Written after the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70, Matthew presents Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham, the Saviour who will save us from our sins. He is the fulfilment of the hope of Israel. His Gospel is both a portrait of Jesus and a portrait of the Matthean community.
Matthew's community is trying to define its identity in relation to the Jewish community of which at heart, it is a part, while it struggles to understand how it should respond to those from the Gentile community who seek to join them. The story of the Cannanite Woman (Ch.15) touches upon this and its solution, as do the final verses of his Gospel: To go out and make disciples of all nations.
Familiar with the Gospel of Mark, Matthew uses 606 of Mark's 661 verses but retells the story of Mark in his own distinctive way adding material from other sources: The birth of Jesus; a portrait of Jesus as teacher (Chs. 5-7); Jesus as healer (Chs.8-9).
At the heart of Jesus teaching are the beatitudes (Chs.5-7) a challenge to transformation of mind and heart. The tap-root which energises each of the Beatitudes is the command to love God and love one's neighbour.
From prison, John the Baptist sends disciples to Jesus to inquire, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another," Jesus replies: "Go and tell John what you hear and see, the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the good news brought to them…" (11:3-5). This is the mission of Jesus and those who are his disciples. Throughout his Gospel the poor and the sick are present. "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick."(9:12). Compassion for the sick and the poor is woven through the Gospel. A similar compassion should mark the disciples. "You have received a gift, give a gift." (10:8).Throughout the Gospel the disciples are learners struggling, with failure and doubt, to do as Jesus did - the will of the Father. After the Resurrection they are sent: "Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'" (28:18-20)
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries