Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gospel in Matthew

I'll try to answer the question I posed here: Gospel in the Gospels - Did the 'gospel' writers have anything to say about 'the gospel'. All six posts in this series here:
  1. Gospel in the Gospels - introduction and some thoughts to consider 
  2. Gospel in Matthew - verses related to the term gospel in Matthew 
  3. Gospel in Mark - verses related to the term gospel in Mark 
  4. Gospel in Luke - verses related to the term gospel in Luke 
  5. Gospel in John - verses in John that that make similar points 
  6. Gospel in the Gospels - Summary

If we could ask Matthew, "what is the gospel, what good news do you have to share?" How would he respond?

I'll mostly just copy a bunch of scripture with the hope it will become clear. (All references NIV)

We see Jesus proclaimed the gospel (good news) of the kingdom of God as he traveled throughout Galilee:
4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
9:35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
11:5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.

Matthew talks about the gospel being preaching throughout the world:
24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

26:13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
We should then ask Matthew what this good news of the kingdom of God is.

Note: Kingdom of Heaven = Kingdom of God

In Hebrew during the days of Jesus, they did not speak the name of God. So in the book of Matthew we see the Hebrew that Jesus would have spoke translated "kingdom of Heaven". Mark and Luke used the Greek which translates "kingdom of God".

In our modern world we don't often talk in terms of kingdoms.  We may imagine castles and knights when we think about kingdoms.  It may be helpful to substitute the word kingdom with words like reign, rule, authority, or dominion.

Does Matthew have more to say on the topic of the reign, rule, authority of God and Jesus?

Matthew starts off with a geneology... what is the significance of that? To link Jesus to royalty, prove his title as Messiah (anointed king) son of David.

Then we have the magi, coming looking for the king of the Jews.

Then John the Baptist and the theme of God's kingdom:
3:1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Then we see Jesus continuing with the same message John preached:
4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
12:28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Then later Jesus' disciples were sent out to other towns preaching the same good news message:
10:7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’

The kingdom of heaven/God seems to be Jesus' favorite topic:
5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

18:3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven
6:10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
13:24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field...

13:31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field...

13:33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”...

13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."...

13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls"...

13:47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.

18:23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.

22:2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son...
Lord, Son of David
(I think 'Lord' = 'King'. Son of David shows royal heritage, and fulfills messianic prophecy)
20:30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

21:9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

There are more verses we could look at, but this should be enough.

Do you notice how Matthew uses the term gospel?

Does Matthew point out the gospel message that Jesus and His disciples preached?

When Matthew talks about sharing the gospel with the whole world, where should we look to understand the good news message that Matthew was referring to?


Frank said...

You said
"Can I suggest he may have answered something like this:
God's kingdom is here! The reign of God is here! Jesus the messiah is King! Repent, change your way of thinking. It is a present reality, moving towards something greater in the future. Did you know God's power is available to you? You don't have to do everything in your own strength and wisdom. If you allow God to rule in your life, instead of your selfish ambitions He will restore your life to what it was intended to be."

I was watching to see where you were going with this, praise God, a visionary and a realist!

I also would draw your attention to reverse of this, that Jesus identified elsewhere.
Matt23v17. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Here is clear evidence that religious people CAN and HAD and STILL DO shut up heaven!

The purpose of the church seems to be to get people to join the church. This is because they see the primary job of the church to get people to heaven after they are dead. However, the actual purpose of the church is to be the vessel which demonstrates the reign of God (via the Holy Spirit) ON EARTH.

The hierarchical institutional system we call church is simply man, in his own strength, playing at religion, thinking to please God with their inventiveness. In doing so they shut up heaven, and replace it with a fake.

When we live in a true grace built relationship with our heavenly father we can experience his reign all around us. Trying to gain righteous with good works offends that relationship as do filthy rags (menstrual cloths). Life in God's kingdom is not about following rules, it is about a developing heavenly relationship with the lover of our soul.

Man's Pharisaical ideas of priesthoods and religion just keep blocking access, closing heaven.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Frank. Unfortunately you may be right in many ways.

May God rule in His kingdom!

reformedlostboy said...

Our God reigns! That IS the good news. I found myself rejoicing with you in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then you suggest that we should proclaim that people should "allow God to rule in your life". I suggest that God's reign is over all, even the heart and will of every man and that makes the news of His Kingdom much larger than such that is limited by what man "allows". Please don't limit the good news of the kingdom of God to the desires and wills of men. That would not be good news. In fact that would deny the neccessity for God to become a man and do for us what we could not do. Rather let us proclaim that God is doing as he pleases. God is in complete control. God is changing lives and bringing his children into his kingdom and in line with his purpose. God is God and he has come to dwell with us. Let us begin enjoying Him now and continue forevermore! Good post Jon!

Jonathan said...

Thanks reformedlostboy,

I hear your concern. And maybe "allow" God to reign isn't the best way to put it. But here are some ways it is described here in Matthew:

"Repent" (change)

"only the one who does the will of my Father "

"seek first his kingdom"

"For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

I understand there is tension for some in understanding the balance between God's part in this relationship He is making available to us, and our part in responding to it. I don't have a clear answer on that one.

Sorry if "allow" threw you off, I could go more with "seek and do God's will".

God bless

reformedlostboy said...

Those expressions declare our responsibility much better than "allow" does. Good clarification.