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The Gospel of Matthew: Jesus the Son of David and the New Moses

God's Story in Scripture  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  38:08
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An overview of the book of Matthew - considering specifically how the book presents Jesus - First Sunday of Advent Jesus is seen as the promised King, the son of David who came to seek and save the lost

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Have you ever noticed that when we pick up a book - we’ll sometimes do so because of the subject - it’s something that interests us or something that we’d like to learn about.
At other times, we’ll pick up a book because of who the author is. It might be a famous politician or sports figure. It may even be a famous author or someone we’ve read before.
For example, a couple of years ago I picked up a series of audible books that dealt with various aspects of history. I was somewhat intrigued by history. After all there is the the adage that says that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But I was also intrigued by the author - who happened to be the one of Zack and Mel’s history teachers. I was excited to learn that one of their teachers from their little Christian school had actually published multiple books. I picked up these books because of the author.
In some ways, when it comes to reading the gospels, we could start reading a gospel because of the subject - Jesus. They all talk about Jesus - from a different perspective. But sometimes, there is a bit of value in looking at the gospel because of the author. In this case, today, we get to consider the gospel of Matthew.

Introducing The Gospel of Matthew

Matthew, the first of the four Gospels, was likely not the first one written. Many people believe that the stories about Jesus were passed around for a couple of decades and then the Holy Spirit inspired a few men to compile the stories into the gospels that we have today.
Unlike many of our modern books and articles, the gospels do not have by-lines or authors that clearly identify themselves.
From the earliest days of the church, The Gospel of Matthew has been credited to one of Jesus’ disciples - Matthew, aka. Levi, the tax collector.
I do wonder if these men were more concerned with focusing on the subject than they were focused on getting credit for writing.
Being a tax collector, Matthew may have been considered a sell-out to other Jews. You see Rome enlisted various Jewish citizens to collect taxes from other Jews. Their compensation was whatever they could collect over and above the required tax. The system fed on the greed of the individual - but that also left them ostracized by their own people. And yet Matthew, the man who would have been rejected by most of his community, was welcomed by Jesus.
Matthew 9:9–13 ESV
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
So, here we have Matthew, a tax collector called out by Jesus to follow him. This man later gets commissioned by the Holy Spirit to compile the stories of Jesus into a single volume - but for what purpose?
It certainly seems like Matthew wrote his book, from a Jewish perspective to show other Jews that Jesus is the promised Messiah - the Son of David - the promised King of Israel. He does this by depicting the lineage that ties Jesus to the royal line of David and though the constant discussion of the Kingdom of God that drastically contrasts the kingdoms of this world.
Some have suggested that Matthew is also presenting Jesus as the new and better Moses. You see there are a lot of parallels between the two.
Both Moses and Jesus came out of Egypt
Where Moses crossed the Red Sea, Jesus received baptism in the Jordan River.
Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness, Jesus spent 40 days.
Moses received laws on a mountain, Jesus gives laws - or reinterpretation of those laws - on another mountain.
In addition to that, Matthew seems to set up the central part of his book into five big sections - which may cause some to think of the five books of Moses.
(Source: The Bible Project: Matthew)
In considering the overall structure of the book, the Gospel of Matthew can be divided into roughly seven sections - an introduction and a conclusion serve as bookends for five central sections that are each marked by a sermon or discourse. There is some debate as to the exact divisions of the book. For our discussion, we’ll consider these along the divisions that the guys from the Bible Project laid out.
So, in the opening three chapters, Matthew introduces Jesus - the Davidic King and new Moses by

Passing the Baton (Mt. 1-3)

...from the Old Covenant to the New.
These opening chapters depict the lineage of Jesus - showing that he is not only a Jew - a child of Abraham, but he is also in the line of David - Israel’s most beloved King.
Matthew also describes the announcement of Jesus’ birth by connecting him to various Old Testament prophecies:
he was born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Mt. 1:23)
he was born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2)
He was called out of Egypt (Hos. 11:1)
Not only was the birth of Jesus a fulfillment of OT prophecies, but it was spectacular. Throughout the Matthew’s birth narrative, he points out various Angelic encounters that seem to indicate that something supernatural is at hand.
Matthew also uses these opening chapters to introduce John the Baptist as the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah.
Where the prophets of the Old Testament make predictions about this coming Messiah, Matthew passes the baton from them to Jesus as the promised Messiah, and King of David.
He also begins a to comment on Jesus as being “Emmanuel - God with Us” (Mt. 1:23) - a theme that gets revisited from time to time and ultimately concludes the book.
Now that Jesus has been connected to the OT prophecies, Matthew proceeds to the first book or major section of the book by discussing the...

