Today is Day 74 in our journey through the Bible in 90 days.

We are officially done with the Old Testament and we’ve moved into the New! We have just over 2 weeks left of our NINETY reading/blogging and we have 26 more books to go! Click HERE to access all of the NINETY blogs as we continue.

Matthew is a welcome change from some of the abrasiveness of the Old Testament prophets. For instance, Malachi isn’t exactly an easy read with stuff like Malachi 1:10…

“‘…I have no pleasure in you,’ says the Lord of Hosts.”

Ouch! I’ll bet that verse isn’t underlined in your Bible or embroidered on your pillows!

However, although Israel found themselves in a backslidden, rebellious state, and God had signed out for 400 years, the book of Matthew breaks the silence with a genealogy. I know, I know, it sounds as riveting as reading the phone book, but it’s actually pretty amazing when you analyze some of the people who made it into the family of Jesus Christ. People like Rahab (the Canaanite prostitute from Joshua 2), David (infamous not only as “the man after God’s own heart,” but also as a lying-lusting-murdering-fornicator), and more. The closer you look at each of their lives, the more 2 main themes emerge: they were all 1) flawed people, and 2) forgiven people. Jesus shed His blood for the people in His own bloodline!

If that’s not enough, how about the author himself? Matthew 10:3 says that he was a tax collector – a profession that most people bitterly hated because of the corruption and personal profit that came with the job. Yes, Jesus can even save corrupt politicians!

The main target audience of Matthew was the Jews. That’s why it begins with a Jewish genealogy, which would have answered a lot of questions for the Jewish mind. That’s also why you’ll find fulfilled Old Testament prophecy specifically pointed out 14 different times throughout the book (1:22, 8:17, 12:17 – just to name a few).

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the “synoptic Gospels” because they have so much similar content. Although John covers a lot of the same stuff, it’s written much differently and includes a lot of unique content.

Matthew’s whole goal in writing the book was to link Jesus to the promises and prophecies that had been given for the last few thousand years. He was the King/Servant/Savior that all of Old Testament history, prophecies, and foreshadows pointed to. The sacrifices pointed to Jesus; the Temple pointed to Jesus; the Feasts pointed to Jesus – it was all about Him…and He had arrived finally.

As do the other 3 Gospels (Mark, Luke, John), Matthew focuses in primarily on Jesus’ 3 years of ministry on earth, leading up to two of the biggest events in history: Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection – HUGE, ground-breaking (literally), eternity-changing events!

Some highlights of Matthew…

> Jesus’ baptism and ministry launch – Matthew 3

> The Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5-7

> When pigs fly – Matthew 8

> Kingdom Parables – Matthew 13

> Feeding the 5,000 (probably closer to 15,000) – Matthew 14

> “Passion week” (the events leading up to and including the crucifixion) – Matthew 21-26

Out of all the amazing things that happen in Matthew, one of my favorite verses is Matthew 27:66 – “So they went out and secured the tomb, sealing the stone and posting guards.” It’s one of my favorites because I know what’s coming: THE RESURRECTION! You can roll the biggest rock you want in front of Jesus’ tomb and post the entire Roman army on guard, but if death can’t hold Him, a rock and some soldiers don’t stand a chance!

I can’t imagine the scene at the end of Matthew as the risen Christ appears to His disciples on the mountain top (truly a “mountain top experience”) and commissions them to preach the Gospel to the world. What a powerful moment that must have been!

I love Matthew because it reminds me that Jesus was a real man just like me. He got hungry, tired, thirsty, and was tempted…and yet He never sinned. God wrapped Himself in skin and came to Earth as a man…but He didn’t just skip past the baby and middle school stage like we may have been tempted to – He went through it all. That’s why Hebrews 4 can reassure us that He has been tempted in all ways as we are – He feels our struggles and our pain!
The sinless, perfect Son of God died in my place, and for that, I will FOREVER be grateful…literally. I’ll spend all of eternity thanking Him for dying in my place!

All in all, Matthew is a fascinating read that gives a great first-hand perspective from someone who walked (physically and literally) with Jesus Himself! Priceless!

Matthew sets the example of someone who heard the call of Christ, turned from his sins, and was saved and used powerfully by the Messiah. That’s Jesus’ whole purpose for coming – to set you free and give you purpose. Embrace Him and embrace your calling! He IS the promised King!