The Gospel According to Saint Matthew

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 9–38


Who Was Matthew?

Matthew was a publican, or tax collector, for the Roman government (see Matthew 9:9). He left his profession to follow the Savior and became one of the original Twelve Apostles. He was also known as Levi (see Mark 2:14). For more information about Matthew, see “Matthew” in the Bible Dictionary (p. 729).

Why Did Matthew Write This Book?

If the prophecies of the Old Testament and the events in the life of Jesus Christ were compared to links in two separate chains, Matthew’s testimony could be considered a link that joins the two together. Matthew quoted the Old Testament more than any other New Testament writer. The first verses of Matthew show the coming of Jesus as a continuation of the Old Testament story. As you read, you will find that Matthew continually emphasized that Jesus fulfilled the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament as the following chart shows.

Matthew’s Testimony of Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus Christ

Prophecy

Fulfillment

He would be born of a virgin (see Isaiah 7:14).

Matthew 1:18–23

He would be born at Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2).

Matthew 2:1–6

He would be a descendant of Abraham and an heir to the throne of David (see Isaiah 9:6–7; Abraham 2:11).

Matthew 1:1–17

Kings of other nations would bring Him gifts at His birth (see Psalm 72:10).

Matthew 2:1–11

God’s Son would come up out of Egypt (see Hosea 11:1).

Matthew 2:13–15

The Messiah would be called a Nazarene (unknown).

Matthew 2:23

Someone would come before the Messiah to prepare the way (see Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1).

Matthew 3:1–3; 11:10

The Messiah would spend time in Galilee (see Isaiah 9:1–2).

Matthew 4:12–23

The Messiah would use parables (see Psalm 78:2; Isaiah 6:9–11).

Matthew 13:10–15, 34–35

Great miracles would be performed (see Isaiah 35:5–6).

Matthew 11:4–5

The Messiah would be rejected by the rulers of the people (see Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14).

Matthew 21:42

The Messiah would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (see Zechariah 11:12).

Matthew 27:3

The Messiah would be smitten on the cheek (see Micah 5:1), spat upon (see Isaiah 50:6), and mocked (see Psalm 22:7–8).

Matthew 27:30–31, 39–44

The Messiah would be given vinegar to drink (see Psalm 69:21).

Matthew 27:34

The Messiah would be numbered among transgressors in His death and buried with the rich (see Isaiah 53:9, 12).

Matthew 27:38, 57–60

In addition to showing how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah, Matthew taught how Jesus Christ gave a law that was greater than the law of Moses practiced by the Jews in the Old Testament (see Matthew 5–7; especially note Matthew 5:21–22, 27–28, 31–32, 38–42). Matthew also told more stories than Mark, Luke, or John about how the leaders of the Jews rejected Jesus in spite of the many testimonies that He was their Messiah. This emphasis on Jesus being the fulfillment of Old Testament law and prophecy seems to indicate that Matthew had a Jewish audience in mind when he wrote and that he wanted them to know that Jesus was their Messiah.

Only in Matthew

Although many of the teachings and stories of Jesus appear in more than one of the Gospels, the following are found only in Matthew:

  • Some of the details surrounding Jesus’ birth, such as the story of Joseph’s dream and decision to marry Mary (see Matthew 1:18–20), the visit of the wise men (see Matthew 2:1–13), and going to Egypt to avoid Herod and the killing of the children (see Matthew 2:14–18)

  • The complete Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5–7)

  • Ten parables not in the other Gospels

  • The resurrection and appearance of Saints after the Resurrection of the Savior (see Matthew 27:52–53)

  • Some often quoted and important sayings of Jesus, such as, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)

Matthew collecting taxes

Matthew collected taxes for the Roman government.