+JMJ+ I enjoyed working up last week’s post (Dr Bergsma’s overview of the New Testament) so much, I’m going to share part 2 of his presentation with you tonight, covering the Gospel of Matthew, and using the same memory devices—stick figures—that he used last time. The text will be quoted or paraphrased from the video unless otherwise noted. None of the following is original, I’m taking it all from his video.
Video, A brief overview of the New Testament, Part 2, by Dr. John Bergsma.
The Gospel of Matthew makes the transition from the Old Covenant era to the New, from the era of Jewish expectation to the era of the Church.
Image 1: The theme of Matthew’s Gospel is that the Kingdom has come and he presents Jesus from beginning to end as the Davidic King. The New Exodus is also portrayed in the Gospel.
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1
The term, son of David, was more than a few words. It was a royal title, and gave you a claim on the throne of David. This title put Jesus into conflict with and a rival of the Herodians. So this is a political and a religious statement. Royal imagery also concludes Matthew’s Gospel.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” CITE Matthew 28:18-19.
Right there Jesus just claimed royal authority over the entire universe. And He sends out His apostles as His viceroys.
“The study of Scripture is not an end in itself, it is a means to an end which is to live the fullness of charity.”
Now we’re going to do with this video what we did with last week’s video: we’re going to draw the drawings on a sheet of paper. Remember, they’re stick figures, so artistic talent is not necessary. (Good thing cuz I ain’t got none!)
Image 2: The Gospel of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus and His Birth (Matt 1-2). So we’ll draw a Christmas star on the left side of the page.
Image 3: Matthew ends with his account of Easter, so we’ll draw a cross on the right side of the page (Matt 26-28).
Imaege 4: In the background of Matthew’s Gospel is a very important figure from Jewish tradition: Moses. So we’ll draw a stick figure holding tablets in his hands (for five books of the Torah). His face is shining (I thought that was some crazy stick-out hair when I first saw it), and we’ll sketch him in lightly because he is a background figure.
Image 5: Dr. Bergsma mentions that Matthew was a trained Pharisee and for the Pharisees, Moses was the Great Lawgiver, and they were adamant about being faithful to the Mosaic tradition. And Matthew portrays Jesus as the New Moses. The Davidic King dominantly, but the New Moses, too, leading the New Exodus. Matthew’s Gospel is divided into five sections to “recaptulate the Five Books of Moses.” So we’ll draw a stick figure for Jesus as the New Moses holding a scroll with His hand upraised in teaching, with a crown (royalty) and a halo on His head (divinity).
Image 6: There is a pattern to Matthew’s Gospel: he gives an account of Jesus’s travels and miracles, then at the end of each section he gives a discourse. The first section is Matt 3-7. Chapters 3-4 are the travels and miracles, and 5-7 is the sermon. The first sermon is also the longest discourse, the Sermon on the Mount, or the Beatitudes. Note that Jesus gives this Sermon on a mountaintop paralleling Moses on Mount Sinai.
Image 7: You won’t have to draw a stick figure for Jesus again. Now we’re just going to draw scrolls. For the second sermon draw two scrolls for Matt 8-10. In this section we have more of the account of Jesus’s life and then the second sermon or teaching which is the Lord’s great Mission statement.
Image 8: Draw three scrolls. Matt 11-12 are the account of Jesus’s life and Matt 13 is the Sermon or Discourse on the Mystery of the Kingdom (includes seven parables on the Kingom).
Image 9: Draw four scrolls. Matt 14-17 are an account of the Lord’s life and ministry, and Matt 18 is the Sermon or Discourse on Mercy.
Image 10: Draw 5 scrolls. Matt 19-23 are an account of Our Lord’s life and ministry, and Matt 24-25 are the Sermon or Discourse on the Mount of Olives.
See the symmetry here: Matthew begins his Gospel with the account of Christmas and ends it with the account of Easter; he divides his Gospel into five sections paralleling the Five Books of Moses; and he ends each section with a discourse. Jesus opens His public ministry with the Sermon on the Mount, giving His basic teaching for the Christian life in the Kingdom, and He ends it with His great Eschatological Sermon on the End Times (the ar-Mageddon Sermon).And just as Moses gave the Passover to the Chosen People, Jesus gives the New Passover (the Eucharist) to His Followers, the Church, as we near the end of Matthew’s Gospel. Then we have the account of Easter and the Resurrection and the Great Commission in Matt 26-28.
Wow. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that pattern illustrated (literally) so clearly. I hope you found it as helpful as I did.
Thank you for visiting and reading. I hope you’ll join me again. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, stay safe and well, virtuous and holy, immersing yourself in a study of the Scriptures as the Lord transforms you into the person He always meant for you to be: His SAINT! May the Lord bless and keep you and yours, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+
Notes and Links
- Dr. John Bergsma, Introduction to the NT, Part 2 (this post), Part 1 (last week’s post).
- New Testament Basics for Catholics, by John Bergsma: Paperback, Kindle (Amazon affiliate links, see full disclosure below). This is on my wish list, which list is very long indeed.
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