A Summary of the ministry and purpose of Christ as recorded in Matthew

The story of Jesus has captivated the world for centuries. There has never been a man nor will there ever be like Jesus. He is no ordinary man as He is also God. The book of Matthew gives us an account of the life of Jesus from birth all the way through His resurrection and the great commission. To fully understand the ministry and purpose of Christ according to Matthew we must first discover who Matthew is. Dr. Christopher Cone write: “Matthew is first identified in 9:9, and is referred to as a tax gatherer (10:3), and was known as Levi, the son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14). He was one of the twelve original Disciples of Christ, and he is the author of the earliest gospel, most probably written around 45 AD.” It is clear the Matthew was very close to Jesus during His time on earth; therefore, the book of Matthew is a reliable account of the ministry and purpose of Jesus.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary gives us five characteristics of the book of Matthew:
1. The book of Matthew places great emphasis on the teaching ministry of Jesus Christ.
2. Some of the material in Matthew is arranged logically rather than chronologically.
3. The first gospel is filled with Old Testament quotations.
4. The first gospel shows that Jesus Christ is the Messiah of Israel and explains God’s kingdom program.
5. The first gospel has a summary statement in its first verse: “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.”
The ultimate message we find in the book of Matthew is the fact that Jesus came to pay the price of sin for us and to initiate the new covenant.
The first chapter of Matthew is of significant importance as it sets the stage for the ministry of Jesus. Here we find the genealogy and birth of Jesus. It is made clear the Jesus was born of a virgin. The purpose of the virgin birth is so that Jesus would not inherit a sin nature as sin is passed on in the seed of man. As a result of the virgin birth we see prophesy fulfilled and we see a savior who is a perfect sacrifice without any sinful spot. There is no record of details concerning the childhood of Jesus as Matthew shows the ministry of Jesus initiated by His baptism recorded in chapter three. In verses sixteen and seventeen we see the confirmation of Jesus as the Son of God. Through the recording of this account, Matthew makes it clear that Jesus is the Messiah and the Savior of the world.
In chapter four of Matthew we see another significant event in the life of Jesus. Here we find the temptation of Jesus. Satan comes to Jesus with the hopes of derailing his ministry. However, Jesus stands strong against Satan and is able to resist every temptation causing Him to remain sinless. Matthew goes on to describe how Jesus gathers His disciples and begins His earthly ministry.
In chapters five through seven we find the record of the famous ‘sermon on the mount’. This shows the purpose of Jesus’ ministry, to teach people the truth. “Perhaps no other religious discourse in the history of humanity has attracted the attention which has been devoted to the Sermon on the Mount. Philosophers and activists from many non-Christian perspectives who have refused to worship Jesus nevertheless have admired his ethic.” In the Sermon on the Mount we find very valuable teachings from kingdom of God to how to relate to others. At the conclusion of this sermon, Matthew describes how the people were amazed at the teaching of Jesus and the authority by which He spoke. As a result of this great sermon many multitudes of people became followers of Jesus.
In chapters eight and nine of Matthew we see the purpose and ministry of Jesus as displayed by His power. This display of power gives proof that Jesus is the king of kings. The Ryrie Study Bible gives a beautiful outline of these chapters:
I. Exhibit 1: Power
A. Power over defilement (8:1-4)
B. Power over distance (8:5-13
C. Power over disease (8:14-17)
D. Power over disciples (8:18-22)
E. Power over the deep (8:23-27)
F. Power over demons (8:28-34)
II. Exhibit 2: Pardon
A. Pardon of a palsied man (9:1-8)
B. Pardon of a publican (9:9-13)
C. Problem concerning fasting (9:14-17)
III. Exhibit 3: Power
A. Power over death (9:18-26)
B. Power over darkness (9:27-31)
C. Power over dumbness (9:32-34)
D. Power over disease (9:35)
The final verses in chapter nine show the pity that Jesus has on the people. After His wonderful display of His power He is burdened over the great needs of the people and the amount of work that is yet to be done.
In chapter ten we see Jesus giving instructions to His disciples. He commands them to go forth to the lost sheep of Israel and share them the good news that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. As result of the work of the disciples, news spreads all across the region, and the fame of Jesus increases. News of Jesus spread as far as the prison where John the Baptist is held. While in prison, John the Baptist seeks clarity and desires assurance that Jesus is the Messiah. The disciples of John the Baptist return with a message that proves to John that Jesus is truly the promised Messiah.
