Using Matthew As A Witnessing Resource
The Gospel of Matthew The Old Testament was written to prepare the world for the coming Messiah. The New Testament is the fulfillment of these prophetic and redemptive truths. The Old Testament prophets were proclaiming, “HE’s coming! HE’s coming! The Savior of the world is Coming!” The New Testament proclaims, “HE’s arrived!” The New Testament comprises 27 books; 260 chapters; 7,959 verses; 181,253 words. The name of Jesus occurs over 700 times in the Gospels and the book of Acts. The name “Christ” which means “Annointed One” occurs 60 times in the Gospels and Acts and some 240 times in the epistles and the Book of Revelation. The four gospel accounts, by the four different authors, are not histories or biographies of the life of Christ; but rather, they are portraits of the long awaited Messiah, who was Israel’s King and the Savior of the world. Throughout the Old Testament, every prophet boldly proclaimed over and over that this coming Messiah would come and be the King of the Jews. The Gospel means “The Good News” and all four of the Gospel authors focused upon this reality. The Book of Matthew is the first book in the New Testament. Written by the once lost tax collector Matthew, this book is known as one of the books in the Synoptic Gospels, which means to see with or together. Although Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote very distinctly with different audiences in mind, they never-the-less had very similar accounts of the life of Christ. Matthew, who was a Jew, had a Jewish audience in mind. Mark was writing primarily to the Romans. Luke had a Greek audience in mind. John was writing to the entire world. As a diamond that is held up to the light eminates incredible beauty when observed from different angles, even so, the Holy Spirit of God very carefully and accurately reveals Jesus through these different authors. The Jews were looking for their King. A king has to have a royal lineage, and therefore, Matthew takes great care in presenting the royal lineage of Israel’s King and His birth, and Jesus is revealed in the book of Matthew as the King of the Jews. The Roman Empire had millions of slaves and servants. The Romans who built buildings, tremendous roads, (as the old adage goes “every road leads to Rome”) were concerned what a servant could do. Therefore, Mark reveals Jesus as the Suffering Servant. A servant doesn’t need a lineage, so you won’t find one in the book of Mark. The Greeks on the other hand were very interested in man and often deified men. They were enamored with athletics, games, and were looking for the perfect man. Luke portraits Jesus as this “Perfect Man” and as the “Son of Man.” A perfect man must have a lineage, so Luke gives us great detail on the birth of this “Perfect Man”, Jesus Christ. John, on the other hand, reveals Jesus as God incarnate. God, Who always has been and always will be, has no predecessors, and therefore you will not find the lineage of Jesus in the book of John. He is revealed as the “God Man.” Since Matthew had a Jewish audience in mind, and used more Old Testament quotations than any other Gospel writer, what better book to witness to a Jew when using the New Testament than the book of Matthew? This book is permeated with over 50 Old Testament quotations and over 75 allusions revealing and corroborating that this Jesus is indeed the Messiah. Based on the premise of Salvation is needed; Salvation has been provided; Salvation must be accepted, let’s look through the eyes of Matthew and see a few verses that will be very effective in leading a person to Christ. Salvation is needed: Matthew 5:48: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 7:13-14: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 7:21-23: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 18:8-9: Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Salvation has been provided: 11:28-30: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 19:25-26: When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Salvation must be accepted: 10:32: Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 10:40b: …and he that receiveth Me receiveth him that sent me.