How to Read and Understand MatthewFeb 06, 2020
In first grade, I switched schools to go to the same school my best friend was going to. I am sure my parents had other reasons, but all I can remember is being so excited when I found out that I was going to her school! However, when the classroom assignments came through, we weren’t in the same class. My expectations for what an awesome year we were going to have had been shattered. I can look back now though, and see that me not being in her class, was actually a good thing. I loved my 1st-grade teacher! She helped me learn to love reading, and overall, it was a wonderful year for me.
Have you ever had something happen in life that wasn’t what you were expecting? Maybe you expected to be married by now, or maybe you expected to be in a different line of work. Maybe you expected to get into a certain college, or actually use your degree. But the thing about expectations is that sometimes, we have expectations that get crushed but the reality is even better.
The Jews around the time of Jesus were expecting a military leader to come in and literally take over Jerusalem. They knew to expect a Savior and ruler, but they couldn’t think outside of the box of a literal king.
When Jesus came, it threw them all for a loop. They didn’t believe He actually was who He said He was, and that ultimately led to them killing Him on a cross. Matthew writes down these events to show these Jews that Jesus is who they were expecting and that ultimately, He is better than any plan they could have imagined.
A word that is repeated throughout Matthew is the word fulfilled. The Jews knew back and forth the Old Testament Scriptures, and they knew that God was sending someone. They knew where He would be born, that He was to come from the lineage of David, and that He was going to bring peace. Matthew writes this gospel to these Jews, quoting back the Scriptures they had studied all their lives and points those Scriptures back to how they were fulfilled through Jesus. They were so focused on how Jesus had not met their expectations that they couldn’t see how Jesus had exceeded them.
I don’t want to get caught in that same trap. I can get so focused on how my life doesn’t look like I thought it would and miss something that Jesus might be doing in my life somewhere else as a result. I want to learn from the book of Matthew that not only is Jesus who He says He is, but that He will do what He says He will do. Even if it looks different than I was expecting.
WHEN READING MATTHEW, LOOK FOR:
Quotes from the Old Testament
Characteristics of who Jesus is
Large sections of Jesus’ teachings inside the story of Jesus’ life