The first four books of the New Testament have a name. It is The Gospels. The word means Good News. Jesus Christ himself is the good news. And each book shows him in a different way.

  • Matthew: Christ the King
  • Mark: Christ the Servant
  • Luke: Christ the Man
  • John: Christ the Son of God. The book emphasises that Jesus Christ is really God and really a man.

Papias came from a place called Hierapolis. He was the Bishop (church leader) there. And he wrote in about 130AD. He said that John had spoken to him. This John was the disciple of Jesus. And he became a leader of the Early (first) Church. John told Papias that Matthew wrote in Hebrew. (This was the language of the Jews.) Then everyone translated ‘as he was able’. Matthew probably collected what Jesus said and taught. Then he put the facts into our present Gospel. Matthew himself could have done this. But there is another possibility. Maybe another Christian, who was alive then, did it.

One thing seems to be certain. Somebody had already written an account of Jesus’ life. And the writer of Matthew's book used this account. There is a reason for this idea. Almost the whole book of Mark is in Matthew too. It is also in the same order.

Matthew had special subjects. They were of particular interest to the writer. (This happens with all four Gospels.) Matthew's main subjects were:

The Jews. He wanted to convince the Jews about Jesus Christ. He wanted them to know that Jesus was their true King and their Messiah (2:2). The list of family names begins with Abraham. He was the father of the Jewish race. The book of Luke was different. Luke began his list of family names with Adam.

The Scriptures. (This is another word for our Old Testament.) Matthew wanted to explain something important. The Old Testament has many prophecies. And Matthew showed how they happened when Jesus came. (Some examples are: 2:15, 17, 23; 3:3; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 21:4; 22:31; 24:15; 27:9.) Some writers have noticed something. It is this. Matthew has five talks (5:1−7:29; 10:5-42; 13:1-52; 18:1-35; 24:1−25:46). And this is the same as the Jews’ Book of the Law. This is the first five books of our Bible. They are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Matthew was writing for Jews. So his choice of five talks may be on purpose.

The Church. Remember that the Church is not just a building. It is all true believers, wherever they are. There is more about them in this Gospel than in any other Gospel. (This teaching is in passages like 18:1-35.

[Note: This teaching is in passages like 18:1-35 especially 16:18; 18:17; 28:18-20.]

The Future. We see this in two ways especially. There are parables about God's kingdom (chapter 13). And there is the teaching about Jesus Christ's return. (Read chapters 24−25 and 26:64.)

[Note: God's kingdom is where God rules.]

We will concentrate here on what Matthew says about Jesus Christ as King.

The King's Arrival (Chapters 1-4)

At the beginning, some wise men asked, ‘Where is the king?’ (2:2). They had come to worship the new baby who was king. But king Herod did not love God or follow God. And Herod soon opposed the new King (2:8, 16-18). The new King had someone who announced his arrival. His name was John the Baptist. He prepared the way for Christ to come (chapter 3). The devil tried hard to destroy the King. He offered to give Jesus the kingdoms of the world (4:1-11).

The King began his work. He urged the people to repent. This was because ‘the kingdom of heaven is near’ (4:17).

The King chose his disciples (4:18-22).

The King preached ‘the good news about the kingdom’ (4:23). He proved his power as King by many miracles too.

The King's Demands (Chapters 5-7)

These chapters are famous. People who do not know the Bible have heard about them. They know them as ‘The Sermon on the Mount’. [Note: This means ‘The talk on the mountain’.] Christ was teaching the disciples. He was speaking about the royal law of love. He reminded them, and he reminds us too, about many important things.

The Christian should:

  • be happy (5:3-12)
  • live and speak so that other people will want to know God (5:13-16)
  • be holy (5:17-37)
  • have pity and great sympathy (5:38-48)
  • be generous (6:1-4)
  • pray much (6:5-15)
  • be sincere (6:16-18)
  • make sure that God is first in everything (6:19-24)
  • trust God completely (6:25-34)
  • be aware about the feelings of other people (7:1-6)
  • have faith (7:7-12)
  • choose to follow God's way only (7:13-20)
  • obey God (7:21-29).

