We have Jeff Cavins because we have Matthew 😁
What should we pay attention to?
What should we attend to?
The story continues…
The Period of Exile and the prophets was VERY LONG
It was 100 days...at least 90 days of the prophets
For most people, it was probably their most exposure to the prophets
What a gift to be able to walk all the way through and hopefully have some CONTEXT
We have the context launching into The Gospel of Matthew
The Exile era was long enough for people to ask, “So how many prophets ARE THERE?” (I’m saying this in my best Jim Gaffigan impression 🤪)
In all fairness, people can get a little bit confused during that time
It is a lot
It might be a good time to REMIND everyone that ONE TIME THROUGH THE BIBLE IS NOT ENOUGH
ONE TIME THROUGH IS LIKE AN INTRODUCTION!!
And then you have the rest of your life to work it out
That’s what Fr. Mike has done
That’s what Jeff Cavins has done over years and decades
The MORE you do it, the EASIER the story gets to understand
IT MAY NOT GET EASIER TO LIVE
It is EASIER TO UNDERSTAND the more you read The Bible
For a lot of people, during the prophets, they HAD to have their Bible in front of them as they were listening in order to follow along and be attentive
There is something to be said to listen to the podcast and follow along in your car and let God’s Word wash over you
Sometimes we need to PAUSE and carve out some time where can not only HEAR the Word of God, but also SEE it
It is EASY to get lost in the prophets
So we are glad we are here now, with this reprieve
So now we are finally in this Messianic Checkpoint in The Gospel of Matthew
Do you know what Jeff Cavins’ favorite book of The Bible is?
In the New Testament, it is The Gospel of Matthew! (Fr. Mike too!)
It is written to Jewish People
This means that Matthew is going to use some words and some phrases and some ideas that the Jewish people will GET
Other people might not get it unless they have somebody to explain a little bit to them
It is just FILLED WITH SO MANY GOOD THINGS
We have already covered The Gospels of John and Mark
So what are some things we can be listening for that are differences when compared to John and Mark?
This is one of the SYNOPTIC GOSPELS
What are the SYNOPTIC GOSPELS? MATTHEW, MARK, and LUKE!!
The Synoptic Gospels mean that they seem to come from a common source with common stories
Matthew, even more than the other Gospels, is dependent on YOU KNOWING THE OLD TESTAMENT
As we read through with Fr. Mike through the New Testament, on this particular Gospel, we will get A LOT OF THINGS OUT OF IT
We visited a lot of this in the Old Testament
At the very beginning of The Gospel of Matthew, we have one of the most well-read portions of Scripture
It is called a GENEALOGY (Uh yeah, I think I’ve heard of that 😉)
We’ve FINALLY gotten to another Messianic Checkpoint and we START WITH A GENEALOGY!! (HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!! 🤪)
In Hebrew, a genealogy is a LITERARY TOOL called a TOLEDOT (Do you remember hearing about this before? Of course you do! Go read Era 2: The Patriarchs or Era 4: Desert Wanderings to be reminded of when Jeff Cavins first taught us what this term means 😁)
TOLEDOT means “generations of”
When Matthew is using this, he is trying to SHOW YOU SOMETHING that is dependent upon the Old Testament
Matthew is trying to show you that there is SOMETHING NEW that is about to begin that is a FULFILLMENT OF EVERYTHING WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH SO FAR THIS YEAR
So when you read the genealogy there are two things that are unusual
First, there are FOUR WOMEN mentioned
These four women are all women who have sort of a question about their life
Bathsheba (named as “the wife of Uriah”)
You have women who make you raise your eyebrows and wonder why Matthew brought them up in the genealogy
Matthew is basically saying, “I am about to unload something on you here that is going to be DIFFERENT. And I want to show you that your whole history has been riddled with DIFFERENT STORIES.”
Matthew will say, “A virgin shall conceive and give birth…”
Matthew wants the people to remember that THEIR BACKGROUND WAS A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT
Second, the genealogies Matthew tells us are really reduced to THREE SETS of FOURTEEN GENERATIONS
The number SEVEN for the Jewish community is a NUMBER OF COVENANT
It is a NUMBER OF FULFILLMENT
It is VERY IMPORTANT
Seven is “Shiva” in Hebrew
When Matthew gives this genealogy it starts from Abraham to David is 14 GENERATIONS
David to the Babylonian deportation (WHICH ALL OF US SHOULD KNOW BY NOW!!) is 14 GENERATIONS
Babylonian captivity to Joseph and Mary is 14 GENERATIONS
NOW PAUSE FOR A SECOND…
That is SIX sets of SEVEN (Ok I used to be good at math...let’s see now 3x14 = 42 and 42/7 = 6 🤔 There, I showed my work!!)
