# Gospel of Matthew

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The Gospel According to Matthew (Greek : Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μαθθαῖον, romanized: Euangélion katà Maththaîon; [1] also called the Gospel of Matthew or simply, Matthew) is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells how the promised [2] Messiah, Jesus [3] , rejected by Israel, is killed, is raised from the dead, and finally sends the disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world. [4] Most scholars believe it was composed between AD 80 and 90, with a range of possibility between AD 70 to 110 (a pre-70 date remains a minority view). [5] [6] The anonymous author was probably a male Jew, standing on the margin between traditional and non-traditional Jewish values, and familiar with technical legal aspects of scripture being debated in his time. [7] Writing in a polished Semitic "synagogue Greek", he drew on the Gospel of Mark as a source, and likely used a hypothetical collection of sayings known as the Q source, although the existence of Q has been questioned by some scholars. [Notes 1] [8] [9] [10] He also used material unique to his own community, called the M source or "Special Matthew". [11] [12]

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Romanization of Greek is the transliteration (letter-mapping) or transcription (sound-mapping) of text from the Greek alphabet into the Latin alphabet. The conventions for writing and romanizing Ancient Greek and Modern Greek differ markedly, which can create confusion. The sound of the English letter B was written as β in ancient Greek but is now written as the digraph μπ, while the modern β sounds like the English letter V instead. The Greek name Ἰωάννης became Johannes in Latin and then John in English, but in Greek itself has instead become Γιάννης; this might be written as Yannis, Jani, Ioannis, Yiannis, or Giannis, but not Giannes or Giannēs as it would have been in ancient Greek. The masculine Greek word Ἅγιος or Άγιος might variously appear as Hagiοs, Agios, Aghios, or Ayios, or simply be translated as "Holy" or "Saint" in English forms of Greek placenames.

The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first being the Old Testament. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture.

## Contents

The divine nature of Jesus was a major issue for the Matthaean community, the crucial element separating the early Christians from their Jewish neighbors; while Mark begins with Jesus' baptism and temptations, Matthew goes back to Jesus' origins, showing him as the Son of God from his birth, the fulfillment of Old Testament messianic prophecies. [13] The title Son of David identifies Jesus as the healing and miracle-working Messiah of Israel (it is used exclusively in relation to miracles), sent to Israel alone. [14] As Son of Man he will return to judge the world, an expectation which his disciples recognise but of which his enemies are unaware. [15] As Son of God he is God revealing himself through his son, and Jesus proving his sonship through his obedience and example. [16]

Early Christianity covers the period from its origins until the First Council of Nicaea (325). This period is typically divided into the Apostolic Age and the Ante-Nicene Period.

The baptism of Jesus is described in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John's gospel does not directly describe Jesus' baptism.

The terms "son of God" and "son of the LORD" are found in several passages of the Old Testament. In Christianity, the title Son of God refers to the status of Jesus as the divine son of God the Father.

The gospel reflects the struggles and conflicts between the evangelist's community and the other Jews, particularly with its sharp criticism of the scribes and Pharisees. [17] Prior to the Crucifixion the Jews are called Israelites, the honorific title of God's chosen people; after it, they are called "Ioudaioi", Jews, a sign that through their rejection of the Christ the "Kingdom of Heaven" has been taken away from them and given instead to the church. [18]

Crucifixion is a method of capital punishment in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden beam and left to hang, perhaps for several days, until eventual death from exhaustion and asphyxiation.

The Israelites were a confederation of Iron Age Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the tribal and monarchic periods. According to the religious narrative of the Hebrew Bible, the Israelites' origin is traced back to the Biblical patriarchs and matriarchs Abraham and his wife Sarah, through their son Isaac and his wife Rebecca, and their son Jacob who was later called Israel, whence they derive their name, with his wives Leah and Rachel and the handmaids Zilpa and Bilhah.

The concept of the kingship of God appears in all Abrahamic religions, where in some cases the terms Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are also used. The notion of God's kingship goes back to the Hebrew Bible, which refers to "his kingdom" but does not include the term "Kingdom of God".

## Composition and setting

### Manuscripts

The oldest relatively complete manuscripts of the Bible are the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus , which date from the 4th century. Besides these, there exist manuscript fragments ranging from a few verses to whole chapters. and are notable fragments of Matthew. These are copies of copies. In the process of recopying, variations slipped in, different regional manuscript traditions emerged, and corrections and adjustments were made. Modern textual scholars collate all major surviving manuscripts, as well as citations in the works of the Church Fathers, in order to produce a text which most likely approximates to the lost autographs. [19]

The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians.