The ministry of Jesus continues in the book of Matthew as we see Jesus making some very strong statements in chapters eleven and twelve that causes the religious leaders of the day to begin to turn against Jesus which sets up the fulfillment of the purpose of Jesus. In chapter thirteen, Matthew records various parables that Jesus told concerning the kingdom of God. These parables are earthly stories with heavenly meanings to help the hearers to understand more clearly the purpose for Jesus coming.
As we come to chapter fourteen we enter into a new section in the book of Matthew. Weise writes: “We now move into a new and important section of the Gospel of Matthew, “The Retirement of the King” (chapters 14-20). In this section, we see Jesus ‘withdrawing’ from the multitudes and spending time alone with His disciples, preparing them for the coming crisis in Jerusalem. Keep in mind that even the disciples, at this stage, thought in terms of an earthly kingdom; and His teaching about a cross perplexed them.” This period of time allowed Jesus the opportunity to teach His disciples and to prepare them for what was to come.
After Matthew records those moments that Jesus has alone with His disciples, the journey toward the fulfillment of the purpose of Jesus’ coming continues. In chapter twenty-one, we find the famous triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Once Jesus arrives to the temple, He finds those who were trying to make a profit off of the people who were coming to worship. This angers Jesus and He overturns their tables and throws them out of the temple. Jesus is then confronted by the religious leaders and Jesus speaks to them once again in parables. After this, the Pharisees met to try to come up with a way to trick Jesus. In chapter twenty-two, Matthew records these confrontations with the Pharisees and Sadducees. In all of their attempts to cause Jesus to condemn Himself, they could not find a way. In chapter twenty-three, Jesus has some very strong words concerning the scribes and Pharisees. As Jesus preaches this strong message, He concludes with an expression of desire and burden for the people of Jerusalem. His desire is to love them and gather them to Himself, but He is burdened because they would not accept Him.
In chapters twenty-four and twenty five, Jesus teaches His disciples concerning the last days and the signs pointing to the time in which Jesus will set up His earthly kingdom. As you read chapter twenty-four we find a picture of a period in time that very well describes the period of time that we are living in today. This is often referred to by many as ‘the last days’. In chapter twenty-five Jesus gives another set of parables. These parables teach us the fact that His coming is near and we must be busy doing the work of the Lord. As David Jeremiah writes: “What would you like to be doing when the Lord returns? ‘Do business until I come.’”
Up to this point we have seen the ministry of Jesus. He has preached, healed, debated, and shared intimate moments with His disciples. All of these events lead us to the purpose for His coming. Beginning in chapter twenty-six we see what is known as: ‘the passion of Christ.’ This is why He came. This is His purpose. He came to die so that we might live. As Jesus nears His death on the cross there are some preparatory events that take place. The first of those events is the account of the woman with the alabaster box and the anointing of Jesus with the precious ointment. The disciples thought this was a waste, but Jesus responds by saying that this ointment was for His burial. The next event that Matthew records is the Passover or the Last Supper. This is the time when it is announced that Judas would betray Jesus. After these preparatory events, Jesus is then betrayed, arrested, and stands before the High Priest. He is then taken before the Sanhedrin in chapter twenty-seven and then brought to Pilate. Through all of the accusations brought against Jesus, He remains humble, willing and ready to lay down His life. In verses twenty-seven through fifty-six of chapter twenty-seven we see the crucifixion and death of Jesus. The Roman crucifixion is the worst death that anyone could ever face. Jesus willingly lays down His life and pays the price for sin for all of mankind on the cross. However, Jesus did not remain dead. In chapter twenty-eight of Matthew we see that Jesus conquers death and the grave. Jesus rises from the grave, paving the way for eternal life for all those who would believe and trust in Him. The book of Matthew concludes with a commission given to His disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. This is also the commission of all true believers. We are to tell the good news of Jesus as we go about our daily lives.
The ministry of Jesus as described in Matthew leads us to understand His purpose. The purpose of Jesus is both doxological and redemptive. His purpose was to give glory to the Father and to provide a way of redemption for all of mankind. Now our purpose is also doxological. We are to give glory to God by giving our lives to Him, by going to the cross and having our sins removed from us and trusting in Jesus totally and completely. Jesus fulfilled His purpose on the cross, now we must fulfill our purpose by giving our lives to Him, bringing glory to His name.

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