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Sunday, September 01, 2013

1 - Jesus: King of the Jews [A]

Matthew 1:1 by Robert Dean
True stories of the lives of famous people quickly move to the top of the best sellers' charts. Listen to this lesson to get in at the beginning of the engrossing story of the life of Christ as told by a once-hated tax collector, Matthew. See how his emphasis is on Christ as the promised Messianic king. Buckle your seatbelt for a "fly-over" view of the entire book and its six-point outline to get you ready for the not-to-be-missed practical ways this gospel can impact your life.
Series:Matthew (2013)
Duration:57 mins 41 secs

Jesus: King of the Jews
Matthew 1:1
Matthew Lesson #001
September 1, 2013

A study on the life of Christ is a little bit daunting because not only do we have to deal with just the incredibly packed earthly ministry of our Lord but there are certain scholarly and academic issues that are quite complex that deal with an understanding and interpretation of the Gospel. Also, as we get into a study of the Gospels we often focus on the different discourses of Jesus. They are extended teaching episodes in the life of Christ. There are five in the Gospel of Matthew. What we will see is that being a disciple and becoming a disciple—a word that simply means to be a student or learner—is a major emphasis in Matthew. One of Matthew's purposes in writing this is to teach and instruct. It has a very solid emphasis on teaching and instruction. In fact that word "disciple" is primarily used in the Gospel of Matthew as opposed to the other Gospels.

The are four Gospels. John is the distinct Gospel and I want to tackle the first of the synoptic Gospels. It is called a synoptic Gospel from the same basic word like "synonym" in that Matthew, Mark and Luke are very similar to one another. They don't say exactly the same thing, there are certain episodes and verses that are identical and some that are different, and each approaches the life of Christ from a different perspective.

We read in the Gospel of John that Jesus did many more works and taught many other things and if they were written down not all the books of the world could contain them. So when we look at the fact that there is this tremendous array of information about the life of Christ and His teaching we realize that each one of these Gospel writers came to that material with a different emphasis. Each Gospel writer wanted to emphasize a distinct aspect of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew comes to present Jesus as the Son of David, the messianic King. Mark comes to show that Jesus is the servant of the Lord. Luke comes to show that Jesus is the Son of Man, tracing His genealogy all the way back to Adam rather than as Matthew does to Abraham. Then John presents Jesus as the Son of God. There is no contradiction between the four Gospels but they each present a different case. They are not biographies per se. They are divine editorials, as it were, on who Jesus is. Each presents Him from this different vantage point.

Of the three synoptic Gospels Luke is the only one written chronologically. We come to an approach to something like a biography (which a lot of people mistakenly think the Gospels are) and we think in terms of how European history has developed in our culture, and we look at it in terms of chronology. The approach of Matthew and Mark—and John to some degree—is less chronological. There are sections in Matthew that are chronological. The first seven chapters are basically chronological but subsequent episodes are not. What Matthew is doing is demonstrating a thesis statement, and that is that Jesus is indeed the Messiah from the Old Testament who was prophesied and promised. He fits the credentials. And He came to Israel, offered Himself as their messianic King, and He was rejected. He offered the kingdom, which had been promised and foretold in the Old Testament, and they rejected the King the kingdom. So that kingdom has now been postponed and something unexpected and previously unrevealed has been inserted between the time of the first century and the time when Jesus will come and once again offer the kingdom to Israel. The nation will at that time realize the kingdom of the Messiah. Matthew is writing this Gospel for that purpose.

Matthew is also known as Levi, the son of Alphaeus, his Aramaic name. He was not well accepted by his peers because he was a tax collector. He was from Capernaum, a city that Jesus made His home. As a tax collector he was considered to be both a thief and a traitor by his peers. By God's grace he was selected as one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, and his Gospel is at the front of the New Testament. He wrote his Gospel to Jewish Christians. These are Jewish Christians living in Judea before the destruction of the southern kingdom and the second temple in AD 70, and the dispersion of the Jews further into the diaspora.

