The writer of this Gospel was Matthew, the publican or tax collector. His
Jewish name is Levi. Tax collectors were notoriously hated by the Jews.
Jesus Christ called him away from his profession to follow Him (Mt. 9:9).
Upon leaving his tax collecting position to follow Jesus, he made a great
banquet in order to introduce his colleagues and other sinners to The Lord
Jesus Christ (Lk. 5:29 cf. Mt. 9:10; Mk. 2:15).
Internal evidence to his authorship consists of the superscription or title,
which is the most ancient witness and the witness of the text itself. This
consists of two particular emphases, observations which could only be made
by one who has firsthand knowledge. Only in Matthew (10:3) is the author
described as apublican (tax collector) and is the technical term used (9:9).
Precise terms used by Matthew alone in his Gospel, but not in the other three
Gospels are: the tax as tribute money (Mt. 23115-22), which is a technical
term and the annual Temple tax, a half shekel or didrachma (17:24-27).
External evidence comes from the writings of the
"church fathers. "Witness Of the early church ascribes authorship of the first Gospel to
Matthew, as the first or earliest to be written, and that it was written first in
Hebrew. The earliest testimony is by Papias (c. A.D. 130), "Matthew
composed his logia in the Hebrew tongue." Irenaeus (c. A.D. 185), who knew
Polycarp (only a generation apart), a personal disciple of John, wrote,
"Matthew also published a book of the Gospel among the Hebrews in their
own dialect." Other testimony by: Eusebius (c. A.D. 324), Augustine (A.D. 388-410),
Origen (A.D. 185-254), Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 155-216), and Jerome
The purpose of this first written Gospel is to demonstrate that Jesus is the
Messianic King. Therefore it is necessary to trace the genealogy back
through David the King, to whom the Messianic Kingdom was promised (2
Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 89) and to Abraham, the father of the Jews.
Characteristics include: a Messianic emphasis (65 quotes or allusions to 0.
T.); the royal Gospel (Kingdom occurs 56 times; kingdom of heaven 32
times: Son of David 9 times, Jerusalem called "city of the great King");
Jewish background of the Gospel; introduction to the Church only in Mt.
(16:18; 18:17); thematic grouping of material-systematic rather than
chronological: (Sermon on the Mount (5-7), Commission of the twelve (10),
Parables of the Kingdom (13), Humility and forgiveness (18), Denunciation of
Scribes and Pharisees (23), and Olivet Discourse (24,25). Matthew, the first
'Synoptic Gospel' focuses more on Jesus' Galilean ministry than His Judean
The seven scenes: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Egypt (1,2); Wilderness of Judea,
near Jordan (3:1-4:11); Capernaum and Galilee (4:12-8:28; 9:1-18:35);
Gergasa (8:28-34); Judea (19:1-28:15); Jerusalem environs (21:1-28:15);
Galilee (A mountain) (28:16-20).
The Book may be outlined as follows:
I The Kingdom Proffered (1:1-11:1).
II. The Kingdom Rejected (11:2-12:45).
III. The Kingdom Postponed (12:46-28:20).
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