Messianic Checkpoint: The Gospel of Matthew

Messianic Checkpoint: The Gospel of Matthew (with Jeff Cavins)

Messianic Checkpoint: The Gospel of Matthew (Gold for the Gifts of the Magi)


Introduction:

This era covers The Gospel of Matthew


The Gospel According to Matthew

Author:

  • Matthew is the first book of the New Testament.

  • Although the name of the author is not mentioned, the Gospel has been attributed to St. Matthew from the earliest days of the Church.

  • St. Matthew, also called Levi, was a tax collector from Capernaum.

  • In first-century Palestine the Jews reviled tax collectors as sinners because they collaborated with the occupying Romans and often imposed additional fees for themselves.

  • The Gospel relates that, when Christ called St. Matthew to follow him, St. Matthew underwent a dramatic conversion, leaving his profession immediately to become one of the Apostles (cf. 9:9).

  • Christ’s choice of St. Matthew demonstrates the universal call to holiness, for it is through the Church and her Sacraments that sinners can repent, receive forgiveness, and be empowered by grace to lead virtuous lives.

  • St. Matthew last appears in Scripture with the other Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the assembly (cf. Acts 1:12-24).


Date:

  • Matthew was held by many early witnesses to have been the first gospel written.

  • Because it refers to the Temple (which was destroyed by the Romans AD 70) as if it still existed, scholars place its composition between AD 50 and 70.


Audience:

  • According to the third-century historian Eusebius, St. Matthew’s apostolic mission was directed primarily to the Jews.

  • He wrote his Gospel likely in Hebrew or Aramaic, the common languages of first-century Palestine, and addressed it to Jewish converts to Christianity who lived in the region.

  • He mentioned Jewish customs often without elaboration, evidently because his audience was already familiar with them.

  • He also quoted or referred to the Old Testament frequently in order to corroborate details of Christ’s life and teachings, thus underlining how the Gospel and the saving mission of Christ fulfill the narratives and prophecies of the Pentateuch, the prophets, the wisdom literature, and the Psalms.


Main Themes:

  • Matthew has sometimes been referred to as the “Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

  • The Gospel stresses the divinity of Jesus Christ and presents the Trinitarian nature of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

  • The genealogy and infancy narratives that comprise the Gospel’s first four chapters emphasize that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the son of David, and the son of Abraham.

  • Christ’s ministry in Galilee, in which he proclaimed the Kingdom of God, was built largely around his Sermon on the Mount (cf. 5:1-7:29), his parables, and his miracles.

  • Christ perfected the Old Law by preaching the New Law based on love of God and neighbor.

  • Although he was doubted and rejected by the Jewish leaders, St. Peter confessed that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” and Christ responded by making St. Peter the visible head of his Church on earth (cf. 16:13-20).

  • As Christ traveled toward Jerusalem to fulfill his mission, he explained the meaning of discipleship, forgiveness, and service to others.

  • Once in Jerusalem, he began to reveal himself more publicly as the Messiah and called his disciples to be vigilant to the end.

  • In his Passion and Death, he assumed the role of the Suffering Servant prophesied by Isaiah (cf. Is 52:13-53:12); after his Resurrection, he charged the disciples to continue his mission to all peoples and guaranteed his presence in the Church to the end of time (cf. 28:16-20).

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)


  • 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

  • AND NOW…

  • 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

  • BUT…

  • 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

  • BUT…

  • 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

  • BUT…

  • 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

  • Rahab

  • Tamar

  • Ruth

  • 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…”

  • Say what??

  • 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

  • IN AIRPLANES

  • 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?

  • ELIJAH!!

  • 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

  • REMEMBER…

  • 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!

  • THEY FAILED!

  • THEY FAILED!

  • 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!!

  • 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?

  • 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

  • WOW!

  • OK!

  • I CAN KNOW THIS!

  • I CAN HEAR THIS!

  • BUT…

  • 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!”

  • GUESS WHAT??

  • 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

  • BUT...

  • THE LAW IS INTERNAL!!

  • You could not COMMIT adultery in the Old Testament

  • NOW…

  • 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?

  • Very “CHURCH-Y”

  • BUT…

  • THEY ARE WEAPONS THAT JESUS GIVES YOU!!

  • For LUST OF THE EYES what does Jesus give you?

  • ALMSGIVING!!

  • 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?

  • FASTING!!

  • You are dealing with that LUST OF THE FLESH by FASTING

  • For PRIDE OF LIFE what does Jesus give you?

  • PRAYER!!

  • HUMBLE YOURSELF!!

  • 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

  • BUT…

  • 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

  • BUT…

  • 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!

  • PERIOD!!

  • 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!

  • BUT…

  • 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

  • BUT…

  • 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

  • Jesus is the ONE HIGH PRIEST

  • And Jesus shares that ministry, that GRACE

  • To be able to be brought into that and do what they can as human beings, as PRIESTS is AMAZING

  • As we move all the way through Matthew’s Gospel, what are some things to pay attention to?

  • Pay attention to the fact that Mathew is a Jew writing to the Jews

  • Pay attention to the reality that we need to see how the New Testament is HIDDEN in the Old Testament and The Old Testament is REVEALED in the New Testament

  • So what other launching points are there?

