A 50,000 FT View of the Gospel According to Matthew

Yesterday, we took time to look at the structure of Matthew’s Gospel. There are many ways to look at the structure of the Gospel, but I think this particular view is most helpful. This basic five division structure comes from noting these specific passages:

7:28 And when Jesus finished these sayings,
11:1 When Jesus had finished instructing
13:53 And when Jesus had finished these parables
19:1 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings
26:1 When Jesus had finished all these sayings

These five verses mark out the boundaries of five major sections. Each section has a group of deeds related to one aspect of Jesus’ ministry, followed by a group of words that expand and explain the deeds. The following shows the major groups with the overall theme of each section.

Detailed Outline of Matthew

Introduction: Jesus the Messiah (Matthew 1:1–4:16)

I. First Group: Annunciation of the Kingdom and the Call to Repentance (4:17–7:29)

  A. Deeds: (4:17–25)

  B. Words: Sermon on the Mount (of Matthew) (5:1–7:29)

  II. Second Group: Compassionate Messiah seeks the lost sheep of the house of Israel (8:1–11:1)

  A. Deeds: 10 Messianic deeds of power (8:1–9:35)

  B. Words: Mission discourse (9:36–11:1)

  III. Third Group: Contradicted Messiah conceals the Kingdom from those who rejected it, and further reveals it to those who have accepted it (11:2–13:53, NB 13:11)

  A. Deeds: (11:2–12:50)

  B. Words: Seven Kingdom Parables (13:1–13:53)

  IV. Fourth Group: The Ekklesia (church), i.e. the New Messianic people of God (13:54–19:1)

  A. Deeds: (13:54–17:27)

  1. Separation from Judaism (withdrawals)

  2. Communion with His followers

  B. Words: Rules for the New Ekklesia (18:1–19:1)
NB: Matthew is the only Gospel using Ekklesia (16:18; 18:17 [2x])

  V. Fifth Group: Messiah gives His disciples a sure and sober hope (19:2–26:1)

A. Deeds: Judean Ministry (19:2–22:46)

B. Words: Discourse on Eschatology (end times) (23:1–26:1)

Conclusion: Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Matthew (26:2–28:20)

The Ministry of John and the Ministry of Jesus

We looked at John’s ministry in 3:1–2 (“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”) and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in 4:17 (From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”). Same words, but far different implications. John’s prouncement is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah—the messenger who goes before to prepare for the King. Thus, his message is preparatory for the coming King.

Jesus’s use of the same phrase is radically different. This is the King himself who is announcing his arrival. That is, no longer do the people have to look to someone else, the King is here—look at him, believe on him. Wherever the King is, there the kingdom is. As Jesus increases his presence and ministry, John begins to fade into the background. John himself had prepared people for that (Matthew 3:11), so that when the people noticed the shift, they came to John to see whether he was upset by that change. John was ready with the answer:

And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and call are going to him (John 3:26)

[John said:] “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

John serves his purpose by introducing people to the Messiah. He also prepares them so that they are ready to meet him. Rightly in Matthew’s Gospel, John fits within the Introductory material (1:1–4:16). He is mentioned again in 11:2–19 when John is in prison. Jesus once again confirms John’s prophetic role, by telling John’s disciples to report what they have witnessed: signs of the King’s work: signs that conceal Jesus to those who refuse Jesus, yet signs that reveal Jesus to those who believe (11:4–6).


Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, you once proclaimed salvation; now grant that we may know this salvation and serve you in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen


About exegete77

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