The Gospel of Matthew

Dear Christ Church,

Each of the four gospels, since the 2nd century, has been associated with a different winged creature: a lion (Mark), a calf (Luke), an eagle (John), and a human (Matthew). The wings allude to angelic qualities (angels are “messengers,” an apt description of a gospel writer) and the type of creature hints at themes in the gospel. In the case of Matthew, this gospel gives us a very clear picture of the humanity of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. One of the things that excites me about preaching through this gospel this year is the way it will open our eyes to the good news of the incarnation, how God has shared in our life that we might share in His.

Christ Church, I want to invite us to spend some time outside of sermons, over the next year, engaging the life and person of Jesus in Matthew and beyond. Here are a few ideas

(1) I’ve begun reading the life of Jesus in this wonderful new gospel book, God With Us. It synthesizes all four gospels into one Jesus story, using nothing but biblical texts drawn from the gospels, arranging the material chronologically. The New Living Translation is one of my favorite reading translations.

(2) Check out The Bible Project. When you get to the site, go to the search bar and type “Matthew” and you’ll see a host of videos, articles, and podcasts they’ve done on this gospel. The Bible Project never disappoints!

(3) Watch The Chosen, an outstanding episodic series on the life of Jesus, available to stream. I have very low tolerance for Christian media that is schmaltzy or cheesy; The Chosen does a good job keeping it real and avoiding those traps. Highly recommended!

(4) Read Matthew for Everyone, by N. T. Wright, an accessible commentary published in two volumes. You might like to pace your reading to correspond roughly with the pace of our preaching through the gospel.

May Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28 characterize our year in Matthew’s gospel . . .  “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”


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