Believers should not neglect these things. Believers should know that these things are important now. They are not just for the time when Christ will rule on this earth. God's word demands that we must obey these rules now.

The King's Power (Chapters 8-9)

The Lord Jesus was not just a teacher. His actions showed his power. And they proved his special authority. Christ did not heal everyone in the same way. His miracles did not have to be exactly the same. He deals with us all in different ways.

One man made his own request (8:2).

The Roman soldier spoke for someone else (8:6-13. Read 9:2 also).

Jesus healed the mother of Peter's wife. There was no request from anyone (8:15).

The Lord works as he wants to (Psalm 115:13; 135:5, 6).

The miracles in these two chapters show two things clearly. We see that Jesus had pity and great sympathy for one person and for crowds too (9:36). They also show his power.

The King's Teaching (Chapters 10-17)

Here is a full account of what Christ taught to the people. Chapter 10 records what he taught to his disciples. (Read 11:1.) Then follows what he taught about:

  • John the Baptist (11:7-19)
  • judgement (11:20-24)
  • rest for humble people (11:25-30)
  • the Sabbath (12:1-14)
  • when people speak against the Holy Spirit (12:24-32)
  • careless talk (12:33-37)
  • signs (12:38-42)
  • God's kingdom (13:1-52)
  • how to be holy (15:1-20)
  • the Messiah (16:13-20)
  • when people suffer (16:21-23)
  • how to be a disciple (16:24-28)
  • Faith (17:14-21).

Christ not only taught with words. He also taught by signs. (Some examples are 14:13-21, 35-36; 15:21-39; 17:1-9.)

The King's People (Chapters 18-23)

Jesus had already mentioned his death (17:12, 22-23). But he now prepared his men for the future. He gave them clear instructions. Christ told them about the new community that he would form. And he explained what a Christian should be like. This was about a Christian's personal life. It was also about his life in his church (18:17).

We have a responsibility to other people (18:5-6). Their attitudes must become more and more like God's attitudes. Their lives must please God too. And we must help them.

Then we need to have discipline for ourselves (18:7-14).

Christ expects that the members of his Church will:

  • correct one another (18:15-18)
  • pray for one another (18:19-20)
  • forgive one another (18:21-35).

[Note: Here, the word Church refers to all believers.]

Christ expects his people to have high standards (chapter 19). But they must realize something. It is this. God can accept them only because of his grace (chapter 20). Christ is humble (21:1-11. Read 20:20-28 too). He was making a big sacrifice (21:33-42). And these things should make his people want to be better people. But the message about grace is still clear (chapter 22). Nobody can deserve their place in God's kingdom. And nobody can earn it (chapter 23). The Pharisees (religious leaders) did many good things. But they had a reason. They wanted to make a good impression on people. But they could not do this with God. He knew what they were really like.

The King's Return (Chapters 24-25)

The previous section had a sad ending (23:37-39). But these two chapters are different. They tell about Jesus’ return in victory. He is coming to earth again. Chapter 24 declares this fact. And there should be three practical results of his return. They are in chapter 25. We should:

  • be ready as we wait for him (25:1-13)
  • serve him well (25:14-30)
  • have pity and sympathy for other people (25:31-46).

The King's Success (Chapters 26-28)

These chapters begin and end with stories about grateful women (26:6-13; 28:1).

Their service was full of love and it was eager.

They contrasted completely with people who were just religious. There was Caiaphas, the chief priest, and other religious leaders (26:3-5). There was Judas (26:14-16). And there were the priests who felt disappointed (28:11-15). They were all greedy. They were all cruel. And they all lacked trust. They did not want to believe in Christ.

There are people who believe in Jesus. They know that he saves them from their sin. And they will want to go and tell the good news to other people (28:18-20). Those who obey his word enjoy his company (28:20).