Matthew may have been one of the earliest books of the New Testament written. Popular scholarship influenced by liberal presuppositions often puts Mark as the first Gospel. That has been debunked by a number of excellent studies and the traditional view has always been that Matthew was the first Gospel. This follows the principle laid down by Paul in Romans: to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. It was designed to explain to Jewish Christians before the destruction of Jerusalem and help strengthen their understanding of who Jesus is as the messianic King, His offer of the kingdom to Israel, the rejection of the kingdom, and how the postponement of that kingdom has now led to a new era, a new dispensation known as the church age where God is working to bring together a new people of God that is comprised of Jew and Gentile alike. And that this era will end and followed by a time of judgment and discipline known as the 7-year Tribulation period, the time of Jacob's trouble, and that will end with the second coming of Jesus as the Messiah when Israel turns to Him, accepting Him and inviting Him to return to deliver them, at which time He will establish His literal, physical, geopolitical kingdom on the earth.

Matthew is written to Jewish believers to encourage them in terms of what God's plan is in history, but also to challenge them as those who will be future participants in (as we all will as church age believers) the administration and rule of the messianic kingdom, ruling and reigning with Christ, and that we are in training now in preparation for that future role when we return to rule with our Lord. The presentation of Matthew has as part of its focus in challenging us to live the kind of righteous life that can only be produced in us through God the Holy Spirit.

So Matthew is written, first of all, to convince the Jewish audience that Jesus is the Messiah in whom they have believed, and to give them the evidence they need to show that Jesus was indeed who He claimed to be, the promised Son of David. Secondly, it is written to explain why the kingdom was postponed despite the fact that the King had already arrived. Matthew traces that kingdom plan through this Gospel. And third, it explains God's interim program—how He has postponed the kingdom and what the sons of the kingdom will experience. This is seen in the parables in Matthew chapter thirteen. As part of his sub-theme we see an inclusion of the Gentiles from the very beginning. 

Matthew's focus is on Jesus as the King of the Jews.

There are six basic sections for Matthew. In the first ten chapters we have the presentation of the Messiah, including His birth, the inauguration of His ministry when John the Baptist baptizes Him, and the initial phase of His ministry. This leads to the crisis point in His conflict with the Pharisees and His rejection by the Pharisees in chapter twelve. Following that are chapters focusing on the Messiah's instruction on the revised kingdom program—chapters 13-20. There is a shift in the first ten chapters in Jesus' instruction. It is public; it is an appeal to the Jews as a whole; it is focused on the house of Israel, not on the Gentiles. After the rejection by the Pharisees in chapter thirteen is a focus on training and preparing the disciples for their future ministry in the coming church age. There are three basic warning passages where He tries to prepare them for His coming crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. This leads to the fourth section, chapters 20—23, His final presentation. This is Palm Sunday when He enters into Jerusalem and the official and final rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. This is followed by questions from His disciples regarding when the future restoration will take place in what is known as the Olivet Discourse on the Mount of Olives. Jesus describes what is entailed in His future return in Matthew chapters 24, 25. Next is chapters 26-28, the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of the Messiah.

The book begins in chapters one and two with the story of the birth of the Messiah. This is introduced in the first verse of the book, "The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Note that David is placed before Abraham, because the emphasis in Matthew is going to be on Jesus the son of David, the rightful heir to the Davidic throne, the one referred to by God in the Davidic covenant, and that He is the fulfillment of that as the promised messianic King. The genealogy demonstrates His descent from David, His descent from Abraham as fulfilling both the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants. One thing to note is that four women are included in His genealogy. No women are included in the genealogy in Luke chapter three. The four listed here are women of somewhat scandalous pasts. They are Gentiles, and this foreshadows the inclusion of the Gentiles in God's kingdom in the future.

