This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I will focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!
The Big Picture of Matthew:
Matthew is the first book in the New Testament and the author (supposed by the early church to be Matthew) does a great job of connecting the New Testament with the old. Each of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) document the time Jesus lived on earth and each does it from their own vantage point of the scene. Matthew really seems to be focusing in on helping people, especially the Jews, understand that Jesus really is the Messiah the prophecies of the Old Testament all talk about. Chapter 2 alone quotes 4 prophecies from at least three different Old Testament books. Not only does Matthew want readers to see that Jesus is the Messiah, but also that he was Immanuel (God with US), a new “Moses” delivering the people from bondage, and a new “Abraham” head of family of God that now includes both Jews and Gentiles who follow Him. I am finding it especially fun to read Matthew after having just finished the whole Old Testament seeing all the connections. With all of that in our minds, we have a better idea of what the everyday Jew would have as reference at the time when Jesus showed up on the scene.
Prophesies Mentioned in Matthew:
There are dozens of prophecies mentioned throughout the book and often are quoted directly out of Old Testament books. Here are just a few:
- The Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:3, 22:18), Isaac (Genesis 17:19, 21:12), Jacob (Numbers 24:17), Judah (Genesis 49:10), and King David (2 Samuel 7:12-13, Isaiah 9:7) – Matthew 1:1-17
- The Messiah would be born of a woman (Genesis 3:15) Matthew 1:20
- The Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) – Matthew 1:22-23
- The Messiah would be called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14) – Matthew 1:23
- The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) – Matthew 2:1
- The Messiah would spent a time in Egypt (Hosea 11:1) and grow up to be called a Nazarene (Isaiah 11:1) – Matthew 2:14-15, 23
- The Messiah would bring light to Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2) – Matthew 4:13-16
- The Messiah would speak in parables (Psalm 78:2-4, Isaiah 6:9-10) – Matthew 13
- The Messiah would be betrayed (Psalm 41:9, Zechariah 11:12-13), spat upon and struck (Isaiah 50:6), given vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21), and crucified with criminals (Isaiah 53:12) – Matthew 26:14-16, 67, 27:34, 38
- The Messiah would be called a King (Psalm 2:6, Zechariah 9:9) – Matthew 27:37
- The Messiah would be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9) – Matthew 27:57-60
- The Messiah would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10, 49:14) – Matthew 28:2-7
A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:
Some of us are planning to read through the whole book or books each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse per book. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.
- “And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
REFLECTION: What sins have you trapped right now? Where do you need to call out on the name of Jesus to “Save me!”?
- “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” Matthew 3:2
REFLECTION: Reading through Matthew 3, what similarities and differences do you see between John the Baptist’s words and those of the prophets in the Old Testament?
- “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s troubles are enough for today.” Matthew 6:34
REFLECTION: What are you worrying about today that’s actually a trouble for tomorrow? How can you set those future worries aside and focus on today?
- “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
REFLECTION: What people or groups in our world today seem “confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”? How can you show compassion on them instead of judging or criticizing them?
- “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen….” Matthew 28:6
REFLECTION: What do you think it would have been like to be one of the women hearing this from the angel at the tomb after thinking the One you thought was the Messiah, and your friend, had died?
Why Matthew is Important Today:
Each of the Gospels document Jesus’ life on earth. We hear not only God’s words, but see how that plays out in real life situations. Specifically with Matthew, we also see the importance of the Old Testament along with the New. So often it’s easy to throw out the old for the new. Matthew reminds us of the value of both and how Jesus did not come to get rid of the law but to fulfill it fully.
Some Other Resources:
- The Bible Project summary video of Matthew (Part 1)
- The Bible Project summary video of Matthew (Part 2)
- A Pinterest board with resources and pictures for Matthew
- The 66 in 52 Schedule and Tracking Sheet
So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!