09/30/2009 08:12

Matthew (Part 01) - Genealogy

The study of some books, like Revelation, involves the review of a lot of controversy due to the presuppositions of various eschatological options. As we approach the study of Matthew, however, we may think that there may not be controversy since we should be able to interpret this book based on...


10/07/2009 09:47

Matthew (Part 02) – The Virgin Birth

Matthew is writing to Jews. His purpose is to show that Christ not only is the Messiah promised in OT Scriptures but also that this Messiah is more than what they had traditionally expected. The Messiah would be God himself. Matthew begins his book with the genealogy of Jesus. That genealogy...


10/15/2009 08:25

Matthew (Part 03) - The Magi and Their Star

Although we say that Matthew includes one of the two birth narratives of the New Testament, Matthew has very little to say about the birth of Jesus. As far as storyline goes, chapter 1 focuses on the genealogy and Joseph’s handling of the Holy Spirit conception. At the very end, Jesus is born...


10/22/2009 19:01

Matthew (Part 04) - Scriptures Fulfilled

In the first two chapters (the introduction of the book), five times Matthew refers to events as fulfillments of prophecy. But when viewing these events in Christ’s life as the realizations of prophetic predictions, we may think Matthew reaches a bit far to conclude as he does. In fact, liberal...


10/30/2009 16:09

Matthew (Part 05) - Baptism

Would it be permissible to baptize yourself? After all, isn’t baptism your own public profession? Why do you need someone else assisting? Although it may seem plausible, self-baptism does not follow the examples we have in Scripture. From the very first encounter with baptism in the New...


11/04/2009 09:40

Matthew (Part 06) - Temptations

Chronologically, chapter 4 begins immediately after the baptism. From the incredible high point of God’s Spirit descending on Christ as a dove and the voice from heaven announcing Jesus as beloved Son, the Holy Spirit leads Jesus out into the wilderness of Judea, away from all others for a...


11/11/2009 08:25

Matthew (Part 07) - The Beatitudes

Most Bible scholars will offer Luke 6 as the parallel passage for Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount. But there are notable differences. The first is that in 6:7 Luke tells us Christ came down from a mountain and stood on a “level place.” We could surmise that once finished with healing, he retreated...


11/18/2009 09:30

Matthew (Part 08) - Kingdom Principles

We are in the middle of our study of the Sermon on the Mount. But before we jump back into the middle of it, we’ll take a running start review just to be sure we have the background in place before starting off again.   Matthew showed us the baptisms in chapter 3. We learned that the water...


01/02/2010 11:52

Matthew (Part 09) - Pursuing the Kingdom

The next (and last) major section of Christ’s mountain sermon begins in summary fashion. We are told in verse 19-20 that we should not lay up treasures on earth, but rather lay them up in heaven. By now we should recognize that the heaven-earth antithesis speaks of the heart attitude difference...


01/02/2010 11:54

Matthew (Part 10) - Miracles of Power and Authority

Immediately following the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew provides narration of a series of miracles. The miracles are meant to show two things—the authority of Christ and the power of Christ. Both authority and power are important aspects for accepting Christ as Messiah. Without authority, his...


01/06/2010 16:07

Matthew (Part 11) - The Gospel of the Kingdom

 We will put aside our march through Matthew for a moment in order to ensure understanding of certain common Christian terms related to our study in Matthew and also to their relevance in practical application with events of today. The words Heaven, Hell, Kingdom, Hope, and Gospel are quite...


01/14/2010 09:27

Matthew (Part 12) - Separation

Having had time to reflect a little more since the last summary, I have tweaked the definition of the gospel just a bit. The NT presents the gospel as the good news that the God-man Jesus Christ, through his sinless life, sacrificial death, and resurrection to life, accomplished our redemption from...


01/20/2010 17:08

Matthew (Part 13) - Miracles

 As we return to the book of Matthew, we must make sure we keep a tight hold on the major concepts of our last two discussions. I will repeat them again because the more we see them and read through them, the more we may think of them, realizing that they are concepts that should lie at the...