The Codex Vaticanus is regarded as the oldest extant manuscript of the Greek Bible, one of the four great uncial codices. The Codex is named after its place of conservation in the Vatican Library, where it has been kept since at least the 15th century. It is written on 759 leaves of vellum in uncial letters and has been dated palaeographically to the 4th century.

Codex Sinaiticus or "Sinai Bible" is one of the four great uncial codices, ancient, handwritten copies of the Greek Bible. The codex is a celebrated historical treasure.

### Authorship and sources

The gospel itself does not specify an author, but he was probably a male Jew, standing on the margin between traditional and non-traditional Jewish values, and familiar with technical legal aspects of scripture being debated in his time. [7] The majority of modern scholars believe that Mark was the first gospel to be composed and that Matthew (who includes some 600 of Mark's 661 verses) and Luke both drew upon it as a major source for their works. [20] [21] The author of Matthew did not, however, simply copy Mark, but used it as a base, emphasising Jesus' place in the Jewish tradition and including other details not covered in Mark. [22] He likely took an additional 220 (approximately) verses, shared by Matthew and Luke but not found in Mark, from a second source, a hypothetical collection of sayings to which scholars give the name "Quelle" ("source" in the German language), or the Q source. [23] This view, known as the two-source hypothesis (Mark and Q), allows for a further body of tradition known as "Special Matthew", or the M source, meaning material unique to Matthew; this may represent a separate source, or it may come from the author's church, or he may have composed these verses himself. [21] The author also had the Greek scriptures at his disposal, both as book-scrolls (Greek translations of Isaiah, the Psalms etc.) and in the form of "testimony collections" (collections of excerpts), and, if Papias is correct, probably oral stories of his community. [24] These sources were predominantly in Greek, [25] but mostly not from any known version of the Septuagint; [26] a few scholars hold that some of them may have been Greek translations of older Hebrew or Aramaic sources. [27] [28]

Marcan priority, the hypothesis that the Gospel of Mark was the first-written of the three Synoptic Gospels and was used as a source by the other two is a central element in discussion of the synoptic problem – the question of the documentary relationship among these three Gospels.

The Q source is a hypothetical written collection of primarily Jesus' sayings (logia). Q is part of the common material found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke but not in the Gospel of Mark. According to this hypothesis, this material was drawn from the early Church's oral tradition.

The two-source hypothesis is an explanation for the synoptic problem, the pattern of similarities and differences between the three Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It posits that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were based on the Gospel of Mark and a hypothetical sayings collection from the Christian oral tradition called Q.

### Setting and date

The majority view among scholars is that Matthew was a product of the last quarter of the 1st century. [29] [Notes 2] This makes it a work of the second generation of Christians, for whom the defining event was the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in AD 70 in the course of the First Jewish–Roman War (AD 66–73); from this point on, what had begun with Jesus of Nazareth as a Jewish messianic movement became an increasingly Gentile phenomenon evolving in time into a separate religion. [30] The Christian community to which Matthew belonged, like many 1st-century Christians, was still part of the larger Jewish community: hence the designation Jewish Christian to describe them. [31] The relationship of Matthew to this wider world of Judaism remains a subject of study and contention, the principal question being to what extent, if any, Matthew's community had cut itself off from its Jewish roots. [32] Certainly there was conflict between Matthew's group and other Jewish groups, and it is generally agreed that the root of the conflict was the Matthew community's belief in Jesus as the Messiah and authoritative interpreter of the law, as one risen from the dead and uniquely endowed with divine authority. [33]

The Second Temple was the Jewish holy temple which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the Second Temple period, between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced Solomon's Temple, which was destroyed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 586 BCE, when Jerusalem was conquered and part of the population of the Kingdom of Judah was taken into exile to Babylon.

The First Jewish–Roman War, sometimes called the Great Revolt, or The Jewish War, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire, fought in Roman-controlled Judea, resulting in the destruction of Jewish towns, the displacement of its people and the appropriation of land for Roman military usage, besides the destruction of the Jewish Temple and polity.

In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias is a saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of moshiach, messianism, and of a Messianic Age originated in Judaism, and in the Hebrew Bible; a moshiach (messiah) is a king or High Priest traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil. Messiahs were not exclusively Jewish: the Book of Isaiah refers to Cyrus the Great, king of the Achaemenid Empire, as a messiah for his decree to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple.