Starting in vv. 18-25 we have a reference to the description of the virgin conception and birth, this fulfillment of the Isaiah prophecy that the Messiah would come through a virgin conception and be called Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14). To further show the messianic credentials of Jesus of Nazareth, in chapter two Matthew talks about how He is honored by the Magi, a group of Parthian elites who were responsible for identifying and elevating the kings in Parthia. And they are Gentiles, so their inclusion here again foreshadows recognition by the Gentiles. Notice that the Gentiles honor Him as King but the king of the Jews, Herod, rejects Him. We will see throughout Matthew that Gentiles respond to Jesus as Messiah whereas the Jews do not. 

In the midst of that story Matthew informs that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that, too, is a fulfillment the messianic prophecy from Micah 5:2. The opposition from Herod also indicates His messianic credentials as it goes back to Genesis 3:15 when there is the prophecy that the seed of the woman (Jesus) was going to meet opposition from the seed of the serpent, as indicated by king Herod and his virulent opposition to Jesus as he seeks to kill Him by killing every male infant in Bethlehem.

We also see the flight into Egypt and the return from Egypt, and Joseph and Mary making their home in Nazareth. Matthew informs us that all of this fits into patterns revealed in the Old Testament, again affirming the credentials of Jesus of Nazareth.

Then we skip over his childhood and the next time we are introduced to Jesus it is in the context of His cousin's ministry, the ministry of John the Baptist. John the Baptist is the forerunner of the Messiah. He fits the pattern as prophesied in the Old Testament in Isaiah 40:3, that there would be one who would come before the Messiah and who would announce His coming. Starting with John the Baptist Matthew begins to trace the offer, the rejection, and the postponement of the kingdom throughout Matthew. Notice John's message in 3:2 is: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." He is addressing his Jewish audience in terms of the Old Testament promise and prophesied kingdom, and if they are going to realize this kingdom and the kingdom blessings promised then they must first be aligned rightly with God. God had promised unconditionally to Abraham that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the heaven and that all the nations would be blessed through him. David promised an eternal king on an eternal throne with an eternal kingdom. But the realization of that kingdom and the blessing of that kingdom was dependent upon an obedient generation. In the Old Testament there were many times, to often, when Israel was apostate and so in order for the kingdom to come the generation at the time of the offering had to respond positively to the offer of the kingdom and be in line with God's plan and righteousness. This is why Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount, fits at the very beginning of Matthew. It is showing the kind of righteousness required for entry into the kingdom.

Following the announcement by the forerunner of the Messiah we have the inauguration of the Messiah's ministry in Matthew 3:13-17 when Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist. This is a unique baptism because it wasn't John's baptism, which was a baptism related to repentance, because Jesus didn't need to repent. Jesus was sinless and perfect. Jesus' baptism was unique because it was the sign of the inauguration of His ministry as the Messiah.

At His baptism He is not only authenticated by John as a prophet, He is authenticated by God who announces from the heavens, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." Then a dove who is a manifestation of God the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus. So there is this public recognition, validation by both a prophet and by God Himself, who inaugurate the ministry of the Messiah. 

Immediately after the public identification of Jesus at that baptism He is led by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 4:1) into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The purpose for this at the beginning is to test and show the qualification of Jesus as the Messiah, that unlike Adam he is not going to yield to the temptation of Satan and that He is going to pass these three temptations with a perfect score. He is tempted in the areas of the lust of the flesh, the pride of life and the lust of the eyes, as described in 1 John 2:17. He successfully endures this temptation (Hebrews 4:15), which qualifies Him as the perfect Messiah who has the kind of righteousness necessary to be the King of Israel. He responds to each of the tests by quoting Deuteronomy, parrying the temptations of Satan by quoting Scripture, showing the sufficiency of Scripture in handling temptation. Jesus doesn't handle the temptation by relying upon His deity, He handles it by relying upon the Word of God and tools that God has given Him. So that encourages us in that we don't have to yield temptation. We can resist temptation on the basis of the Word of God and the Spirit of God.

