Book of Matthew summary

2006 Apr 10

Summary notes about the book of Matthew:

There is a repeating pattern to what the Bible teaches about Jesus' good news (gospel). There is a part to believe and a part to do. The book of Matthew illustrates this pattern.

The book asks a major question to set up the first main point: Who is Jesus? (16:13-20, 22:41-46)

  • We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the King. (1:1, 2:11, 3:17)
    • His kingdom is not of this world. (3:3, 4:8-10, 4:17)
    • His kingdom does not extend Israel, but replaces it.
    • His kingdom operates alongside the kingdoms of this world. (22:15-22)
    • The kingdom was established through death and resurrection. (16:21-27)
    • The kingdom does not operate by the rules of this world. (5:1-12)
  • We must adopt the king's value system to be in His kingdom.
    • We must change the heart. (5:20, 15:1-20, 22:1-14)
    • We must extend the kingdom through our suffering and death. (10:17-42)
    • We must serve to be great. (20:20-28)


In the sermon on the mount (5-7) Jesus replaces the law. He gives an established action requirement (e.g. don't murder) and shows God's higher goal for the heart behind it (i.e. don't be angry with others - that is the brooding, bitter kind). Jesus is teaching us to think like Him.

In 8, Jesus is doing miracles to illustrate his personal authority and the authority of his words. The scope of implication is expanding.

  • 8:1-4 authority over diseases
  • 8:23-27 authority over the elements
  • 8:28-34 authority over the beings of the spirit world
  • 9:1-7 authority over sin (backed by a physical healing)

John the Baptist asked Jesus from prison for confirmation that he was the Messiah. Jesus pointed out his message and the evidence of miracles as his answer. Then he told the people that John was the greatest human to date. And yet the least person in His kingdom would be greater than John. Why? Because a person in the kingdom would know without doubt the identity of Jesus.

Jesus tells a lot of intriguing stuff in the form of parables - as obscure stories. (13:1-35) Why? So that the ones who wanted to understand would come to Him for more for understanding.

Jesus feeds 5000 (14:13-21) and then feeds 4000 later (15:32-38). The significant difference was that the second time He did it in the region of the Gentiles. In fact it was in the area where he had destroyed a pig herd and had been sent away by the people of the area (8:28-34)! So his kingdom expands to include the Gentiles as well.

In 17:19-20 Jesus talks about the "proverbial" mustard seed faith. (related: 21:21-22) This story is often a source of confusion. The seed is one that starts out small and yet is able to grow to become big. Jesus said that faith like this could move mountains. This refers back to Is 40:3-4 and preparing the way for the Lord. 3:3 establishes that John the Baptist was sent to perform this task Isaiah prophesied. And he accomplished the task without moving any dirt. The mountains are obstacles to Jesus' spiritual kingdom and His kingship. And yes, we do move mountains even today by our faith in the spiritual realm.


The value system perspective used here is based on ideas from the work of Darren Twa.