Beginning June 30, 2013, I entered the world of Matthew’s Gospel at Kosmosdale Baptist Church on Sunday mornings. I completed the exposition of the book on April 10, 2016, in a total of 123 sermons. The number of weeks between those dates doesn’t match the 123 sermons because I took brief breaks between chunks of the book.
In June 2013, I started with Matthew 3 for a couple of reasons:
- I had just completed an exposition of Malachi and so moved immediately from the promise of the future Elijah (Mal. 4:4-6) to his arrival in John the Baptist (Matt. 3).
- I wanted to save Matthew 1-2 for later that year as an Advent series.
Throughout my many months in the First Gospel, several passages stand out in my memory as especially edifying to my soul as I studied for them and preach them:
- Jesus’ words about fasting in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6:16-18)
- Jesus’ cleansing of a leper (Matt. 8:1-4)
- Jesus’ pronouncement of woes on unrepentant regions (Matt. 11:20-24)
- Jesus’ rejection at his hometown synagogue (Matt. 13:53-58)
- Jesus’ walk upon the water (Matt. 14:22-33)
- Jesus’ second explicit teaching about his death and resurrection (Matt. 17:22-23)
- Jesus’ parable about the unforgiving servant (Matt. 18:21-35)
- Jesus’ healing of two blind men (Matt. 20:29-34)
- Jesus’ prayers in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:31-46)
- Jesus’ betrayal and arrest (Matt. 26:47-56)
- Jesus’ Jewish trial (Matt. 26:57-68)
- Jesus’ burial by Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:57-61)
- Jesus’ great commission to his disciples (Matt. 28:16-20)
Having preached lengthy series before during my time in pastoral ministry–such as John, Acts, and Romans–the series in Matthew was my longest exposition thus far. Throughout 123 sermons, I was continually reminded of the benefits of book exposition. Here are three:
- The congregation becoming intimately acquainted with a book of the Bible, especially one the size of Matthew
- The congregation beholding the intertextual connections and unfolding arrangement of a book of the Bible
- The congregation hearing passages that may otherwise not be preached, such as the opening genealogy (Matt. 1:1-17), divorce and remarriage (5:31-32; 19:1-12), fasting (6:16-18), the temple tax (17:24-27), the cursing of the fig tree (21:18-22), and the suicide of Judas (27:3-10)
I loved preaching through Matthew’s Gospel for many reasons. Here are ten, in no particular order:
- It’s the doorway into the New Testament canon
- It’s the First of the Four Gospels
- Its various and frequent uses of the Old Testament through quotation, allusion, and echo
- Its wonderful mixture of narrative sequences and lengthy teaching discourses
- Its many parables
- Its lengthy narration of Passion Week (Matt. 21-28)
- Its lengthy Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25)
- Its overlap with Mark’s Gospel is so strong that preaching through Matthew is like preaching through Mark as well (approximately 90% of Mark is in Matthew)
- Its unique stories among the Gospels, such as the visit of the Magi (Matt. 2:1-12)
- Its literary artistry–and time would fail me in this post to reflect on the many examples of this Gospel’s beauty, cohesion, and inner-connections
I profited so much from New Testament scholars, especially the commentaries by:
- R. T. France
- Grant Osborne
- Leon Morris
- John Nolland
- [Jonathan Pennington–his name would certainly go here, but his commentary isn’t available yet! :) ]
By God’s grace, I never felt weary preaching so many sermons from Matthew’s Gospel. And again by God’s grace, the congregation was continually receptive and encouraging, month after month. We anticipated the completion of the Gospel together.
This past Sunday, as soon as I preached the last sermon in Matthew 28, one of our deacons came up and asked me what I was preaching the following Sunday. “Will you be going to Mark 1?” he asked (with perhaps a hint of concern in his voice, though I wasn’t sure). Now canonically, of course, Mark 1 follows Matthew 28, but I answered “No” with a smile.
Praise God for the Gospel of Matthew! Our Savior is Jesus, who is Immanuel, Son of David, Son of Abraham, the Seed of the Woman, the one greater than the temple, the one greater than Solomon, the longed-for prophet like Moses, the Suffering Servant, the Christ, the righteous sufferer, the final sacrifice, the ultimate temple, the perfect high priest, the last Adam, and the firstfruits of resurrection.