Key Themes in Matthew

1. Portrait of Jesus. Jesus is the true Messiah, Immanuel (God incarnate with his people), Son of God, King of Israel, and Lord of the church.1:1, 23; 2:2; 14:33; 16:16; 18:20; 21:5–9
2. The bridge between Old and New Testaments. Jesus fulfills the hopes and promises of the OT through his messianic genealogy, fulfillment of OT prophecies, and fulfillment of the OT law. These bridging qualities may have been one reason Matthew was chosen to begin the NT canon. Another possible reason is that many in the early church thought that Matthew was the first Gospel written, and another is that it was personally written by an apostle, in contrast to Mark and Luke.1:1–17, 22–23; 2:4–5, 15, 17, 23; 5:17–20
3. Salvation-historical “particularism” and “universalism.” Matthew’s Gospel traces God’s continuing work of salvation within Israel (“particularism”) and extends this saving work to all the peoples of the earth (“universalism”), through the person and work of Christ.10:5–6; 28:19
4. The new community of faith. The early church included both Jewish and Gentile Christians. Matthew’s Gospel would have encouraged them to transcend ethnic and cultural barriers to find unity in service to Jesus the Messiah as members of his universal church.11:28; 16:18–19; 28:19
5. The church is built and maintained by Jesus’ continuing presence. God’s saving work in the present age is carried out chiefly by and through the church, which Jesus continues to build and inhabit. Anyone who responds to Jesus’ call—whether Jew or Gentile, male or female, rich or poor, slave or free—is brought into the fellowship of his church to enjoy him and participate in the community of his kingdom.16:18; 18:15–20; 22:10; 28:20
6. A “great commission” for evangelism and mission. Jesus’ command to “make disciples of all nations” is found only in Matthew and has motivated countless believers to reach out to the lost with the good news of the gospel. As Jesus made disciples in his earthly ministry, he commissions his church to follow his example.28:19
7. Jesus’ five discourses recorded in Matthew can be viewed as a manual on discipleship.The presentation of five of Jesus’ major discourses, addressed at least in part to his disciples, forms the most comprehensive collection of Jesus’ instructional ministry found anywhere in Scripture. They paint a holistic picture of life lived in obedience to Christ, and the church has used them to instruct disciples through the ages.chs. 5–7; 10; 13; 18–20; 24–25

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