Matthew Introduction: Themes

The Holman Apologetics Study Bible has this to say about the themes in Matthew:

“Each Gospel, though broadly compatible with the others, emphasizes something different about the significance of the life and ministry of Jesus. For Matthew, that significance clearly lies in Jesus’ status as the promised messianic son of David, the king of Israel. Several features of the Gospel are related to this primary theme. Foremost is Matthew’s citation of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the life of Jesus. Matthew is often faulted for taking these “prophecies” out of context and misapplying them. However, his practice must be understood in terms of the conventions of first-century citation generally, and the charge is less appropriate than is often thought. Other features related to the theme of Jesus as promised King include long teaching discourses in which the word of Jesus becomes a new law for the church, a confession of Jesus as the Son of God in divine (as opposed to merely messianic) terms, and an extension of kingdom promises from the Jews to the Gentile nations in fulfillment of the covenant with Abraham.”

Themes

Jesus is the Messiah (Anointed One) and King.  This has implications for those who read the book of Matthew.  If the account is accurate, which I believe it is, the fulfillment of prophecy from the Old Testament and the life and teaching of Jesus on earth indicate that he is the Messiah and King.  This being true, he has been set apart for a task but has also been given authority.  The task is one of making disciples and grafting them into the Kingdom of God.  The nature of that Kingdom is that Messiah is King.  This is something realised in all facets of life.  As one reads the book, Jesus is shown as king of this and that until he is shown as King of Kings and Ruler of All.  The response of the reader is to bow down and submit all of life to the rightful ruler.  Many Christians would say that they have done this once and for all at conversion.  The book of Matthew will challenge us to surrender our lives still further.  For 21st century Americans this sounds like too much of an infringement on our liberties.  In reality, paradoxically, surrender to the Messiah King is true freedom from the oppression of our own false selves on our soul.

Questions

  1. What are the themes in the book of Matthew?
  2. What was the response that Matthew probably desired from those living in Antioch?
  3. What response would Matthew have expected from those outside the church?
  4. How do you need to further establish the Kingdom of God in your world?
  5. Why do many Christians think that they have finished the process of making Jesus king at conversion?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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4 Responses to Matthew Introduction: Themes

  1. HeeJin Choi says:

    1.What are the themes in the book of Matthew?
    -Jesus as king and Messiah
    2.What was the response that Matthew probably desired from those living in Antioch?
    -“Jesus is Messiah and I will surrender my life to Him.”
    3.What response would Matthew have expected from those outside the church?
    – “I would like to know about Jesus who had done many miracles and who resurrected.”
    4.How do you need to further establish the Kingdom of God in your world?
    – I will do my best to pursue intellectual and personal development at where I am for the sake of expanding Kingdom of God.
    5.Why do many Christians think that they have finished the process of making Jesus king at conversion?
    – I think it’s because we Christians oftentimes only indulge in the fact that we are assured eternal life since conversion rather than keep our eyes on the glory of Jesus and sanctify ourselves.

  2. Kristen Patush says:

    1. What are the themes in the book of Matthew?

    A recurring theme in the book of Matthew I see is the idea of Jesus being the “Messiah King” of Israel, which the Jews would have resinated with, as there are in eager anticipation of a King to rise up.

    2.What was the response that Matthew probable desired from those living in Antioch?

    Jesus is the King of Kings and Ruler of all, I must surrender my life to Him.

    3.What response would Matthew have expected from those outside the church?

    “He is not the Ruler or the King. Jesus is trying to claim the throne.” They would have a very earthy mind set.

    4.How do you need to further establish the Kingdom of God in your world?

    I find I often compartmentalize God in my life. I need to hand every aspect of my life over to him, particularly tough for me, school and relationships with people, over to him.

    5. Why do many Christians think that they have finished the process of making Jesus king at conversion?

    I think many Christians do this, because they are forfeiting their sinful self to him completely at this time in their life, and then they forget that they need to continually lay their lives before the King. They need to remember that it is a daily choice to serve the Kingdom and follow the King, not just a one time commitment that will lead to eternal life.

  3. Jonna Leshock says:

    1. The themes in Matthew are that Jesus is the Messiah and King of all.
    2. I think Matthew wanted the people of Antioch to recognize Jesus as their king and to submit their lives to him.
    3. Even though it appears that Matthew speaks predominantly to the Greek-speaking Jews of Antioch, he still has universal appeal. So I believe he would at least want those outside the church to feel challenged in their current beliefs and even become followers of Jesus too.
    4. I need to stop separating my physical and spiritual worlds – to live everyday knowing that God is an active part of everything I do and he is with me everywhere that I go. I especially need to stop trying to control my physical world, stop doing things on my own as if God is not in complete control already. I need to converse with him more regularly in all that I do. I believe that once I can let go of me, I will be much more available in all capacities to be fully led by God. By not recognizing God’s kingdom in my world, I am limiting myself to his leading and limiting myself to fully experiencing his kingdom on earth.
    5. I think many Christians believe they have finished the process at conversion because they do not understand the meaning of having a true relationship with Jesus. It is not as simple as making a single decision and that being the end of it. I think many churches enforce this idea by highlighting the one fact that we are saved at conversion…which is true. But living a Christ-filled life is so much more and as sinners, it is something that needs to be actively pursued and recognized every single day of our lives.

  4. Kelli says:

    I think that as Americans, we have an especially difficult time with kingship. We have no experience of a sovereign ruler. And we value democracy and personal freedom all too highly. The idea that we would reliquish our “rights” to an all-powerful king is completely foreign to us and even abhorrent. It’s in our DNA to fight for our freedom and fight for our rights.

    A true understanding of Christ as king and our place in his world turns that idea on its head. It’s not about us. But we don’t need to “give God the throne” in our lives. He already has it–whether we acknowledge it or not. He graciously allows us to stumble around at his feet, often ignoring his majestic presence. And–in my experience, at least–he can and will do whatever necessary to remind us of who is really in control. He loves us too much to let us persist in the charade.

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