The author of Matthew wrote for a community of Greek-speaking Jewish Christians located probably in Syria (Antioch, the largest city in Roman Syria and the third-largest in the empire, is often mentioned). [34] Unlike Mark, Matthew never bothers to explain Jewish customs, since his intended audience was a Jewish one; unlike Luke, who traces Jesus' ancestry back to Adam, father of the human race, he traces it only to Abraham, father of the Jews; of his three presumed sources only "M", the material from his own community, refers to a "church" (ecclesia), an organised group with rules for keeping order; and the content of "M" suggests that this community was strict in keeping the Jewish law, holding that they must exceed the scribes and the Pharisees in "righteousness" (adherence to Jewish law). [35] Writing from within a Jewish-Christian community growing increasingly distant from other Jews and becoming increasingly Gentile in its membership and outlook, Matthew put down in his gospel his vision "of an assembly or church in which both Jew and Gentile would flourish together". [36]

## Structure and content

Detailed content of Matthew 1. Birth stories Genealogy (1:1–17) Nativity (1:18–25) Biblical Magi (2:1–12) Flight into Egypt (2:13–20) Jesus in Nazareth (2:21–23) 2. Baptism and early ministry John the Baptist (3:1–12) Baptism of Jesus (3:13–17) Temptation of Jesus (4:1–11) Capernaum (4:12–17) First disciples of Jesus (4:18–22) Galilee preaching tour (4:23–25) 3. Sermon on the Mount (5–7) 4. Healing and miracles Healing many (8:1–17) Foxes have holes (8:18–20) Let the dead bury the dead (8:21–22) Calming the storm (8:23–27) Gadarene demoniacs (8:28–34) Healing a paralytic (9:1–8) Calling of Matthew (9:9–13) On fasting (9:14–15) New Wine into Old Wineskins (9:16–17) Daughter of Jairus (9:18–26) Two blind men (9:27–31) Exorcising a mute (9:32–34) Good crop but few harvesters (9:35–38) 5. Little Commission (10:1–11:1) 6. Responses to Jesus Messengers from John the Baptist (11:2–19) Cursing Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum (11:20–24) Praising the Father (11:25–30) Lord of the Sabbath (12:1–8) Man with withered hand (12:9–14) Chosen servant (12:15–21) Blind-mute man (12:22–28) Strong man (12:29) Those not with me are against me (12:30) Unforgivable sin (12:31–32) The Tree and its Fruits (12:33–37) Request for a sign (12:38–42) Return of the unclean spirit (12:43–45) Jesus' true relatives (12:46–50) Parabolic Discourse (13:1–52) 7. Conflicts, rejections, and conferences with disciples Hometown rejection (13:53–58) Death of John the Baptist (14:1–12) Feeding the 5000 (14:13–21) Walking on water (14:22–33) Fringe of his cloak heals (14:34–36) Discourse on Defilement (15:1–20) Canaanite woman's daughter (15:21–28) Healing on a mountain (15:29–31) Feeding the 4000 (15:32–39) Sign of Jonah (16:1–4) Beware of yeast (16:5–12) Peter's confession (16:13–20) Jesus predicts his death (16:21–28,17:22–23,20:17–19) Transfiguration (17:1–13) Possessed boy (17:14–21) Coin in the fish's mouth (17:24–27) 8. Life in the Christian community The Little Children (18:1–7) If thy hand offend thee (18:8–9) The Lost Sheep (18:10–14) Binding and loosing (18:15–22) Unmerciful Servant (18:23–35) 9. Journey to Jerusalem Entering Judea (19:1–2) Divorce (19:3–9) Celibacy (19:10–12) Little Children Blessed (19:13–15) Jesus and the rich young man (19:16–30) Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (20:1–16) Son of man came to serve (20:20–28) Blind near Jericho (20:29–34) 10. Jerusalem, cleansing of the temple, debates Triumphal entry into Jerusalem (21:1–11) Temple incident (21:12–17) Cursing the fig tree (21:18–22) Authority questioned (21:23–27) The Two Sons, The Wicked Husbandman, Parable of the Wedding Feast (21:28–22:14) Render unto Caesar... (22:15–22) Resurrection of the Dead (22:23–33) Great Commandment (22:34–40) Is the Messiah the son of David? (22:41–46) 11. Woes of the Pharisees (23:1–39) 12. Judgment day Little Apocalypse (24) Parables of the Ten Virgins, Talents (25:1–30) Judgment of the Nations (25:31–46) 13. Trial, crucifixion, resurrection Plot to kill Jesus (26:1–5) Anointing of Jesus (26:6–13) Bargain of Judas (26:14-16) Last Supper (26:17–30) Denial of Peter (26:31–35,69–75) Agony in the Garden (26:36-46) Kiss of Judas (26:47-49) Arrest (26:50–56) Before the High Priest (26:57–68) Pilate's court (27:1–2,11–26) Death of Judas (27:3-10) Soldiers mock Jesus (27:27–31) Simon of Cyrene (27:32) Crucifixion (27:33–56) Entombment (27:57–61) Guarding the tomb (27:62–66,28:11–15) Empty tomb (28:1–6) Appearance to the women (28:7–10) Great Commission (28:16–20) This box:

