A Study in Matthew
As the sun was rising on that next Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, came to the tomb. The other Gospels tell us that Salome was with them and that there were probably other women with them also (Mark 16:1-2, Luke 23:56 – 24:1). John just mentions Mary Magdalene, because she is the one who ran and told the disciples (John 20:1-2).
The chief priests and elders took counsel against Yeshua. Apparently they found Him guilty, even though He was innocent of any evil. But this was necessary in order for prophecy to be fulfilled.
Now, if we have this timing correct, this is on a Tuesday and Passover is on Thursday in 32 AD… Some people claim that Yeshua was crucified on a Friday, but that is not possible. We are told in John 11:54 to John 12:1 that Yeshua traveled from Bethany to Jerusalem six days previous. That means He would have walked at least 15 miles as the crow flies on that day. It was probably closer to 25 miles or more since waterways had to be crossed. If Yeshua were crucified on a Friday, six days previous would have been on the Sabbath Day. He probably would not have traveled that far on the Sabbath. Paul sometimes made it a point not to travel on the Sabbath. Yeshua would have done the same unless it was absolutely necessary.
This chapter is to be taken in context of the way the previous chapter ends. Yeshua was just saying that we are not to be “asleep” or act as if we are unawares. This is a reference to keeping Torah in our lives.
In this chapter in Matthew, we have a discourse by the Yeshua that speaks of the signs that point to His second coming and of the end of the age. The disciples already were familiar with what would happen on the last days because of the writings of the prophets (Zeph. 1:14-18, Micah 5:5-15, and many others). They knew it would be a terrible and dreadful time. They just didn’t know “when” it would take place. There are many out there who would love to set precise times and dates for the return of the Messiah, but He told us we would not know the hour or the day (Matt. 25:13).
Christianity has struggled with the answer to this passage. Is Yeshua saying the opposite of what He has been saying all along? Is He now saying to obey what the Pharisees say and follow their traditions even though their actions are wrong? One good answer is to look in the Shem Tov.
The King is Elohim (Psalm 45:10-16). The Wedding Feast is the marriage supper of the Lamb. This is the event that will apparently usher in the Kingdom of Heaven. His slaves are His prophets He sent to warn Israel (Jer. 25:4). Those who had been unwilling to come are the Jewish people who would not listen to Him in that day, especially the religious leaders (Jer. 6:16-17).
The multitudes heard of the miracles performed by Yeshua and were desiring to honor Him as Messiah. It would appear that the use of the branches might indicate that they are offering Him as a “wave offering” to Yahweh (Num. 8:11-13). Yeshua is presented as the Lamb of Elohim and is honored in a similar way after His return (Rev. 7:9-10).
Yeshua uses a parable to illustrate this Truth. In the parable, the landowner is Yeshua, or the Father. This is consistent with the parables told in chapter 13. The vineyard is Israel (Isaiah 5:1-6). The workers in the vineyard are those who sacrificed themselves to be followers of Messiah obedient to His Father’s Word. Those in Israel agreed to follow Him and they will enter the Kingdom of Heaven after the regeneration. This agreement they made is the Covenant they have with the Father (Exodus 19:5-8). The payment they agreed to receive is their apportionment in the land. Each man is to get an equal portion of the Land (Ezek. 47:13-14).
Once again, the Pharisees were trying to put Yeshua on the spot publicly. The dilemma (at least the Pharisees perceived it as a dilemma) is that Elohim says He hates divorce (Mal. 2:14-16). But Torah allows for divorce in the case of indecency in the woman (and probably in the man also – remez) (Deut. 24:1-4). The Pharisees thought they could publicly test Yeshua because there were two rabbinic schools of thought on divorce in those days. Some taught that it was allowed only in the case of some sexual indecency while others taught that it was allowed for trivial reasons. They probably brought this up in order to at least divide the crowd that was following Him.
Humbling oneself as a child comes from the Tanakh (Psalm 131:1-3). We are to humble ourselves as a little child relying on his mother.
This was a picture of the Kingdom when it comes. Transfiguration essentially means “transformed.” This was a picture of Yeshua in His resurrected state along with Elijah and Moses. In this vision, Moses and Elijah are both transformed also. Moses represents those who have died in faithfulness to Elohim. Elijah represents those who will not taste death before He returns. When Yeshua returns, those dead in Messiah will be raised and those still alive will be caught up in the air to be with Him. We do not know what we will be like, but we know we will be like Him (1 John 3:2).