The last part of chapter four describes the beginning of His ministry. He goes back up to Galilee and announces the same basic message as John  the Baptist. Matthew 4:17 NASB "From that time Jesus began to preach and say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" It is the offer of the kingdom.

Matthew 4:23 NASB "Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people." We have to pay attention to those three participles because this describes what is going to come in the next few chapters. Jesus is going to be teaching in Matthew 5-7 the kind of righteousness necessary for the kingdom of God, and then in chapters 8 and 9 He is going t be healing all kinds of sickness and disease, demonstrating His authority over every realm of creation as befits the messianic king, as foretold by the prophets. 

In Matthew chapter five we see His instruction to His disciples regarding the standard for kingdom righteousness. The key idea is really presented in Matthew 5:20 NASB "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses {that} of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." His point is that in terms of human viewpoint the righteousness is pretty high. They seemed like extremely moral religious people. How could anyone be more moral and religious than the Pharisees? And Jesus is saying human righteousness isn't good enough, it has to be qualified as the perfect righteousness of God. The Sermon on the Mount is basically an exposition on the kind of righteousness that is necessary to have to enter into the kingdom, and it will be exhibited in the lives of those who are referred to as the sons of the kingdom—those who have entered into the kingdom.

Eight things covered in the Sermon on the Mount

The beatitudes, 5:3-12.

The influence of the sons of the kingdom, 5:13-16.

The relationship of the kingdom to the Law, 5:17-48. Basically what we see here is Jesus giving the divine viewpoint interpretation of the 

Mosaic Law and divine righteousness in contrast to the legalistic and superficial view presented by the Pharisees.

  The relationship of the kingdom to public and private righteousness, 6:1-18.

  The relationship of the kingdom to wealth, 6:19-34.

  The relationship of the kingdom to judging, 7:1-6.

  The kingdom righteousness can be received by prayer and exhibited in conduct, 7:7-12.

  A comparison of Christ's teaching on righteousness with that of the Pharisees, 7:13-27.

In chapters eight and nine we see the teaching and healing of Jesus. In chapter eight we have described the authority of the Messiah. There are ten aspects to these chapters.

1.  He has authority over disease, 8:1-17. We see that He heals a leper. That was thought by the Pharisees to be one of the most significant signs of the Messiah. He also heals a centurion's son and is responsible for healing Peter's mother-in-law. He heals many who are demon possessed. Matthew makes a point that all of this is to show what was prophesied by Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 53:4 that Jesus is the one who has authority over disease.

2.  He has authority over his disciples—to call out disciples and describe the qualification of a disciple, 8:18-22.

3.  When He stills the waves on the Sea of Galilee He is demonstrating His authority over creation, 8:23-27.

4.  We see His authority over demons as He casts out demons. The word exorcism is never used of the work of Jesus and the disciples, only the term "cast out" because that demonstrates His authority, 8:28-34.

5.  He has the authority to forgive sins as seen by His healing of the paralyzed man, 9:1-8.

6.  He has the authority to forgive the worst sinners. The example is the fact that He is calling Matthew to be a disciple, for which He is criticized by the Pharisees.

7.  He has authority to usher in a new dispensation because He is showing that the difference between the way in which John handled things and the way in which He handled things with His disciples.

8.  He has authority to restore health and life as He restores a young girl to life, and also restores a woman to health, 9:18-26.

9.  He restores sight and speech to the two blind men and the mute man at the end of chapter nine. This indicates the fact that these blind men see who Jesus is even though they are blind, but the Jews don't see who Jesus is even though they are observing all of His words and works. This increases His opposition and we see a foreshadowing of the ultimate rejection of Jesus in 9:34 when the Pharisees said, "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons."

10.  Then we see a transition starting to take place at the end of Matthew chapter nine and into chapter ten where Jesus is sending out His disciples to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They are not to go to the Gentiles, which means that this message is restricted, the message of the kingdom going to the Jews. Matthew 9:35 NASB "Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness."

