A Gospel Written to Make Disciples?


I've always had trouble understanding the Gospel of Matthew.

Luke tells us why he's writing his Gospel:

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Mark also lays it out:

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,
And John, you've got to read to the end, but he also says:
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
But what is the Gospel of Matthew all about?  Why did he write it?

This month I'm studying Matthew in my personal time in Scripture.  I'm listening to a sermon series, reading a commentary and really, really digging through Scripture.

Today, I read an idea by Stanley Hauerwas, that Matthew wrote his Gospel to help men and women become disciples of Jesus.  This resonates with the Great Commission, which calls the church to make disciples.  Will this idea hold up as a guiding idea for the Gospel?

Why do you think Matthew wrote his Gospel?

"Inspiration of St. Matthew" by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, courtesy of wikipaintings.org

2 comments:

  1. The idea of making disciples sounds like a good one. What I have long heard is that Matthew wrote his Gospel primarily for Jewish believers. It begins with the genealogy of "Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham," and the genealogy starts with Abraham, whereas Luke takes the genealogy all the way back to Adam.

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  2. Micheal, I could see that.

    There's the genealogy but also the consistent reliance on Old Testament prophecy and language.

    If Matthew's audience was primarily Jewish, it would make sense that the response Matthew offers is one of discipleship (rather that Luke's understanding or John's belief).

    That said, Matthew does weave a strong case for the inclusion of the Gentiles into the kingdom of God and, at times, seems to be encouraging them. Is that why some folks think this was written to Jewish Christians, rather than to people who were outside of the church?

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