned over to Pilate, the Roman governor


Judas' Remorse and Suicide (27:3-10)

Judas' reaction: what had he expected?

"I have sinnned in betraying innocent blood!"

No sympathy from leaders, goes and hangs self

Their disposal of returned blood money

The fulfillment: Zech 11:12-13; Jer 32:6-9?


Jesus Questioned by Pilate (27:11-14)

Pilate: "Are you king of the Jews?"

Jesus' answer same as in 26:25, 64: yes, with some ambiguity

Pilate's reaction:

            takes no action such as expected if Jesus were claiming competition to Caesar

astonished at Jesus' silence before accusers


Jesus Sentenced to Die (27:15-26)

Pilate's attempt to get crowd on Jesus' side

knows leaders betrayed Jesus for envy

has heard warning from own wife

But crowd has been sold on Barabbas

The blood scene:

Pilate: washes his hands

Crowd: his blood be on us and our children!


Soldiers Mock Jesus (27:27-31)

several hundred men at governor's HQ

stage a mock coronation with brutality

Jesus led off to be crucified


Jesus Crucified (27:32-44)

Simon carries cross

crucified at "skull place" (skull-shaped hill?)

Jesus won't drink drugged wine

gambling for clothes; best text of Matt doesn't mention Ps 22 prediction

the charge: "king of the Jews"

the robbers: Matt does not narrate their repentance

mockery by passers-by, even leaders (the last temptation?)


Jesus Dies (27:45-56)

darkness from noon to 3 PM

Jesus' shout and Ps 22:1

misunderstood as cry to Elijah

Jesus gives up his spirit

temple curtain ripped

tombs opened (and later appearances of saints)

centurion's response: "Truly, God's Son!"

women observing


Jesus Buried (27:57-61)

Joseph of Arimathea gets body

puts it in his new tomb, closed w/ large stone

women observing


The Tomb Guarded (27:62-66)

next day (Sabbath?), leaders concerned about possible fraud

Pilate allows tomb to be guarded


Jesus' Resurrection (ch 28)


Actual resurrection narrated by no one, but events surrounding empty tomb and post-resurrection appearances in all four Gospels, also Acts and 1 Cor 15


The Empty Tomb, the Angel and Jesus (28:1-10)

women come to tomb (two women named); narr prob compressed

they and guards see angel, but prob not simultaneously

angel's message: Jesus not here, has risen, will appear to you in Galilee

women meet Jesus on way to tell disciples; he repeats message for them re/ Galilee


The Guards Report (28:11-15)

some of guard report to chief priests

they & elders consult, bribe guards to spread stolen body story

story continues to day Matthew wrote


The Disciples Commissioned (28:16-20)

disciples go to Galilee to mountain Jesus had specified

this is prob only post-res appearance where place specified in advance; prob = "over 500" in 1 Cor 15:6; fits "some doubted"

Jesus' commission to his followers:

Father has given me all authority in universe

I am commissioning you to go everywhere and make followers of me: baptizing, teaching

I am with you every day to end of age