And then suddenly, JESUS IS BROUGHT ONTO THE SCENE
JESUS IS THE BEGINNING OF THE SEVENTH SET OF SEVEN (Wow...try saying THAT three times fast!! Seventhsetofseven seventhsetofseven seventhsetofseven 🤯🤯🤯)
That is the COMPLETION, the FULFILLMENT of EVERYTHING WE HAVE BEEN READING
IN THE CAR
ON THE BEACH
ON THE TREADMILL
WHILE WRITING THE BIBLE IN A YEAR STUDY GUIDE!!
We have come to the FULFILLMENT now
THAT FULFILLMENT IS JESUS CHRIST!!
And THAT is the introduction
It is so incredible to realize that these names we will be hearing when you press play for Day 258 maybe for the first time, many of us will KNOW THESE NAMES
Not just the Babylonian Exile and how SIGNIFICANT that was
But also we will know some of these other names and their stories
When people who have gone through The Great Adventure Bible Timeline have gone on trips to the Holy Land with Jeff Cavins and he mentions the story of Solomon, these people DIAL RIGHT IN on this
Or how about the Divided Kingdom and how Solomon was a builder, the people are just lasered in on and they understand what Jeff is talking about
Some Catholics who might not be as familiar with The Bible Timeline will think “Ok this is good, but who is that?”
This is going to be, FOR SO MANY PEOPLE, on Day 258 to be able to say, “I have been exposed to God’s Word for 258 days and even if I don’t know exactly who or what they did, I KNOW THAT NAME and I KNOW THE CONTEXT HERE.”
That is EXACTLY what Matthew is doing for us at the beginning of his Gospel
THIS IS NOT OUT OF NOWHERE!!
THIS IS NOT OUT OF THE BLUE!!
THIS IS THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD’S COVENANT!!
HIS PROMISES TO HIS PEOPLE ARE FULFILLED IN JESUS CHRIST!!
THIS IS OUR FATHER BEING FAITHFUL!!
This sets the table for us as we start off by establishing that JESUS IS THE SON OF DAVID
RELATED TO DAVID
RELATED TO ABRAHAM
IT GOES ALL THE WAY BACK
It is very Jewish to put a genealogy right at the beginning
So don’t just GLOSS OVER the genealogy
THINK ABOUT IT
LOOK AT THE HISTORY AND STORY OF JESUS CHRIST
If you have a Great Adventure Timeline Chart, there is a RED LINE all the way through that chart
That RED LINE is taken from HERE in the GENEALOGY OF JESUS
THE RED LINE IS THE BLOODLINE OF JESUS!!
St. Augustine said, “The Old Testament is REVEALED in the New Testament. The New Testament is HIDDEN in the Old Testament.”
That is what we have been doing for all of this time
Having the HIDDEN FULFILLMENT in the Old Testament
And now when we hit The Gospels, all this stuff that was HIDDEN IS NOW REVEALED
We can see those pieces and connections now
Matthew’s Gospel gives us an opportunity to see HOW JESUS TEACHES and HOW IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE OLD TESTAMENT WHEN IT COMES TO UNDERSTANDING THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS
We get this right away after the genealogies in Matthew Chs 3 and 4
In Matthew Ch 3 we have The Preaching of John the Baptist
Matthew 3:1-3, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”
Then it goes on in verses 4-6 and tells us WHAT JOHN WORE AND ATE
So was that really necessary?
We want to know what John THOUGHT AND DID
But what Matthew is doing is drawing your attention to John the Baptist and LINKING HIM TO SOMEONE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT!!
This is one of the KEYS to reading The Gospel of Matthew
You have to READ and LISTEN for things that are being FULFILLED
IN JESUS’ LIFE….
WHAT HE DID
WHERE HE WENT
WHAT HE SAID
HOW HE TAUGHT
...IS ALL LINKED TO THE OLD TESTAMENT!!
