Book Overviews · Matthew

Matthew Overview for tomorrow

The Gospel of Matthew

Gospel/Godspell/Good News.  There are 4 Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  The first three Gospels are called “synoptic” because they “see together with a common view” (the word synoptic literally means “together sight”).  It is like shooting the same movie from 3 different angles.

Matthew is written for the Jews.  Matthew’s emphasis is Jesus was the Messiah as foretold in the Old Testaments from the Prophets.  Matthew quotes from the Old Testament more than any other New Testament author.

The keyword in Matthew is “fulfilled” through the prophet…

You may have heard the book of Matthew referred to as the “Gospel of the Kingdom”, the term kingdom of heaven is used 43 times in this book.

Matthew’s name means Gift of the Lord.  Matthew was a man originally names Levi.  If you read the Old Testament you would be able to guess just from his name that he was born into a priesthood family (the Levites).  However, he chose to be a Tax Collector.  The tax collectors were extremely corrupt: they would pre-pay the taxes for people and then charge the people heavy interest and pocket it.   We can also guess that he made a lucrative living.  This was against the Law of Moses stated in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, so the tax collectors had bad reputations with the Jewish Leaders. But he gave it all up when Jesus called him to follow him.  (Ch. 9)

The book of Matthew has 3 Great Discourses

  • Sermon on the Mount
  • Kingdom Parables
  • Olivet Discourse

The book focuses on Jesus is the King of the Jews.  He writes about Jesus being the son of Abraham  (fulfilling the Covenant that He would bless all nations) and the son of David ( fulfilling the Covenant that He would establish a Kingdom that would last forever).

If you have read through the Old Testament, this might be your favorite Gospel since we will be looking at the prophecies of the Old Testament being fulfilled on every page.

Click here if you want to print a new reading schedule.


John · Luke

Luke 1 and John 1:1-14

Luke 1 (I bolded some fun words for those who have been reading through OT and NT)

  • The political figure in Rome was Caesar Augustus, but the appointed leader in Judah (Jerusalem) was Herod the Great).  The Jews were a self-governing body as long as they remained peaceful and quiet. (put that in your pocket for later)
  • Priests (from the tribe of Levi)  took turns taking care of the temple, chosen by “casting lots” (like dice that God controlled) to see whose turn it is daily.  Part of taking care of the temple was burning incense which represented prayer (the smoke going up to the Heavens like our prayers do).  So this day, it was Priest Zechariah’s day-chosen by God. 
  • It is noted that Zechariah is a descendant of Aaron.   Aaron was Moses’ brother, which meant Zechariah came from a line of High Priests (great importance).

OK, back to Luke. Wait…before we begin:

  • Zechariah means “God Remembers”
  • Elizabeth means “HIs Oath”

We open the Gospel with GOD REMEMBERS HIS OATH!!

Zechariah was chosen (by God) to burn the incense in the Temple.  There were 20,000 priests at that time to be chosen…God chose Zechariah specifically for the duty of burning the incense: the incense in the Temple represented prayer.

QETORET: The Fragrance of Jerusalem | Halakha of the Day

The angel tells him that his barren wife will give birth.  (Impossible made possible) and here is the “Bridge” between Old Testament and the New Testament.  A scripture from Malach 4:5 bridged to Luke: (God remembers His Oath through Zechariah and Elizabeth)

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:16 and Malachi 4.5)

John will come before the Messiah in the spirit of Elijah the prophet. He will be dedicated to the Lord as “His” through a vow called a Nazarite Vow.

 Numbers 6 (click here), the Nazarite Vow.

A parent could dedicate their child to the Lord by committing them to not drink alcohol, cut their hair,  or touch a dead carcass. Other Nazarites in the Bible included Sampson and  Samuel.

Elizabeth recognized the miracle that they were able to conceive.  Zechariah was in doubt and the Lord kept him silent until the day of the birth. (Wait for it…..there is a test of Faith here Zechariah will get an A+ on)

The same angel,  Gabriel,  now speaks to Mary about Jesus being born through her.  She is from a small town called Nazareth, so insignificant the Bible had to note:  Nazareth, a town in Galilee.