Matthew, alone among the gospels, alternates five blocks of narrative with five of discourse, marking each off with the phrase "When Jesus had finished..." [37] (see Five Discourses of Matthew). Some scholars see in this a deliberate plan to create a parallel to the first five books of the Old Testament; others see a three-part structure based around the idea of Jesus as Messiah; or a set of weekly readings spread out over the year; or no plan at all. [38] Davies and Allison, in their widely used commentary, draw attention to the use of "triads" (the gospel groups things in threes), [39] and R. T. France, in another influential commentary, notes the geographic movement from Galilee to Jerusalem and back, with the post-resurrection appearances in Galilee as the culmination of the whole story. [40]

### Prologue: genealogy, Nativity and infancy

The Gospel of Matthew begins with the words "The Book of Genealogy [in Greek, "Genesis"] of Jesus Christ", deliberately echoing the words of Genesis 2:4 in the Old Testament in Greek. [Notes 3] The genealogy tells of Jesus' descent from Abraham and King David and the miraculous events surrounding his virgin birth, [Notes 4] and the infancy narrative tells of the massacre of the innocents, the flight into Egypt, and eventual journey to Nazareth.

### First narrative and discourse

The first narrative section begins. John baptizes Jesus, and the Holy Spirit descends upon him. Jesus prays and meditates in the wilderness for forty days, and is tempted by Satan. His early ministry by word and deed in Galilee meets with much success, and leads to the Sermon on the Mount, the first of the discourses. The sermon presents the ethics of the kingdom of God, introduced by the Beatitudes ("Blessed are..."). It concludes with a reminder that the response to the kingdom will have eternal consequences, and the crowd's amazed response leads into the next narrative block. [41]

### Second narrative and discourse

From the authoritative words of Jesus the gospel turns to three sets of three miracles interwoven with two sets of two discipleship stories (the second narrative), followed by a discourse on mission and suffering. [42] Jesus commissions the Twelve Disciples and sends them to preach to the Jews, perform miracles, and prophesy the imminent coming of the Kingdom, commanding them to travel lightly, without staff or sandals. [43]

### Third narrative and discourse

Opposition to Jesus comes to a head with accusations that his deeds are done through the power of Satan; Jesus in turn accuses his opponents of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. The discourse is a set of parables emphasising the sovereignty of God, and concluding with a challenge to the disciples to understand the teachings as scribes of the kingdom of heaven. [44] (Matthew avoids using the holy word God in the expression "Kingdom of God"; instead he prefers the term "Kingdom of Heaven", reflecting the Jewish tradition of not speaking the name of God). [45]

### Fourth narrative and discourse

The fourth narrative section reveals that the increasing opposition to Jesus will result in his crucifixion in Jerusalem, and that his disciples must therefore prepare for his absence. [46] The instructions for the post-crucifixion church emphasize responsibility and humility. (This section contains Matthew 16:13–19, in which Simon, newly renamed Peter (Πέτρος, Petros, meaning "stone"), calls Jesus "the Christ, the son of the living God", and Jesus states that on this "bedrock" (πέτρα, petra) he will build his church: this passage forms the foundation for the papacy's claim of authority).