Proclamation of the King and His Kingdom (Mt. 4-7)

In this section, like Moses, Jesus was sent to the wilderness. Where Moses escaped from his sin and then was called by God, Jesus was tested and proved to be sinless. (Mt. 4:1-10)
Now, this new and better Moses is ready to begin his ministry. After calling some initial disciples, Matthew summarizes Jesus ministry in this way:
Matthew 4:23–5:1 ESV
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
It is at this point that Jesus presents the first of the five major sermons or discourses in Matthew’s book - the Sermon on the Mount - in chapters 5-7.
Where Moses went on the mountain to receive the laws from God, Jesus ascends to the mountain to give the laws for his new Kingdom. Sort of like an inaugural address, he makes pronouncements that seem to reinterpret the OT laws - getting more to the spirit and heart of the laws than to the actual dos and don’ts of the law.
He helps his listeners see what it means to live out God’s kingdom here on earth (BibleProject). By announcing the agenda of God’s Kingdom, Jesus lays out priorities for citizens of this Kingdom. Some of these priorities include:
humility (Mt. 5:2-12)
reconciliation (Mt. 5:21-26)
purity (Mt. 5:27-30)
loving enemies (Mt. 5:43-48)
generosity (Mt. 6:1-4)
spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting (Mt. 6:5-18)
the priority of living for the Kingdom of God (Mt. 6:33)
and more
He also made the claim as the fulfillment of the law - a fulfillment that he backs up with actions throughout the rest of the book (Mt. 5:17-20).
His opening sermon made a profound impact on his listeners. Matthew summarizes their response by stating:
Matthew 7:28–29 ESV
And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
So, Matthew seems to be showing us that this new King and this new, better Moses speaks with authority regarding the priorities of God’s kingdom on earth - as some have said - an “upside down” kingdom (ibid).
In order to prove that he has authority, Matthew shows us that Jesus backs up his words with actions as he shows...

Personal contact with the King (Mt. 8-10)

In these three chapters, Matthew lays out a beautiful pattern of miracles in three cycles - proving Jesus has authority - followed by a call to follow him in his Kingdom. Let’s consider this briefly:
Cycle 1:
Cleansing a leper (Mt. 8:1-4)
Healing the Centurion’s servant (Mt. 8:5-13)
Healing Peter’s mother-in-law (Mt. 8:14-17)
Follow me (Mt. 8:18-22)
Matthew 8:18–22 ESV
Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
Cycle 2:
Calms the Storm (Mt. 8:22-27)
Heals Demon possessed men (Mt. 8:28-34)
Heals a paralytic (Mt. 9:1-7)
Follow Me (Matthew’s calling) (Mt. 9:9-17)
Matthew 9:9 ESV
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
There is an extended discussion on who Jesus came to call and on fasting - almost as a brief interlude in the cycles, but then Matthew dives right back in to the third cycle:
Cycle 3:
Girl restored and bleeding woman healed (Mt. 9:18-26)
Two Blind Men Healed (Mt. 9:27-31)
Mute man speaks (Mt. 9:32-34) - following this miracle - we begin to see the pharisees casting doubt on the source of Jesus’ abilities.
Follow Me (Mt. 9:35-38)
Matthew 9:35–38 ESV
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Now that Jesus has proven his authority to his disciples and others through these various miraculous personal contacts, Matthew presents Jesus’ next (second) discourse as he sends out his disciples with his authority. He tells them to go only among the Jewish people to proclaim the good news of the kingdom and to perform miracles in His name. He warns them of persecution and opposition (Mt. 10).
So, just as a new president or political leader might begin his or her administration with a series of executive orders, Jesus expresses his authority by making it personal and then calling people to follow him.
In response to this, Matthew helps us to see that various groups of people react with...

Polarizing views of the King (Mt. 11-13)

(Polarization is Dever’s word)
In this section, Matthew shows various responses to Jesus’ authority.
Yes - Generally, we could see from the previous sections that the people were on board with Jesus - they seemed to be saying “Jesus is the Messiah!” (Mt. 12:23)
Maybe - John the baptist, who was in prison seemed to be asking - “Is He the Messiah?” (Mt. 11:1-18)
No - The religious leaders and even some of his own family scoffed at Jesus and basically responded that “He is not the Messiah!” (Mt. 11:20-12:50)
In many ways, the response that Jesus received is not that different from the responses that our political leaders receive today. I guess polarization is a fact of life.
But Jesus does not seem to be deterred or dejected by the varied responses. His third discourse is a series of parables about those who would follow him). He seems to use these as a sort of commentary on the reality of the situation.
Parable of the Sower/Soils: Just as a sower will sow seed on various soils, so people will respond to Jesus differently (Mt. 13:1-23)
Parable of the Weeds: Just as good things are planted, some will come along to deceive others like an enemy planting weeds (Mt. 13:24-30; 36-43)
He also includes various smaller parables that talk about how the Kingdom of God will grow from something small to something large and the immense value of being a part of the Kingdom (Mt. 13:31-35; 44-52).
The next section of Matthew’s gospel seems to reveal...