  • Reading The Bible not just as a curiosity seeker

  • READ THE BIBLE AS A DISCIPLE

  • In The Gospels we see the language used over and over that THEY FOLLOWED JESUS

  • In The Book of the Acts of the Apostles we see ONLY ONE TIME where they use the word FOLLOW Jesus and now it changes to WALKING WITH JESUS

  • JESUS IS INSIDE OF YOU

  • JESUS IS EMPOWERING YOU

  • SO LISTEN TO THE GOSPEL WITH BOTH OF THOSE IN MIND

  • LEARN TO FOLLOW JESUS

  • BUT…

  • BE AWARE THAT YOU ARE WALKING WITH JESUS

  • Because Jesus has given YOU the responsibility to CARRY OUT HIS WISHES AND TO CARRY OUT HIS WILL

  • You will see that laid out in The Gospel of Matthew

  • WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?

  • Well you are going to be SOAKED in it now

  • What Jesus WOULD do should be the types of things WE DO

  • We want to come to know JESUS’ VOICE!

  • For those of you who are married, pay attention to Matthew Ch 19 which is a very powerful teaching on marriage

  • Matthew Ch 24 is the ENDTIMES SCENARIO

  • Matthew is going to talk about THE END OF AN AGE and the BEGINNING OF A NEW AGE

  • THE END OF THE OLD COVENANT

  • THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW COVENANT

  • All of the Gospel writers have one of these ENDTIMES SCENARIOS

  • Mark Ch 13

  • Luke Ch 21

  • Matthew Ch 24

  • John has an ENTIRE BOOK about it...The Book of Revelation

  • They ALL talk about how the END is coming

  • Which was written 2000 years ago

  • BUT…

  • It also has something to do about the FUTURE AS WELL and how we are to LIVE

  • THAT IS REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT!!

  • One of the great parts of Scripture is THE GREAT COMMISSION at the very end of Matthew’s Gospel

  • This is one of the parts of Matthew’s Gospel that speaks to us VERY CLEARLY

  • Matthew 28:18-20, “And 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, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe ALL that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you ALWAYS, to the close of the age.’”

  • One of the LAUNCHING POINTS is that as you listen to Matthew Chs 1-4 and the rest of the Gospel, LISTEN CAREFULLY

  • At the end, Jesus is going to ask you TO TEACH OTHER PEOPLE TO OBSERVE ALL OF THIS

  • So you don’t want to get to the end and say, “Oh, I wasn’t really paying attention there! Maybe I ought to go back and rewind.”

  • Matthew is the first part of the Bible Fr. Mike read on his own

  • One of the things he was struck by THEN and so many times after is the CONDITIONS FOR DISCIPLESHIP

  • THE CALL TO FOLLOW HIM

  • THE HARVEST IS ABUNDANT BUT THE LABORERS ARE FEW

  • ALL THESE CALLS TO BELONG TO HIM

  • TO FOLLOW HIM

  • TO DENY YOURSELF

  • TO PICK UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW IN HIS FOOTSTEPS

  • BUT…

  • There is a PAST that is REAL

  • There is also a PRESENT REALITY

  • We are called to FOLLOW JESUS

  • We are also WALKING WITH JESUS

  • As we listen to Matthew’s Gospel and HEAR Jesus’ call to FOLLOW HIM, for those of us who HAVE become DISCIPLES OF JESUS, BOTH OF THESE THINGS ARE HAPPENING

  • WE ARE FOLLOWING HIM

  • WE ARE WALKING WITH HIM

  • This is ACTIVELY GOING ON

  • So we can be COMMISSIONED BY JESUS TO TEACH

  • It is so different to show up to class when you are just there to learn

  • You make it on time for class and sit down

  • As opposed to TEACHING THE CLASS

  • YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE

  • YOU HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING

  • YOU HAVE TO LEAD THIS

  • YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER

  • IT IS A MASSIVELY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE

  • It’s a great piece of wisdom to realize that at the end of this Gospel Jesus says, Go now and teach.”

  • Ok so PREPARE YOURSELF to not just LISTEN

  • PREPARE YOURSELF TO SHARE!!

  • Everything you HEAR in this Gospel

  • In every way of LIVING...

  • In every way of LEARNING...

  • In every way of SPEAKING...

  • In every way of THINKING...

  • Is what the WORLD IS LOOKING FOR!!

  • What you are going to LISTEN TO is what the WORLD IS SEARCHING FOR!!

  • As the great Rabbi in Jesus’ day, Hillel once said, “If not you, who? If not now, when?”

  • This is OUR TIME

  • We are on the stage now

  • The baton has been passed to your hands now

  • It’s your leg of the race

  • It’s your time to run

  • We are so grateful for Jeff Cavins for running his leg of the race

  • Hopefully we can all do our part and run our leg of the race

  • This is why Fr. Mike prays for us

  • We have to pray for each other

  • THE TASK IS HUGE!!

  • IT IS NOT THE SMALL COMMISSION!!

  • IT IS THE GREAT COMMISSION!!

  • IT IS A BIG TASK THAT IS BIGGER THAN ALL OF US!!

  • SO WE NEED GOD’S GRACE!!

  • OR ELSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!!

  • THE WORD OF GOD IS CHANGING LIVES

  • We LOVE how Fr. Mike is teaching us!

  • The other day, Jeff Cavins had to call the police because someone had broken into his garage

  • He was talking to the officer and they started talking about the Bible in a Year Podcast

  • The policeman listened to the podcast!!

  • FANTASTIC!

  • You never know who’s listening!

  • VERY COOL!

  • Sorry about Jeff’s garage, though

  • Someone broke into Fr. Mike’s house and stole his LIMBO STICK

  • I mean, how low can you go? (chortle chortle 🤪)

  • BA BUM BUM PSSHHHHHHH

  • PRAY FOR FR. MIKE AND JEFF CAVINS

  • PRAY FOR EACH OTHER