Matthew 1-5

Background to the book


Scofield:  A.D. 37


Jesus' disciple, Matthew, also known as Levi

He was a tax-collector when Jesus called for him to follow.

Tax-collectors were held in about as high of honor as the IRS is today.  They were Jewish men who worked for the Roman occupation state.  They were authorized to collect taxes for Rome, and anything they collected above the required minimum, they were allowed to keep.

He was a Jew.

His gospel will have a little more Hebrew flavor as compare to Luke's gospel, Luke was a Gentile.

Extra credit homework:  Look how Matthew recounts his first meeting with Jesus:

Matthew   9:9-13 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 10  And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11  And when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12  But when Jesus heard [that], he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13  But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.


Matthew 1

vs.1-16  The genealogy

a) Why a genealogy?

1)  It identifies who you are.

No last names (though some of our last names are patterned after the idea of genealogies, ie Johnson, Williamson, Edmondson, etc.) or Social Security Numbers.

Even the genealogies in Chronicles (the longest and most boring) can have great value.

Example:  Learning the Samuel the prophet was a Levite, his grandsons served the Lord.

2)  It shows the fulfillment of Messianic promises.

Promises of a Messiah were given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, & David.

3)  This genealogy shows Jesus' legal right to the throne of David

It shows the lineage coming through Joseph, who was from the royal line of David.

In contrast, Luke's genealogy shows Mary's line, also from David, but not from the other kings.  Mary's line shows Jesus' actual descent from David.

b) About the names

Don't worry about spelling problems.  Peoples' names are often spelled differently in different places.

That's why genealogies are important anyway, to establish identity through lineage.

There will often be a difference between a person's name in the OT and in the NT.

OT translated from Hebrew.  NT translated from Greek.

c) Challenge to not skip over genealogies

Challenge yourself to see how many of the people you recognize.

Use it as a test to see how well you know your Bible!

:18-25  Jesus' Birth

:21  though shalt call his name Jesus

The Greek form of Joshua, same as OT person, son of Nun

Joshua = Yahweh is salvation (Ya + shua)

:23  a virgin shall be with child

The virgin birth is important:

1)  It fulfills prophecy

Genesis 3:15-AV And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Isaiah 7:14-AV Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

This is the verse Matthew is quoting.

2)  It is linked with the deity of Jesus

He is God, He is man

The Y-chromosome came from the Holy Spirit, not from a human.

If He is God, He has an eternal life to give for the sins of the world.

If He's just a man, He can only die for one person's sins.

3)  It fulfills the typology of a spotless lamb

No sin nature was transmitted to Jesus.

The sin nature comes through the father's seed.


Matthew 2

:1-10  Wise men and Herod

:1  wise men

Or, "Magi"

Similar to our word "magician"

Possibly coming even from Babylon

Most likely astrologers

The idea of being kings comes from

Isaiah 60:3-AV And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

The idea that there were three comes from there being three gifts.

:3  he (Herod) was troubled

Herod was a greedy, power-hungry man.

He must have been pretty insecure too, to be so threatened by the birth of a baby.

:6  And thou Bethlehem...

Quoting from Micah 5:2

Bethlehem was King David's home town.

:7  what time the star appeared

Herod wanted to get an idea of the approximate age of the child.

:9  the star went before them

This seems to throw out the idea of trying to find some sort of astronomical event that corresponded with Jesus' birth.

This is simply some kind of supernatural event.

:10  when they saw the star...

These were Gentile men.

It is thought that they were some kind of astrologers.

Psalms 19:1-AV <<To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.>> The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.


God met them where they were.

They were seeking God, and God spoke to them in a medium they understood.

They were led to Jesus.

It wasn't some kind of, "All roads lead to heaven".

It was, "If you want to get to heaven, go find Jesus".

:11-12  Wise men worship Him

:11  gold, frankincense, myrrh

gold - we know about this

frankincense - comes from the gum of a particular tree

sometimes used in sacrifices

it was also placed on the showbread

it was mixed into the incense burned in the tabernacle.

myrrh - came from the gum of another plant, used in perfuming

it was used in the anointing oil

it was used in embalming

Strange gifts to give a baby!

:13-15  Down to Egypt

:16-18  Herod's wrath

:17-18  Jeremy the prophet

Jeremiah 31:15

:19-23  Living in Nazareth

:19  an angel of the Lord appeareth...

Look how wonderfully God protected this young family!


This kind of protection is also for us too!

Psalms 34:7-AV The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

God will take care of you!

Even if the biggest, meanest, ugliest dude in the world is out after you!


Matthew 3

:1-4  John, the wild-man prophet

:5-12  John's ministry

:7  O generation of vipers

John wasn't too polite!

:8  bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance

Matthew 3:8-NIV Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.


A good idea to remember, be a fruit inspector!

If people come with you to church and go forward at an altar call, wait to see the changes in their lives!

Husbands often tell wives anything they want to hear, just to get their way.

:12  whose fan is in his hand

Not baseball fans!

A winnowing fan

Separating the wheat kernels from the chaff.

Jesus is separating those who are really followers from those who are just words only.

:13-17  Jesus is baptized


Matthew 4

:1-11  Jesus is tempted

:1  then was Jesus led ... to be tempted

Notice the sequence of events - baptism, Holy Ghost, temptation.