### Fifth narrative and discourse

Jesus travels toward Jerusalem, and the opposition intensifies: he is tested by Pharisees as soon as he begins to move towards the city, and when he arrives he is soon in conflict with the Temple's traders and religious leaders. He teaches in the Temple, debating with the chief priests and religious leaders and speaking in parables about the Kingdom of God and the failings of the chief priests and the Pharisees. The Herodian caucus also become involved in a scheme to entangle Jesus (Matthew 22:15–16), but Jesus' careful response to their enquiry, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s" (Matthew 22:21), leaves them marveling at his words (Matthew 22:22).

The disciples ask about the future, and in his final discourse (the Olivet Discourse) Jesus speaks of the coming end. [47] There will be false Messiahs, earthquakes, and persecutions, the sun, moon, and stars will fail, but "this generation" will not pass away before all the prophecies are fulfilled. [43] The disciples must steel themselves for ministry to all the nations. At the end of the discourse, Matthew notes that Jesus has finished all his words, and attention turns to the crucifixion. [47]

### Conclusion: Passion, Resurrection and Great Commission

The events of Jesus' last week occupy a third of the content of all four gospels. [48] Jesus enters Jerusalem in triumph and drives the money changers from the temple, holds a last supper, prays to be spared the coming agony (but concludes "if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done"), and is betrayed. He is tried by the Jewish leaders (the Sanhedrin) and before Pontius Pilate, and Pilate washes his hands to indicate that he does not assume responsibility. Jesus is crucified as king of the Jews, mocked by all. On his death there is an earthquake, the veil of the Temple is rent, and saints rise from their tombs. Mary Magdalene and another Mary discover the empty tomb, guarded by an angel, and Jesus himself tells them to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.

After the resurrection the remaining disciples return to Galilee, "to the mountain that Jesus had appointed", where he comes to them and tells them that he has been given "all authority in heaven and on Earth." He gives the Great Commission: "Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you". Jesus will be with them "to the very end of the age". [49]

## Theology

### Christology

Christology is the theological doctrine of Christ, "the affirmations and definitions of Christ's humanity and deity". [50] There are a variety of Christologies in the New Testament, albeit with a single centre—Jesus is the figure in whom God has acted for mankind's salvation. [51]

Matthew has taken over his key Christological texts from Mark, but sometimes he has changed the stories he found in Mark, giving evidence of his own concerns. [52] The title Son of David identifies Jesus as the healing and miracle-working Messiah of Israel (it is used exclusively in relation to miracles), and the Jewish messiah is sent to Israel alone. [14] As Son of Man he will return to judge the world, a fact his disciples recognise but of which his enemies are unaware. [15] As Son of God he is named Immanuel (God with us) (Matthew 1:23), God revealing himself through his son, and Jesus proving his sonship through his obedience and example. [16]

### Relationship with the Jews

Matthew's prime concern was that the Jewish tradition should not be lost in a church that was increasingly becoming gentile. [53] This concern lies behind the frequent citations of Jewish scripture, the evocation of Jesus as the new Moses along with other events from Jewish history, and the concern to present Jesus as fulfilling, not destroying, the Law. [54] Matthew must have been aware of the tendency to distort Paul's teaching of the law no longer having power over the New Testament Christian into antinomianism, and addressed Christ's fulfilling of what the Israelites expected from the "Law and the Prophets" in an eschatological sense, in that he was all that the Old Testament had predicted in the Messiah. [55]

The gospel has been interpreted as reflecting the struggles and conflicts between the evangelist's community and the other Jews, particularly with its sharp criticism of the scribes and Pharisees. [17] Prior to the Crucifixion the Jews are called Israelites, the honorific title of God's chosen people; after it, they are called "Ioudaioi", Jews, a sign that through their rejection of the Christ the "Kingdom of Heaven" has been taken away from them and given instead to the church. [18]

## Comparison with other writings

### Christological development

The divine nature of Jesus was a major issue for the community of Matthew, the crucial element marking them from their Jewish neighbors. Early understandings of this nature grew as the gospels were being written. Before the gospels, that understanding was focused on the revelation of Jesus as God in his resurrection, but the gospels reflect a broadened focus extended backwards in time. [13] The gospel of Mark recounts prior revelations in Jesus' lifetime on earth, at his baptism and transfiguration. Matthew and Luke go back further still, showing Jesus as the Son of God from his birth. Matthew more than all the other gospels identifies how his coming to earth was the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies. Finally John calls God the Word (Jesus) pre-existent before creation, and thus before all time.[ citation needed ]