In chapter ten He gives instructions to His disciples to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. When they go they are to preach, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." The same message as John the Baptist. They, too, have received delegated authority to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out demons. This is to indicate their authority from Jesus that they represent the Messiah. 

So what we have seen up to this point as Matthew is addressing his audience is he is reminding them of the credentials of Jesus as the Messiah, and that He is the one who demonstrated that He fulfilled all of the prophesies and credentials as seen in the Old Testament. Not only did the early events in Jesus' life point to His identity (chapters 1-4), but so does the fulfillment of His ministry of preaching the kingdom, teaching and healing. This lays the foundation now for understanding what happens in the next two chapters, which is the rejection of the Messiah.

There are three things to highlight here. First, John the Baptist, the Messiah's forerunner, is described in chapter eleven as having doubts now about Jesus' identity. John has been in prison about a year and now he is wondering because he has the conception about the kingdom that many Jews did, a political kingdom at that point rather than a first and foremost a kingdom established on a spiritual foundation. So He is wondering if Jesus is really the Messiah. Jesus answers by pointing to His credentials and pointing to John's own unique role as a prophet.

Now if John is not sure who Jesus is and John is Jesus' first cousin, and John heard all of the miraculous stories about the birth, and John saw what happened when he baptized Jesus—God the Father spoke from heaven and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove—and he has doubts, what hope is there that Israel is going to respond? It is more foreshadowing, preparing us for the fact that it doesn't look to good in terms of Israel's response.

Then in 11:16-30 Matthew shows how Jesus' messianic claims are rejected by the various cities. Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum all reject Jesus, in contrast to the Gentile cities of Tyre, Sidon and Sodom.

The permanent break comes in chapter twelve. Jesus heals on the Sabbath. He and His disciples go through grain  fields and pick grain on the Sabbath. This just inflames the Pharisees. Then when He casts out a demon on the Sabbath they accuse Him of doing it in the power of Beelzebub, which is another term that they use for the chief of the demons. Matthew 12:24 NASB "But when the Pharisees heard {this,} they said, 'This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.'"

Matthew 12:31 NASB "Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven." This "blasphemy against the Spirit" is misinterpreted by most people. It is a historically defined incident. It is the rejection of the testimony of the Holy Spirit to the identity of the Messiah at that point in the incarnation. It can't happen today. Because of that rejection Jesus is announcing an inevitable judgment on Israel.

Matthew 12:32 NASB "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the {age} to come." When is that age? It is still in the age of Israel. The age to come is talking about the church age. What He is indicating here is that the destruction of Jerusalem is inevitable. Now the potential is that even after the resurrection (because in Acts there is a return to the proclamation of the gospel and holding out the hope of repentance to Israel) if the next generation would respond positively to the gospel message of the kingdom, then it would change what would happen immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem. In other words, we would have had a very short church age. That is not what happened but that is what the potential was as least. 


Then in chapters 13-20 we come to the Messiah's instruction about the revised kingdom program. Now that the kingdom has been rejected by the leaders Jesus shifts gears and He focuses on training and preparing the disciples for what would happen. What comes first is eight parables on the mysteries of the kingdom. This is not a mystery form of the kingdom. Literally it is "the mysteries of the kingdom." The word "mysteries" as it is used in Scripture refers to previously unrevealed teaching or instruction about the kingdom. The reason that now new revelation is coming is because with the postponement of the kingdom there is going to be new revelation about what will take place between this time and the final establishment of the kingdom. These eight parables here describe aspects of the present or current age. It is not a kingdom age, there is no spiritual form of the kingdom or mystery form of the kingdom; the kingdom is always a Davidic, messianic kingdom that is literal on the earth and it does not come into effect until the Millennial kingdom.

In the parable of the sower Jesus informs them that there will be varying responses to the gospel in the intervening age.