01/27/2010 14:12

Matthew (Part 14) - Mission Statement

Chapter 9 verse 35 provides a typical Matthean bridge that tells us the thought is connected although the events may not be. After the miracles, Matthew speaks of Jesus continuing through the land, teaching and healing. Note that in Matthew 4:23 (an earlier bridge) almost the exact same wording is...


02/03/2010 13:46

Matthew (Part 15) - Messiah or Not?

Three major strongholds existed in Palestine around the Dead Sea. They were Masada, Herodium (both on the west side of the sea), and Machaerus. Machaerus was built around 37 BC by Herod the Great immediately after defeating the Parthians (the empire to the east that previously controlled...


02/10/2010 15:07

Matthew (Part 16) - The Sabbath

 At the end of chapter 11, Jesus implores people to come him “for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” He implies that what the Jews had been experiencing through the covenant activity controlled by the Pharisees and scribes was a burdensome religion more likely to weigh down and depress...


02/19/2010 12:33

Matthew (Part 17) - The Unpardonable Sin

What is the unpardonable sin? Reading Matthew 12:31 we learn that the unpardonable sin is “blasphemy against the Spirit.” But that may not have helped clear up the issue in our minds. What exactly is blasphemy against the Spirit? As always, to come up with an answer, we have to understand the...


03/10/2010 11:41

Matthew (Part 18) - Rectifying Pharisaical Thinking

  That the Pharisees, in all their pompous piety, extended an accusatory finger to Christ and declared his righteous act of mercy exorcising the demon to be powered by Satan himself, must have been received in the heart of Jesus with something more than passive indifference. Last time we...


03/20/2010 09:10

Matthew (Part 19) - Parables

 The parable section of Matthew 13 covers 52 verses. Of those, 23 verses relate to the first parable. The significance of the large percentage devoted to the first parable may not be that this is the most important (as first thought may suggest). Rather, the length is at least partially due to...


03/31/2010 12:17

Matthew (Part 20) - The Death of John the Baptist

  Matthew 14 begins with the reports of Jesus’ activity reaching Herod Antipas. Herod immediately relates the activity of Christ to John the Baptist whom he had put to death. Then Matthew gives an account of John’s death. To understand the surrounding circumstances a bit more, we should...


04/07/2010 09:35

Matthew (Part 21) - The Conflict of the Ages: Humanity vs. God

Matthew 15 begins a section that runs through 16:12. The section both begins and ends with confrontations between Jesus and the religious leaders (from Jerusalem no less). During the events of this sequence, Jesus moves around quite a bit, crossing both Galilee and its sea. The reason for his...


04/21/2010 11:28

Matthew (Part 22) - Defending the Gospel

 As we found last time, the central point to the book of Matthew—which is also central to the Gospel in general, to the New Covenant, and to the very purpose for creation—is to glorify God. Everything about Christianity ultimately points to that focus. But here’s the problem—we are sitting on...


05/13/2010 09:04

Matthew (Part 23) - Kingdom Perspective in Life

Matthew 16 opens with another attack by the Pharisees and Sadducees who view Christ as a threat to their control of the perspective of the Jews. The Pharisees and Sadducees were philosophical enemies. The Pharisees were highly concerned with the conduct of life according to the established...


05/22/2010 10:33

Matthew (Part 24) - Peter the Rock

Back when they had arrived on the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee and Jesus had told his disciples to beware the leaven of the Pharisees, the disciples misinterpreted. And Jesus said that they misinterpreted because of their little faith. We should try to understand what’s happening here...


05/27/2010 09:26

Matthew (Part 25) - The Transfiguration

Christ’s ministry to his disciples was in two parts. Part 1, from when he called them to chapter 16, was to teach them who he was – Messiah, God, King. Peter’s declaration that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God, gave evidence that he, at least, understood that message. Through God’s...


06/04/2010 08:50

Matthew (Part 26) - Temple Tax and Greatness

The last incident related in Matthew 17 provides us with a significant clue about the timing of the event. Verse 24 of that chapter informs us that collectors of the annual half shekel tax were about their duty. The half-shekel tax has its origin in Exodus 30. In that passage Moses is on the...


06/12/2010 09:26

Matthew (Part 27) - Rescuing the Lost Sheep

Matthew 18 must be read and understood in context together. The question of greatness at the beginning leads to the warning not to cause stumbling, which itself leads to the lost sheep, the stages of reconciliation, and the forgiveness parable. When we remember that the whole chapter is connected,...


