Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.
Matthew is the first book of the New Testament, the Christian scriptures. The interesting thing about Matthew is just the way it begins, with a genealogy. When you're writing the story of your Messiah, you would think it would have started a little more exciting than a genealogy, but it's an interesting genealogy, partially because of these four women mentioned. Each one of them has a colorful past; they were either foreigners, or prostitutes, or someone who tricked their father-in-law into having a baby with her, even a woman who was in an adulterous relationship with King David. And then from there we have the first birth narrative which is told through Joseph's eyes, and the story of the Three Kings, of the magi. And then we get to the story of the adult Jesus. Now Matthew pictures Jesus as a teacher primarily, as the new Moses. The first set of teaching is the Sermon on the Mount. So Jesus goes on this mount much like Moses goes up on Mount Sinai to get the commandments, and he teaches. In fact there are five groups of teaching in Matthew's gospel, perhaps signifying the five books that were torn up. There are miracle stories and healings — many of the stories we also find in Mark's gospel. The other thing that is interesting about Matthew is how he treats the resurrection. The other gospels, it's a quieter experience with women coming to the tomb and just finding it empty. With Matthew, there is an earthquake and the stone is rolled away and the angel comes and sits on the stone and there are guards there who fall down as if they are dead. And then Matthew ends with the great conviction where Jesus comes and tells the disciples to go out into the world, spread my word, baptize, all in the name of the father, the son, the Holy Spirit that lo I am with you always until the close of the age. That is Matthew's gospel.