The second parable is the parable of the wheat and the tares. It indicates that during this time it will be difficult to discern between those who are saved and those who are unsaved in the visible church during the church age.

The parable of the mustard seed teaches that during the church age Christendom will have numeric and graphic expansion from an extremely small beginning.

The parable related to earth and treasure teaches that Christ came to purchase Israel but Israel remained in unbelief, and will remain in unbelief for most of the church age until the end of the age.

The pearl of great price refers to Christ's death that redeems members of the church throughout the church age.

The parable of the dragnet teaches that there will be a coexistence of the righteous and the unsaved throughout the church age.

The parable of the householder teaches that these previously unrevealed truths must be added to previously revealed truth. In other words, the new is added to the old to understand God's plan and purpose.

Then we get an illustration of why the interim age is necessary, in 13:53—14:12. Jesus is rejected at Nazareth and John the Baptist is beheaded and we see continuing opposition and a continuing negative warning indicating that this rejection is increasing in its intensity.

Starting in 14:13 and going through 20:28 the Messiah begins to train His disciples for the interim age. The basic issue in all of these episodes, from the feeding of the 5000, walking on the water, is that they are all designed to teach the disciples that if they are going to be successful in their future ministries they have to learn to walk by means of faith and trusting in God to provide for them and to supply their needs.

There are examples where Jesus sends them out to heal. This isn't public like in the first episode; now it is private. And He is training them because they will be carrying out these signs and wonders as part of their future ministry during the apostolic era as described in Acts. Throughout this time the Pharisees continue to attack Jesus and His disciples, and Jesus defends them in 15:1-20. These events are used in order to teach the disciples the difference between the grace of God and the legalism of the Pharisees.

In Matthew chapter fifteen the emphasis is that there must be an internal transformation, that the Pharisees are hypocrites—it is merely external—and there has to be an internal transformation. This is once again reinforcing the fact that the righteousness that God demands is different from that which is produced from human effort and self-righteousness.

There is an event in Matthew 15:22-28 when a Canaanite woman is healed. This is designed to teach the disciples that there is an expansion of God's plan to the Gentiles. We see more and more of a response from Gentiles during this period.

In chapter sixteen we see the great identification of Jesus as the Messiah in verses 13-20. This is in the center of a Gentile area in Caesarea Philippi. Matthew 16:13 NASB "Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?'" There are 32 uses of the title Son of Man in Matthew. This is a messianic title and so by reiterating this title again and again Matthew is reinforcing the fact that Jesus is the Messiah.

Matt 16:14, 15 NASB "And they said, 'Some {say} John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?'"

At this point Peter steps up. Matthew 16:16 NASB "You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living God." Jesus responds: "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal {this} to you, but My Father who is in heaven."

Then Jesus said: "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock [his understanding of Him as Messiah] I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." "I will build my church" is future tense, indicating that there is no church up to this point; it is all yet future. He identifies the authority of the apostles after that.

Then immediately He gives the first of three statements regarding the fact that He will go to Jerusalem where He will suffer and be killed and be raised the third day. They are not too happy with that; they really don't understand it. But Jesus understands that having announced now that the kingdom has been postponed they do need a little bit of encouragement. So the episode in chapter seventeen focuses on the Mount of Transfiguration where there is a foretaste of the kingdom given to James, John and Peter. And again there is a heavenly affirmation of who Jesus is. Matthew 17:5 NASB "… This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" 

Chapter seventeen continues this focus on Jesus as the Messiah. He continues to give warning about the fact that He is going to Jerusalem and die, verses 22, 23. "… The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day. And they were deeply grieved."

There is a lengthy discourse in chapter eighteen. He uses several parables to teach about forgiveness and about the grace of God. He is continuing to train the disciples to rely upon the grace of God and God's grace provision for them in future ministry.

