Written by one of Jesus’s disciples, Matthew, this book of the Gospel serves to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal King. Historians estimate that it was written between A.D. 60-65.
Matthew was a Jewish tax collector. As we study the book of Matthew, we’ll learn that on the social hierarchy of ancient Rome, tax collectors ranked somewhere between prostitutes and criminals. Not only did the tax collectors act as modern-day IRS agents, but they were also notoriously known to be extremely corrupt. That’s why it’s so significant that a tax collector became one of the chosen 12 disciples of Jesus. One day, Jesus was walking by the tax office and He saw Matthew. And He said to him: “Follow Me.” So Matthew arose and followed Him.
The book outlines the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. It connects the Old and New Testaments by emphasizing all the prophecies fulfilled with the coming of Jesus. In fact, Matthew references the Old Testament 76 times and quotes it 53 times.
As you read the Gospels, you’ll find that the Pharisees and Sadducees are mentioned often. These were two major religious groups in Israel during the time of Jesus. The Pharisees were more religious minded, while the Sadduecees preferred politics. The key similarity between the two sects though is that they were extremely legalistic – they knew the law of Moses inside out and spent their days “interpreting” the law. Although the groups were at odds with each other, they became allies in their battle against Jesus and His teachings.
Regardless of whether you’re a new believer or a seasoned follower of Christ, the book of Matthew is a wonderful way to learn about the life of our Savior.