Perspectives about the Messiah/King (Mt. 14-20)

This large section is filled with smaller stories that contain people’s perspectives on what the Messiah would be like and what they expect.
Some seemed to want a political leader, others wanted victory over the godless. (The Bible Project).
But in the center of this section, Jesus plainly asks his disciples who he people think he is and who they think he is. It is here that Peter’s confession comes out declaring:
Matthew 16:16 ESV
Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Peter seemed to acknowledge both the Messianic (Christ) nature of Jesus as the anointed one that was foretold by the prophets, but also the divinity - by being the son of God - or even God with us.
It’s at this point that a shift happens in Matthew’s gospel - Messiah as the suffering servant (Isaiah 53).
Matthew 16:21 ESV
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
Robert Gromacki notes:

For the first time, Christ clearly declared His intention to die and to be raised. The disciples did not perceive that the cross had to precede the crown, that Christ had to suffer before He could reign. Genuine discipleship also includes such self-denial.

The revolution that Jesus started would not culminate in His ascension to a throne. This was not going to be a political uprising - but instead it would be a sort of subversive kingdom - as we said before an “upside down kingdom.”
In his fourth discourse (Mt. 18-20), Jesus seems to lay out the values of this “upside down” kingdom - revealing that...
Up-Side Down Kingdom Values:
humility (Mt. 18:1-6) - in response to the disciples asking who was the greatest.
forgiveness (Mt. 18:15-35) - rather than holding grudges or judging, Kingdom people should be forgiving as we have been forgiven.
Sacrifice and Generosity (Mt. 19:16-30) - the rich young ruler asked about what it might take for him to enter the kingdom - Jesus responded that he should sell all he has and follow him. The Kingdom is worth the sacrifice.
Ironically, in response to this discourse, the mother of James and John ask for her sons to be given the seats of honor in His Kingdom. I guess there will always be those who will have false motives behind their reasons to follow him.
The final of the five central sections of the book of Matthew contains the events of passion week. In these encounters, we get to see Jesus...

Proving His Kingship (Mt. 21-25)

The guys at the Bible Project refer to this section as a “clash of kingdoms” as Jesus and the religious leaders clash. Their religious systems and legalism spar with Jesus’ upside down kingdom.
While the people celebrate Jesus as King at the triumphal entry, the religious leaders question his authority and ultimately decide to kill him.
In the fifth and final discourse (Mt. 23-25), we find Jesus sharply critiquing the religious leaders - calling them hypocrites. We also get to see him lamenting over Jerusalem and then teaching his disciples about the end times. In response to what is coming, he calls them to...
Be Ready in the Parable of the Ten Virgins
Be Faithful in theParable of the Talents, and to
Be Compassionate in the analogy of the Sheep and the Goats.
In the conclusion of his gospel, Matthew is...

Presenting the King and His Kingdom (Mt. 26-28)

In these final chapters, we find Jesus anointed at Bethany, betrayed by Judas, and with his disciples - sharing a Passover Meal. At this meal, he seems to take what Moses instituted and gives it new meaning. Jesus becomes the passover lamb who will free people from the slavery of sin.
It’s in these chapters that we see Jesus arrested and then tried in a sort of kangaroo court. He is found innocent by the political leader (Pilate), but then is sentenced to be crucified. There is no appeal, there is no waiting. The sentence is swift.
It’s in these final chapters that we get to see all of the imagery about Jesus come together and refined.
Matthew had presented Jesus as...
The Promised King - but this king is not crowned with gold and does not sit on a physical throne. He is crowned with a crown of thorns and his throne is a cross. The Promised King is the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52-53) and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. His victory was not a military victory over another nation, but it was a spiritual victory over the curse of sin. He is a king who welcomes all who will come in humility, repent of their sins and trust in Him. Have you submitted to this King?
a New Moses - who will lead not just one nation but people of all nations into the glorious kingdom of God. The ways of Jesus’ Kingdom are very different than the ways of this world. Jesus’ teachings are good news to all nations and those who live by His teachings will find that they live lives of purpose, generosity, humility, and forgiveness. Jesus is sending his disciples to be His people into the world - bringing His kingdom to earth as a sort of promised land - not land confined by geographic boundaries, but a promised kingdom identified in Jesus. Finally, Matthew reveals that Jesus is...
Immanuel - God with us - In the opening chapters, Matthew quotes from Isaiah as he shows Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. In the Great Commission - Jesus re-affirms to his followers that He will be with them - even to the end of the age as they go into all the world and make disciples.
Matthew 28:19–20 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Are you His disciple - a citizen of His Kingdom? - if not, turn from you sin, trust in what the Suffering Servant did for you by allowing his body to be pierced for you.
Are you obeying his teachings?
Walk in confidence - knowing the He is with you.
Memory Verse: Matthew 20:28
Matthew 20:28 ESV
even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Let’ pray.
References:
Beale, G.K., Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, 2012.
deSilva, David Arthur. An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods and Ministry Formation. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.
Dever, Mark, The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept, Crossway, Wheaton, 2005.
Gromacki, Robert G., New Testament Survey, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 1974
https://bibleproject.com/explore/matthew/
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