Matthew, Sept. 21, Apostle and Evangelist

Sept. 21 is the day we celebrate the life of the author of the Gospel of Matthew, both Apostle and evangelist due to the Book he wrote.

Matthew was one of the 12 apostles that were with Jesus Christ throughout His public ministry on earth. The consensus among  scholars is that this book in the Bible was written in the  mid-70’s, 40 years after the resurrection. It was the second Gospel written after Mark, 10 years earlier. 

Matthew was a Jewish tax collector that left his profession to follow Jesus. Matthew gives a personal witness account of many miracles that Jesus performed prior to being crucified on a Roman cross.

He wrote  after the destruction of the temple by the Romans and massacre of the Jewish priests. Many thought they were in the end days. He was a Greek speaker who also knew Aramaic and Hebrew. He drew on Mark and a collection of the sayings of the Lord (Q), as well as on other available traditions, oral and written. He was probably a Jewish Christian and we think the book was written in Antioch in Syria where a community had developed.

The purpose of this book is to prove to readers that Jesus is the true Messiah that was prophesized in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Kingdom begins with us . The author of the Gospel of Matthew, more than the other synoptic writers, explicitly cites Old Testament messianic writings. With 28 chapters, it is the longest Gospel of the four.

It begins by accounting the genealogy of Jesus, showing him to be the true heir to David’s throne. The genealogy documents Christ’s credentials as Israel’s king. Then the narrative continues to revolve around this theme with his birth, baptism, and public ministry.

The Sermon on the Mount highlights Jesus’ moral teachings and the miracles reveal his authority and true identity. Matthew also emphasizes Christ’s abiding presence with humankind

The Gospel organizes the teachings of Jesus into five major discourses: the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7), the Commissioning of the 12 Apostles (chapter 10), the Parables of the Kingdom (chapter 13), the Discourse on the Church (chapter 18), and the Olivet Discourse (chapters 23-25). The emphasis corresponds to the 5 great books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch .

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