In chapter nineteen the Pharisees ask Him questions about marriage and divorce and Jesus uses this opportunity to teach the disciples that authority is not in the teaching of the Pharisees but in going back to the original scriptural revelation. As we go through these chapters we see that Jesus trains His disciples, prepares them for His future death and for their future ministry in the up-coming church age. Matthew's Jewish audience is being reminded that they do not need to reject this new ministry outreach to the Gentiles, even though it does not directly involve the established ministry of the kingdom. That has been postponed and He is preparing them for that as well.

When we come to chapters 20-23 we see the formal presentation of the King as He enters into Jerusalem. The crowd does not really understand who he is. They refer to Him in 21:11 as Jesus the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee. Just prior to that as Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem he goes through Jericho and two blind men cry out to Him. Matthew 20:30 NASB "And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, 'Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!'" This illustrates the spiritual blindness of Israel. The two physically blind men understand He is the Son of David but the Jews still refer to Him as Jesus the prophet. So even though they are accepting Him on Palm Sunday they don't understand His role as messiah; they are not accepting that.

As a result of that and the conflict Jesus brings judgment upon Jerusalem. Matthew 23:37-39 NASB "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!'" That is taken from Psalm 118:26 indicating that when the Jews as a corporate body call upon Jesus to save them, then He will come and establish the kingdom. But until then it has been postponed.

Following that the disciples ask Him, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what {will be} the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" This is described in Matthew chapters 24 and 25. This is the fifth section in the book, it describes the postponement and eventual establishment of the kingdom, and here He describes the times of the future Tribulation period and the final acceptance by the Jews of Jesus as the Son of Man. This is indicated by several parables that are important to understand as being related to Israel, not to church. The parable of the ten virgins emphasizes that they should be ready for Him to return. The parable of the talents emphasizes that the Messiah has the right to distribute rewards on the basis of faithfulness. The last parable has to do with the sheep and the goats judgment, emphasizing that until the kingdom comes it is the responsibility of Gentiles to support and take care of God's people the Jews.

In chapters 26-28 we come to the last section, which deals with the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In chapters 26 to 27:32 there is the description of all the events that go up to the cross: the plot to crucify Jesus, His anointing by Mary, Judas's betrayal, the last Passover, the last supper observance, and the establishment of the Lord's table. Jesus predicts Peter's threefold denial of Him. Then there is His time in Gethsemane, the arrest in Gethsemane followed by the trials of Jesus. There are five trials mentioned in Matthew. There are actually six.

Then in chapters 27:33-56 Matthew shows that His death is in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, with citations from Psalm 22:1 and Psalm 69:21. His death is also accompanied by several supernatural manifestations. In Matthew 27:51 the veil of the temple is ripped in two from top to bottom. In verse 52 graves around Jerusalem are opened and many of the bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep are resurrected and walked about Jerusalem, appearing to many and testifying to the identity of Jesus. But still Israel does not repent. In contrast to the negative volition of the Jews, the Gentile centurion looks at what happens on the cross. Matthew 27:54 NASB "Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, 'Truly this was the Son of God!'" 

He is buried for three days and three nights based on the sign of Jonah and then early on Sunday morning we have the story of the resurrection of Christ, which vindicates and validates His death on the cross. As He appears to His disciples at the end He gives them a final mission, as described in Matthew 28:19, 20. Just as He had come teaching and healing, now they are to go and make disciples—which means to make students, or train others in the teaching of the righteousness related to our future role in the kingdom—of all the nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That represents evangelism and bringing them to an understanding of the gospel of salvation, i.e. salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, and then "teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." 

Matthew is a Gospel that is not written to evangelize Jews, though it could be used for that purpose, but to Jews who are already saved, have already accepted Jesus as the Messiah, and to affirm the fact that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, that he did come to offer the kingdom. That offer was rejected and the kingdom was postponed, and so it is a challenge to them as it is to us that we are now living in the church age and are to live in light of our rile and destiny in the messianic kingdom. There is a tremendous amount of practical application that we will see as we go through Matthew.