When the Pharisees heard that Yeshua was casting out demons, the claimed He was doing this by the power of Beelzebub. Now the Pharisees want a sign “from heaven.” They wrongly reasoned that some miracles here on earth could come from Beelzebub. They thought that if they saw a sign from heaven, then they could determine if Yeshua is really a prophet from Elohim or not. Yeshua showed signs before, why would He not show a sign for the Pharisees? Yeshua did not want them to heed His warnings. He already said they were not to understand His message and that is why He spoke in parables (Matt. 13:9-15).
In this chapter, Yeshua will engage the Pharisees on their observance of meaningless traditions and rituals that are outside of Torah. In this passage, the Pharisees were insisting on the disciples performing the traditional hand washing that they made a part of their Jewish laws.
Herod was paranoid concerning the death of John the Baptist. Herod thought that this Yeshua was John the Baptist back from the dead. Possibly he felt that John was coming back from the dead to get him. We now have a historic interlude while Matthew catches us up on what exactly happened to John and why.
Yeshua does not want everyone to understand what He is saying. He has good reason for this. It is a fulfillment of prophecy. In the Psalms we are told that Elohim will speak in parables for His people to know His Torah (Psalm 78:1-7). These parables are about knowing His Torah.
Yeshua and His disciples were walking through the grain fields on the Sabbath and they were hungry. They plucked heads of grain and ate them. It is perfectly lawful to do so (Deut. 23:24-25). We are told in Luke’s account that they were rubbing them with their hands in order to remove the chaff from the grain (Luke 6:1). The Pharisees apparently interpreted this to be the equivalent of threshing and winnowing the grain, which is ridiculous.
John was in a tough situation. He was imprisoned because he condemned the actions of Herod (Matt. 14:3-4). He was understandably confused and distraught. He knew that he was the one announcing the arrival of Messiah and that Yeshua was to set up the Kingdom. But if that is the case, then why was he (John) in prison??
The disciples (taught ones, learners, pupils) were given authority of unclean spirits and to heal sickness and disease. He is going to send them out to Israel.
Yeshua left the Gadarenes and crossed the sea once again and came into Nazareth, which is the city where He was raised.
Some local believers brought a man who was paralyzed to Him for healing. The method of healing is one where Yeshua provides “forgiveness.” This forgiveness heals the man. This is a basic fact from the Tanakh (Psalm 32:1-5). It is His righteousness that brings health and healing (Prov. 3:1-8, 4:20-22). This man is being made righteous in the eyes of Elohim, therefore he may live. This whole principle is based in Torah (Lev. 18:5).
This man took a great chance in coming up to Yeshua because lepers are to stay away the people and signal to them when he was around (Lev. 13:45-46). But this man apparently kept himself covered up and came up to Yeshua without them knowing he was a leper. It is likely that Yeshua made sure that He came near the dwelling of this leper when He came down from the mountain. This man demonstrated faithfulness that Yeshua was Messiah. He said that He knew Yeshua could make him clean.
This is another one of the classic misinterpreted passages in Scripture. People take this one phrase and use it without the ensuing passages following it. If we look at the entire passage, the message is clearly that we are not to judge others if we too are involved in that same sin, even to a worse degree.
Our prayers should get to the heart of the matter. Elohim does not want our flowery words or habitual repetitions. Our prayers are to be short and to the point (Ecc. 5:2-3, 7). Elohim wants to know what is in your heart. He does not need to hear you give a flowery speech. There are many keys to effective prayer. But one ingredient is most important – righteousness (Prov. 15:8, 29, 28:9, James 5:16, 1 Peter 3:12).
This chapter contains what is popularly called the Sermon on the Mount. (Or the beatitudes, or the “supreme blessedness”)
The teaching here is a discourse on Torah. That will be evident when we see the source of the Words of Yeshua.
The term “the devil” is the Greek word “diablos.” It is also translated as “malicious gossip.”
John comes out of the wilderness and steps into the picture. His message is short and very clear. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The coming kingdom is the prevailing theme in Matthew. It is mentioned some fifty times in this book. John says to “repent.” To “repent” means to turn away from the ways of the world and turn toward the Torah of Elohim (Isaiah 55:7, Ezekiel 18:30-32, 33:11). We are told in Scripture that if we do not repent we will perish (Luke 13:3, Jer. 26:3-6).
Bethlehem means “house of bread.” It was prophesied as the birthplace of Messiah and it was also the place where Rachel was buried (Gen 35:19).
The fact that Jesse, the father of David is mentioned is very important. It is from the root of Jesse that the Messiah will appear (Isa. 11:1-5).
Studies in Matthew by Patrick McGuire Matthew is the first book listed in the Brit Hadasha. There is actually no rhyme or reason to the order of the books, so Matthew is as good a beginning as any. Especially since Matthew starts out with the genealogy of...
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