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Jul
29

The Gospel According to Matthew

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What do the following phrases have in common?
Don’t cast your pearls before swine.
He’s the salt of the earth.
She’s been burning the midnight oil.
He waited until the 11th hour.
Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
It’s the blind leading the blind.
The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.
Each of these well know phrases find their origins from the words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew.

For nearly three centuries after the resurrection, the gospel of Matthew was the most highly revered and most frequently quoted work. Its acceptance into the canon of Scripture was immediate and unanimous. Michael Green calls Matthew “the most important single document in the New Testament, providing a systematic account of the birth, life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.” It is widely held that Matthew was written to equip its original Christian Jewish readers with the teachings of Jesus so they could spread the message of God’s reign to the nations. With that being said, Matthew’s gospel has made a tremendous impact on the Church, both ancient and present.

Last weekend I introduced a new sermon series on the Gospel of Matthew. I introduced the book by introducing the author. The Gospel According to Matthew is technically an anonymous work. In fact, all four gospels are technically considered anonymous. The primary reason is that none of the books contain any internal markers that would erase plausible doubt. For example, Paul signed his letters in the opening sentence of each. The authors who penned the gospels did not self identify themselves as such. But early church fathers such as Iraneus, Origin, Eusebius, and Papias all strongly attributed the book to the disciple of Jesus and date it to between AD 50 and AD 60. So for the purpose of this series, I’m going with the testimony of secular history and will present this series of sermons and subsequent posts with the assumption that Matthew, the apostle called by Jesus, is the author. Tomorrow I’ll post more about this introduction by offering a few observations on Matthew himself.

Categories : Matthew

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