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.

It is very important that the “legal” (not birth) father is a descendant of David.  In 2 Samuel 7 we read about the Davidic Covenant. This is an unconditional covenant made between God and David through which God promises David and Israel that the Messiah would come from the lineage of David, the tribe of Judah, and would establish a kingdom that would endure forever. The Davidic Covenant is unconditional because God does not place any conditions of obedience upon its fulfillment.  It’s HIS Covenant-His Oath.

Abraham's Family Tree Chart

Jesus, the Greek word for ‘Joshua’ in Hebrew means “The Lord Saves”. Do notice that Mary believes Gabriel not just because an angel is before her but because she is a woman of faith, and KNEW the Word of God through studying scripture.  How do I know this??  Read her song we call the Magnificat-weaved through this song are roughly 15 Old Testament quotes.  This young woman knew her Scriptures.

Explore the Life of Mary This Advent Season - LogosTalk

When John is born, Zechariah’s family adhered to the law by circumcising and naming him on the 8th day.  Naming a child after the father meant he would follow in his footsteps.  They knew this would be an only child so others at the circumcision just assumed he would be a “Junior”.  Zechariah’s decision to name him John was a profession that it was only by God that he had a son (even though he was conceived the old fashioned way).  A+ !  And Zechariah’s mouth was opened and he immediately praised God through a song too called the Benedictus. (To be Blessed)

(This reading was long and the post was long BUT if anyone wants to continue the conversation in the comments there are a million things I could have talked about) 😃

John 1:1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

The word “Word” was Logos which spoke to both the Jew and the Gentile.  The word God was so reverent that they used other words in its place.

This is the foundational scripture of the Trinity being present at the creation of the World.  Genesis 1 says:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

and now add John 1:1 to it.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

Jesus is the Word. (How do we know it is the 3rd part of the Trinity?… How can we defend Genesis 1 that Jesus was present at the creation? 

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Book Overviews · John

John Overview

Who wrote the book of John? If you said John the Baptist you are in good company but you would be wrong. (Most people think that).  It is John the apostle (brother of James).  John is a disciple of John the Baptist.  He is also used by God to write 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation.

John is the book for ALL.  It is written to prove that Jesus was the promised Messiah to the Jews and the Son of God to the Gentiles.  The Keyword in John is believe (used 98 times). 

The theme of John’s book is Jesus Deity or Holiness. In this book, there is no genealogy because Jesus was In the Beginning with God at the Creation.

This book is not like the other 3 Gospels.  The other 3 are called Synoptic, for their similarities.  Jesus talks to the people in Judea,  The other 3 portray Jesus in action miracles, parables, and speeches to the multitudes.  John captures Jesus in mediation and communion.

As many of you may have picked up in the OT, 7 is a very important number.  A number of completeness.  In the book of John, there will be

  • Miracles,
  • 7 “I Am”
  • 7 Witnesses called to prove that He is God.


Book Overviews · Luke

Luke Overview

The book of Luke was written by a gentile for the gentiles.  Luke was a Dr. writing for Theophilus.  Theophilus may have been Luke’s friend, his lawyer, his financer,  but I think of it this way…Theophilus means “one who loves God” in Greek.  So when it is said Luke is writing it to Theophilus,  I think the book is written to me, (and you) “one who loves God”. He specifically was writing to the Greeks.  (This totally makes sense now that we read about the Intertestement Time “the Silent Years”.  Greeks believed in the “Perfect Man”- that is what Philopsphers preached about.  So Luke will refer to Jesus as “the Son of Man”.  He is the Perfect Man.

The emphasis of this book is: What Jesus Felt.  This book writes about Jesus’ compassion and miracles.  In fact, there are more miracles in this book than Matthew and Mark put together.

  • This book will tell 20 miracles, 7 of them can only be found in Luke
  • This book will tell 23 parables, 18 of them can only be found in Luke
  • This book is the only one that has songs like the Magnificat and the song of Elizabeth
  • This book is the only one that shares the post-resurrection account on the Road to Emmaus.

The book of Luke is the most complete narration and is relatively the most chronological.