Pope Benedict XVI was really big on this in his multi-volume set on Jesus of Nazareth
He talks about this type of history where JESUS IS FULFILLING EVERYTHING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Matthew Chs 3 and 4 should remind you of SOMETHING in the Old Testament that JESUS IS FULFILLING
Matthew Ch 3 you have John the Baptist at the Jordan River just north of the Dead Sea
He is dressed like someone
Who is that someone?
So as Bible students we have to ask ourselves constantly…
“Ok John is looking like Elijah...where was Elijah? Let’s go back and look at Elijah.”
We realize that the last place we SEE Elijah was way back in 2 Kings Ch 2 and IT...WAS...RIGHT...HERE!!
The LAST place we saw Elijah was at THE JORDAN RIVER!!
John comes to the Jordan River DRESSED LIKE ELIJAH!!
In Matthew 3:13 Jesus is going to come to the River Jordan and submit himself for BAPTISM
John says, “Wait a minute. I should be baptized by YOU!”
Jesus says, “No. This is NECESSARY. We have to FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
Which means, in Hebrew literally, that “I HAVE TO COMPLETE THE STORY. I HAVE TO IMMERSE MYSELF IN EVERYTHING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT!!”
So that’s in Matthew Ch 3
In Matthew Ch 4, right after Jesus is baptized, he comes up out of the water and he goes off into the wilderness for FORTY DAYS
HE IS TEMPTED THREE MAJOR TIMES!!
The student of Scripture needs to ask the question, “Has this ever happened before in The Old Testament?”
THESE PARTICULAR TEMPTATIONS?
IN THE WILDERNESS?
FOR A TIME OF FORTY DAYS?
All of these things that Matthew is highlighting to point us to
Matthew is pointing out to us...HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST
Matthew is pointing out to us...HERE IS WHAT JESUS IS DOING NOW
So pause for a moment RIGHT NOW
DOES THIS RING A BELL?
IT SHOULD RING A BELL!
IT DID HAPPEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT!!
Israel went into BONDAGE for 400 YEARS
They came out of bondage
They went through the water of the Red Sea
They went out into the WILDERNESS for FORTY YEARS
They TRIED the Lord THREE MAJOR TIMES!!
AND THEY FAILED!
And what does Jesus do?
Jesus FULFILLS ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS
Jesus comes up out of the waters of baptism
Jesus goes into the wilderness for FORTY DAYS
Jesus is tried by the Devil
Jesus is the FAITHFUL SON
Jesus is showing us HOW TO LIVE
We see this kind of history OVER AND OVER in the Gospel of Matthew
So as we are reading this Gospel, DO NOT LISTEN LIGHTLY!!
THINK AS YOU ARE HEARING THIS!!
You are going to see this OVER AND OVER
Whenever we take a moment, even at Mass, when the Word is proclaimed LISTEN OR READ THIS AS IF YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OR READ IT BEFORE
Because then we will be MORE ATTENTIVE
To be able to STOP and ask that question…
WHY WAS JESUS BAPTIZED?
WHY THESE THREE TEMPTATIONS?
WHY THEM AS OPPOSED TO ANY OTHER THINGS THAT CHRIST COULD HAVE BEEN TEMPTED TO DO?
IT IS SO GOOD!!
It was great to have that first Messianic Checkpoint with John’s Gospel
We were so NEW to the BIG PICTURE STORY that we were not necessarily PREPARED to make ALL OF THESE CONNECTIONS that we can make now
It’s been three quarters of a year exposing ourselves to God’s Word and to be able to ask, “Why this?”
These are going to be stories that, for the most part, people will know
Most people who go to Church would have a familiarity with them, maybe more than say The Book of Esther or The Book of Judith
This is a really great opportunity to LISTEN WITH NEW EARS
This is a really great opportunity to READ WITH NEW EYES
This is a really great opportunity to ASK THE QUESTION WITH A NEW PERSPECTIVE
One of the GREATEST PORTIONS OF SCRIPTURE in the ENTIRE BIBLE is the SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Many of us have been there before in Matthew Chs 5-7
Some people say it is the GREATEST CONCENTRATION of Jesus’ teachings and what He came to do in the ENTIRE BIBLE
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT IS AMAZING!!
At the end of the Sermon on the Mount he says, “Ok there is a difference between HEARERS of this and DOERS of this.”
