“Christ’s disciples should flavor the culture and shine as God’s lights in the world. By emulating these ten characteristics, with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Jesus’ followers will prove to be citizens of God’s kingdom, already in the here and now, and for all eternity.”
(Andreas J. Köstenberger) Matthew, in his monumental gospel, introduces Jesus as the descendant of Abraham and David, narrating His miraculous virgin conception and birth and recounting His flight to Egypt and return to Nazareth. At the inception of Jesus’ public ministry, John the Baptist cries out, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). Later, when hearing of John’s arrest, Jesus begins to proclaim an identical message (Matt. 4:17)….
Yet while John is only the forerunner, Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus then gathers a large following and travels far and wide, “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (Matt. 4:23).After this preamble, Matthew opens the first of five major teaching sections of Jesus in his gospel. The number five is reminiscent of the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses. Similarly, the reference to Jesus’ ascending a mountain brings to mind Moses’ ascent of Mount Sinai when receiving the law. This Mosaic connection is later reinforced by Jesus’ repeated pronouncements, “You have heard that it was said . . . but I say to you” (Matt. 5:21–22, 27–28, 31–32, 33–34, 38–39, 43–44). Matthew’s message is clear: Jesus is a new and greater Moses who authoritatively teaches and applies the law of God (see Matt. 7:28–29).
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