Very often, after a spiritual high, you will face a time of temptation.

Don't be surprised by it, be ready for it like Jesus was!

:2  fasted forty days and forty nights

He's near starvation

When you fast for a period of time like this, you get hungry at first, then go for a time where you aren't hungry.  When at last hunger again finally sets in, your body is telling you that if you don't eat, you will die.

Jesus is in an extremely weakened condition.

How will He do against the devil?

:4  He answered and said, "It is written..."


Jesus handled temptation by correctly applying Scripture!

Ephesians 6:17b-AV ... and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

It's important to know the Scripture, to understand it correctly, and to put it to work in your life.

If you're struggling with certain temptations, find our what God's word says about it - hide it in your heart!

:6  for it is written...


The devil knows Scripture too!

We need to learn discernment and correctly understanding the Word of God.

:11  angels came and ministered unto Him

Wow, what a neat picture!

Kind of like the guys in the fighter's corner in between rounds in a prize fight.


This is available to us as well.  About angels we read:

Hebrews 1:14-AV Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

In the midst of hard times, God may send His angels to minister to you.

:12-17  Ministry in Galilee

:13  dwelt in Capernaum

Capernaum seems to have actually been Jesus' base of operations when he lived and ministered in the northern section of Galilee.

:14  that it might be fulfilled...

Are you beginning to see a pattern here in Matthew?

Is Matthew concerned about showing how Jesus actually fulfilled prophecy?  Yes!

:18-22  Calling some disciples

:20  they straightway left their nets

Matthew 4:20-NIV At once they left their nets and followed him.

I like how the disciples responded to Jesus, they didn't waste any time in following Him.

Later on Jesus deals with people's excuses of why they don't want to follow immediately, but note the contrast in how the disciples followed immediately.

:23-25  Jesus' full ministry

:24  lunatick ... palsy

epilepsy, paralyzed


Matthew 5

:1-12  The Beatitudes

:1  up into a mountain

This is the famous "Sermon on the Mount"

:1-12  The Beatitudes

blessed - "happy" (makarios)

Look at the things that Jesus is recommending to us:  poor in spirit, mourn, meek, hunger and thirst after righteousness...

These are things directly opposite from what the world tries to promote.

Yet each of these things will be rewarded

:13-16  Salt & Light

Qualities of salt:

Preservative - you are an influence to those around you for good, to keep out the evil.

Antiseptic - it stings in a wound - our effect on those with sin's wounds

Makes people thirsty - do people have a thirst for Jesus after they've been around you?

Properties of Light

If just shines

All we need to be careful of is to not cover it up.

Let Jesus work in you!

Philippians 2:13-AV For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

:17-20  Fulfilling the Law

jot, tittle - yodh & waw, small Hebrew letters

Jesus finds the law important, so should we.

That is why we study and teach the Old Testament as well as the New Testament.

:21-16  Not offending people

Offending a person is as bad as killing them.

:23  if thou bring thy gift to the altar

Talking about bringing a sacrifice to God.


You'd better take care of making your relationships right with people here on earth before you can think that God is going to pay much attention to your sacrifice or worship.

In communion...

The Corinthians abused their "agape" love feasts, with the wealthy coming and eating all the food and getting drunk, without sharing or caring for the poorer folk in the church.

1Corinthians 11:29-AV For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

John's letter...

 1John 4:20-AV If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

1John 4:21-AV And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

1John 4:12-AV No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

:27-30  Looking is adultery

Sin is not just in the act, but in the heart.

:29  pluck it out

Do whatever it takes to get rid of sin.

:31-32  Rules for divorce

There's great debate in the church over this issue

This is one of the Biblical reasons for divorce, the other is in 1Cor.7:15

fornication -

4202 porneia

1) illicit sexual intercourse   1a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.   1b) sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18   1c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,12 2) metaph. the worship of idols   2a) of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols

The Danger:

If we get too liberal in allowing for divorce, we are encouraging people to commit adultery!

:33-37  Oaths

Once someone tells a lie or breaks a promise, it's hard to know when to believe them.

That's when mankind invented oaths.

"If you can't believe my word, then believe me when I say that God can turn me into a toad if I'm telling a lie"

The point is not that it's wrong to swear an oath - as when called to testify in a trial.

The point is that God wants you to be a person who can be trusted and believed.


You should have a reputation for honesty.

:38-42  no more eye for eye...

This was the Old Testament rule for compensatory damages.

Jesus sets a different standard for Christians.

It seems that the church today has kind of gotten away from this!

We are too quickly out for revenge rather than turning the other cheek.

We think that it's being wimpy or uncourageous to turn the cheek.

Just the opposite is true.

:43-48  Loving enemies

:44  pray for them...


I find that this is a very practical way of learning how to love the unlovable.

It is very, very difficult to not fall in agape love with someone when you start praying for them correctly.

Not, "God break their teeth and shatter their bones..."

But, "God bless, heal and comfort this dear person..."

A Test:

To see if you're praying correctly for a person, ask yourself if you're falling deeper and deeper in love with them.

:48  Be ye therefore perfect

Jesus sets the standard for heaven - perfection.

Can anyone do this?  No!

This is why we need a Savior to pay for all our blunders.

And when Jesus is our Savior, living inside of us, He begins to produce this kind of life in our lives.