He gives the famous example of “building your house on sand aka you heard it but didn’t do anything with it” and the example of “building your house on rock aka you heard these words and then acted on them.”
THAT IS SO POWERFUL!!
The analogy Jesus makes with building on sand vs building on rock comes in the end of THE MOST CONCENTRATED PORTION OF THE BIBLE OF JESUS’ TEACHINGS
I CAN KNOW THIS!
I CAN HEAR THIS!
I HAVE TO DO IT!
I HAVE TO BUILD MY LIFE ON THIS!
You can think of The Sermon on the Mount as being Jesus’ FULFILLMENT of Moses going up Mount Sinai and RECEIVING THE LAW
THIS is the NEW LAW OF THE KINGDOM
People will say, “Thank God we are in the New Testament! This is so much easier than the Old Testament, which was REALLY REALLY HARD!”
YOU ACTUALLY HAVE IT COMPLETELY UPSIDE DOWN!!
THIS IS HARDER!!
What The Sermon on the Mount is going to REVEAL to us is that THE LAW IS NOT MERELY EXTERNAL
THE LAW IS INTERNAL!!
You could not COMMIT adultery in the Old Testament
YOU CANNOT EVEN THINK ABOUT ADULTERY!
It is INTERNALIZED
IT’S HARDER THAN YOU THINK to follow every aspect
YOU CAN ONLY DO IT BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THIS INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST
This is going to call people to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL OF LIVING
Matthew Ch 6 The Sermon on the Mount is beautiful because we started off in Genesis talking about the problems with Adam and Eve and looking at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
IT WAS BEAUTIFUL
IT TASTED GOOD
IT MADE ONE WISE
We always wondered, “What is the solution to this?”
“How do I battle the lust of the eyes?”
“How do I battle the lust of the flesh?”
“How do I battle the pride of life?”
THE ANSWER IS RIGHT HERE IN MATTHEW CH 6!
Jesus gives us THREE FORMS OF PIETY
That word “piety” kind of sounds funny, eh?
THEY ARE WEAPONS THAT JESUS GIVES YOU!!
For LUST OF THE EYES what does Jesus give you?
If you are having a problem with LUST OF THE EYES, then DIVEST YOURSELF OF THOSE THINGS THAT ARE ATTACHING TO YOU!
For LUST OF THE FLESH what does Jesus give you?
You are dealing with that LUST OF THE FLESH by FASTING
For PRIDE OF LIFE what does Jesus give you?
WE NEED GOD’S HELP!!
That is just a little picture from The Sermon on the Mount of the type of thing that people are going to receive
THAT IS INCREDIBLE!!
Having both the MACRO story and applied in this MICRO way
This isn’t just CONCERNING ALMSGIVING
This isn’t just CONCERNING PRAYER
This isn’t just CONCERNING FASTING
To be able to say WEAPONS means we need to ENGAGE with these THREE WEAPONS...ALMSGIVING, PRAYER, and FASTING to BATTLE AGAINST THE PARTS OF ME THAT WANT TO REBEL
THE PARTS OF ME THAT WANT TO GIVE INTO THE LUST OF THE EYES, LUST OF THE FLESH, THE PRIDE OF LIFE
THESE ARE WEAPONS THAT WE PICK UP AND USE IN PURSUIT OF THE LORD IN BATTLE AGAINST OUR FALLEN HUMAN NATURE!!
THAT IS SO GOOD!!
AND IT TAKES WORK!!
You have to ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES
You have to TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW HIM
Jesus has not just LEFT YOU ALONE
Jesus has given you THESE POWERFUL WEAPONS
Later, at the end of the New Testament with 1 John he kind of bookends the Bible with these three things
THE LUST OF THE FLESH
THE LUST OF THE EYES
THE PRIDE OF LIFE
THESE THINGS ARE NOT OF GOD
God has given us WAYS TO DEAL WITH THEM
Being a Gospel that was written to the Jewish people, it would be INCOMPLETE if Matthew DID NOT WRITE ABOUT THE PAPACY
If he did not write about that POSITION in the Old Testament that WORKED WITH THE KING that RAN THE KINGDOM
In Matthew Ch 16 THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE HAVE
We have the INTRODUCTION TO THE PAPACY which goes ALL THE WAY TO THE PRESENT DAY
IT IS A GIFT FROM GOD to make sure that WE ARE ALL CARED FOR
THAT WE RECEIVE THE EUCHARIST
THAT THE CHURCH HOLDS TOGETHER AS A FAMILY
THAT THE CHURCH HOLDS TOGETHER AS A UNIT
We talked about this previously in The Book of Isaiah (Do you remember what we talked about? Go read Day 201: Keys to the Kingdom in The Bible in a Year Study Guide to refresh your memory 😁)
But here, we get to see it IN THE CONTEXT
HERE IS THE KING
HERE HE IS ESTABLISHING A KINGDOM
HERE IS THE FULFILLMENT OF ALL OF THE PROMISES OF THE PAST
A KINGDOM THAT WILL NOT END BY A KING WHO WILL RULE FOREVER
OH MY GOSH!!