06/30/2010 10:49

Matthew (Part 28) - Seventy Times Seven

 Matthew 18 instructs us on how to approach some fellow Christian who has sinned against us. We pursue that Christian in love just as Christ pursued the lost sheep. If that one who sinned has no interest in love relationship and reconciliation, even to the point of standing against his/her...


07/14/2010 09:52

Matthew (Part 29) - Laborers in the Vineyard

Jesus, his disciples, and several others are journeying south along the main road just east of the Jordan River. They are headed to Jerusalem for the Passover.  Their discussions so far (as Matthew presents it) have all been on the same theme—a combination of recognition of the equality of...


07/28/2010 17:01

Matthew (Part 30) - Exercising Authority

Jesus and the disciples and a seemingly large crowd of people have been travelling from Galilee to Jerusalem for the Passover. Throughout the trip (starting in chapter 17) to this point in chapter 20, having just crossed back to the west side of the Jordan, Jesus has been teaching about the way in...


08/11/2010 15:54

Matthew (Part 31) - Passion of Passover

Jerusalem was preparing for the yearly feast of the Passover. The first Passover took place near the beginning of Israel’s history as a nation when God raised up Moses to lead them out of Egypt. Pharaoh had refused to let them go. A series of plagues was thrust on Egypt the last of which was...


08/18/2010 10:46

Matthew (Part 32) - Authority, Judgment, and Glory

The sequence of events so far in this final week of Jesus’ earthly life include the following:   Sunday – Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey colt in fulfillment of prophecy, identifying him as Messiah. It is late in the day, and Jesus looks around in the temple (Mark 11:11), probably...


08/25/2010 09:09

Matthew (Part 33) - The Seven Woes

No more than a breath or two separates chapter 23 from the end of chapter 22. Jesus has silenced his detractors of the religious establishment by not only answering their questions in ways with which they could not argue back but also in asking a question of his own to which they could not, in...


09/02/2010 10:18

Matthew (Part 34) - Get Out of Town!

The seventh and final woe of Jesus’ condemnation of the religious leaders holds a few puzzling points. Jesus recognizes the honor that the Pharisees give to past prophets in building and decorating tombs (memorials) to those prophets. But even while they do this, he notes their hypocrisy. They...


09/08/2010 09:19

Matthew (Part 35) - The Sky Will Light Up

Jesus has urged his disciples to flee Jerusalem when they see it surrounded by armies. And history tells us that the withdrawal of the first Roman siege in AD 66 did give Christians the opportunity to leave the city. In Matthew 24:20 Jesus tells them to pray that their flight may not be on a...


09/15/2010 08:24

Matthew (Part 36) - And It Was Night

Jesus has just completed his discussion with the disciples concerning the end of the age and his return. He has told them that when “the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne” (25:31) and say to his people “Come, you who are blessed by...


09/22/2010 09:13

Matthew (Part 37) - Then All the Disciples Left Him and Fled

Jesus is leaving the house of their Last Supper (Passover) and Lord’s Supper (New Covenant Communion) as he mentions to the eleven that they would all fall away that very night. Peter, in typical bold self-confidence, argues that although all others may, he never would. There may be a touch more...


09/28/2010 11:23

Matthew (Part 38) - Crucifixion

Tacitus mentions Pilate as being procurator over Judea. A procurator is a financial administrator. Because of his expanded judicial power and some archaeological found in Rome, most historians now believe Pilate to have been a prefect. After Herod the Great died in 4 BC, his Palestinian kingdom...


10/06/2010 11:12

Matthew (Part 39) - The Great Commission

We will return to Matthew 27 briefly to discuss the miracles that occurred immediately at the death of Christ. Verses 51 through 53 tell us that the veil in the temple marking the entrance to the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom. An earthquake violently shook the area to the extent that...


10/13/2010 09:48

Matthew (Part 40) - Concluding the Great Commission

Understanding the Great Commission is important in understanding the link to and basis for the book of Acts and so that we may embrace it properly as well for our lives. Postmillennialists (PMs) understand the commission to directly inform their eschatological outlook. PMs insist that the logic of...