Matthew most likely wrote his Gospel for several reasons. (1) He wanted to convince non-Christian Jews of the truth of Christianity, (2) He sought to explain to Christians how their religion is the fulfillment of God’s promises and patterns of activity in the Old Testament, (3) He wanted to give young believers basic instructions in Christian living. (4) He wanted to encourage the church in the midst of persecution from hostile authorities in both Jewish and Roman circles. (5) He desired to deepen Christian faith by supplying more details about Jesus’ words and works.
The Gospel’s theological emphases meld with these purposes. Matthew took pains to demonstrate God’s work in Jesus to bring the fulfillment of His promises to His chosen people, the Jews. Through (or even in spite of) their response, Matthew wanted to show how God offers the identical blessings and judgments to all humanity. This is evidenced in Chapter 10, verses 5 and 6, Chapter 15, verse 24 and Chapter 28, verse 19. He depicted Christ as a teacher through the main sermons in several chapters. But he portrayed him as much more than a teacher, the Son of David, Messiah and Lord of the universe and of human hearts.
Matthew portrays Christian living preeminently as doing the will of God, which is defined as following Jesus in discipleship and obeying all of His commands: Chapter 7, Verses 21 through 27, and Chapter 12, verses 46 through 50.
Christ does not abolish the Old Testament, but the law can be rightly applied in a believer’s life only after one understands how it is fulfilled in Jesus. Matthew is the only Gospel to use the word church in Chapter 16, verse 18, and again in Chapter 18, verse 17. He envisaged his community of followers living on after his death and resurrection and completing his ministry of preaching the kingdom of God so that men and women might enter into a saving relationship with Jesus.
Columbia Prayer Chain: Thursday, February 7
In our prayers: Claudia Strattman, Jennifer Williams, Betty Jo Carson, Gary Davis, Eddie Bolton, Myrna, Esther, Pam James, Doug and Sharon, John Kelchner, Elizabeth Matthews, Nedrick Griffin, Jennifer Handy, Nancy Stuckey, Annemarie Sullivan, Rachel and Randy Wurtzbaugh, Patty Peckham, Denise Byrd, Greg and Lisa Steele, Dean Timothy Jones, Linda Langford, Marty Fritz, Harriet Hancock, Tommy and Robby Palmer, Patty and Ted Mac Laughlin, Janet Long, Bobby Wilson, Debbie and Pat Barry, Betty Jo Sullivan, Patrick and Patricia Barry, Jordan Hill, Doris Clevenger, Charles Sigel, Bob Davis, John Whatley, Nancy Zuckerman, Charles Davis Sr., Bill Carter, Betty Peavy Frick, Joye Cantrell, Fred and Gail, Dale and Norma Sessions, Padge Arrington, Jerry Callahan, Norman Masters
Special prayers for Mary Ellen’s four-year-old grandson, Joseph Patrick, who is fighting cancer
In memoriam: Elwood “Woody” Stapleton, Raymond Hillary Jr., Rebecca Brown Davis, Ruby C. Branham, Terrylynn H. Futrell, Johnny “Smokey” Jackson, James Alvin Teague, Annie Lee Johnson, Louise Woodson Lyle, Joseph Aaron Price, Annie Mae Jones
Our prayers are with: the elderly, the homeless, all currently fighting illness, all beloved pets, our president and congress, our police officers and firefighters, all who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box or email me.