Here it is, Jesus reconstituting the Kingdom under His Lordship
Matthew Ch 16 is ESTABLISHING that role of PRIME MINISTER aka Al Habayit of the King
Everytime Jeff Cavins goes to Caesarea Philippi way up in the north near Syria and Lebanon, he used to give trips as a Protestant but they did not go up there
When he started going up to Caesarea Philippi after he converted to Catholicism, the guides would ask, “Why are you taking a whole day to go all the way up there? Can’t you just TALK about it?”
Jeff Cavins said, “No, you don’t get it. THIS IS IMPORTANT.”
It’s important for Catholics to know the PLACE that Jesus gave the FIRST PRIME MINISTER
THE FIRST PAPA aka ST. PETER!!
Matthew 16:13-19, “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do men say that the Son of man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets,’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
THIS BLEW AWAY THE REST OF THE DISCIPLES!!
So the question is, “What was Jesus doing there in Matthew Ch 16?”
Jesus was establishing Peter as THE PRIME MINISTER
THE FIRST POPE who was really tasked with LEADING THE CHURCH WHEN THE KING ASCENDS
THE KEY THERE, PUN INTENDED, IS THE KEYS!!!
WHOEVER HAS THE KEYS IS THE PRIME MINISTER!
THAT IS IN THE CATHOLIC BIBLE...
THAT IS IN THE PROTESTANT BIBLE...
THAT IS IN ALL OF THE BIBLES!!
The reason is that it is SO IMPORTANT TO KNOW that Jesus did not just establish His Kingdom, walk away and say, “Hey, hope you guys can make it work.”
JESUS PUT LEADERSHIP IN PLACE!
That has been SUCH A GIFT all throughout the years
EVEN IF WE HAD POOR LEADERSHIP THROUGHOUT ALL THESE CENTURIES…
FAITH HAS NOT CHANGED!!
THAT IS THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THROUGH THE PAPACY!!
THAT IS REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT!!
It is NOT just an INVISIBLE or SPIRITUAL KINGDOM
ALTHOUGH IT IS THAT!
IT ALSO HAS STRUCTURE!!
THERE IS LEADERSHIP!!
THERE ARE ROLES THAT PEOPLE FULFILL!!
Not just kind of this vague sense of The Church
You can SEE AND POINT TO AND SAY, “OH! THE KINGDOM IS HERE!”
THE KINGDOM HAS STRUCTURE!
If God was going to FULFILL THESE PROMISES…
The PROMISE was not just for merely a SPIRITUAL KINGDOM
It was a PROMISE for a Kingdom where you could POINT TO AND SEE IT!!
IT WOULD GIVE GOD GLORY!
GOD WOULD SERVE PEOPLE AND SAVE PEOPLE THROUGH THIS KINGDOM!!
A year before Pope John Paul II passed away, Jeff Cavins was invited to meet with him and his family in his private library
He remembers going in there and they all knelt down in front of Pope John Paul II
He looked up and saw that there were KEYS on the collar of his garments
Jeff got so choked up and thought, “Oh my! I have come to the SEAT OF PETER!”
It was an AMAZING MOMENT
That is the CLOSEST one can come to Peter and the history of the Church, to meet The Pope
The Pope is SUCH A GIFT TO US!!
We are grateful for ALL OF THE POPES who have served so well in LOVING US
IN LOVING CHRIST
IN MAKING SURE THAT WE ARE FED AND TAKEN CARE OF
Fr. Mike is an extension of that as well and he has done a GREAT JOB
We are going to learn about this mystery when we read The Book of Hebrews
God choosing men to serve as priests