Matthew is a creative reinterpretation of Mark, [56] stressing Jesus' teachings as much as his acts, [57] and making subtle changes in order to stress his divine nature: for example, Mark's "young man" who appears at Jesus' tomb becomes "a radiant angel" in Matthew. [58] The miracle stories in Mark do not demonstrate the divinity of Jesus, but rather confirm his status as an emissary of God (which was Mark's understanding of the Messiah). [59]

### Chronology

There is a broad disagreement [ citation needed ] over chronology between Matthew, Mark and Luke on one hand and John on the other: all four agree that Jesus' public ministry began with an encounter with John the Baptist, but Matthew, Mark and Luke follow this with an account of teaching and healing in Galilee, then a trip to Jerusalem where there is an incident in the Temple, climaxing with the crucifixion on the day of the Passover holiday. John, by contrast, puts the Temple incident very early in Jesus' ministry, has several trips to Jerusalem, and puts the crucifixion immediately before the Passover holiday, on the day when the lambs for the Passover meal were being sacrificed in Temple. [60]

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The life of Jesus in the New Testament is primarily outlined in the four canonical gospels, which includes his genealogy and nativity, public ministry, passion, resurrection and ascension. Other parts of the New Testament – such as the Pauline epistles which were likely written within 20–30 years of each other, and which include references to key episodes in Jesus' life, such as the Last Supper, and the Acts of the Apostles, (1:1–11) which includes more references to the Ascension episode than the canonical gospels - also expound upon the life of Jesus. In addition to these biblical texts, there are extra-biblical texts that Christians believe make reference to certain events in the life of Jesus, such as Josephus on Jesus and Tacitus on Christ.

In the Christian gospels, the ministry of Jesus begins with his baptism in the countryside of Roman Judea and Transjordan, near the river Jordan, and ends in Jerusalem, following the Last Supper with his disciples. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" at the start of his ministry. A chronology of Jesus typically has the date of the start of his ministry estimated at around AD 27–29 and the end in the range AD 30–36.

In Christianity, the Confession of Peter refers to an episode in the New Testament in which the Apostle Peter proclaims Jesus to be the Christ. The proclamation is described in the three Synoptic Gospels: Matthew 16:13-20, Mark 8:27–30 and Luke 9:18–20. Specifically, Peter declares, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

The history of early Christianity covers the Apostolic Age and the Ante-Nicene Period, to the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE.

The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea, most likely between AD 30 and 33. Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by other ancient sources, and is established as a historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources, although there is no consensus among historians on the exact details.

Christianity in the 1st century deals with the formative years of the Early Christian community. The earliest followers of Jesus were composed principally from apocalyptic Jewish sects during the late Second Temple period of the 1st century. They were Jewish Christians, who strictly adhered to the Jewish law. Jerusalem had an early Christian community, which was led by James the Just, Peter, and John.

The historical reliability of the Gospels refers to the reliability and historic character of the four New Testament gospels as historical documents. Some believe that all four canonical gospels meet the five criteria for historical reliability; and others say that little in the gospels is considered to be historically reliable. Almost all scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, but scholars differ on the historicity of specific episodes described in the Biblical accounts of Jesus, and the only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate. Elements whose historical authenticity is disputed include the two accounts of the Nativity of Jesus, the miraculous events including the resurrection, and certain details about the crucifixion.

Oral gospel traditions, cultural information passed on from one generation to the next by word of mouth, were the first stage in the formation of the written gospels. These oral traditions included different types of stories about Jesus. For example, people told anecdotes about Jesus healing the sick and debating with his opponents. The traditions also included sayings attributed to Jesus, such as parables and teachings on various subjects which, along with other sayings, formed the oral gospel tradition.

## References

### Notes

1. As Bartosz Adamczewski writes, "Although the assumption of the existence of Q is nowadays accepted by the majority of scholars as the most convenient hypothesis that explains more problems and creates fewer difficulties than others do, it remains only a hypothesis that is in fact hard to prove conclusively." - Adamczewski 2010, p. 30ff.
2. This view is based on three arguments: (a) the setting reflects the final separation of Church and Synagogue, about 85 AD; (b) it reflects the capture of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD; (c) it uses Mark, usually dated around 70 AD, as a source. (See R. T. France (2007), The Gospel of Matthew, p. 18.) France himself is not convinced by the majority – see his Commentary, pp. 18–19.
3. France, p. 26 note 1, and p. 28: "The first two words of Matthew's gospel are literally "book of genesis".
4. France, p. 28 note 7: "All MSS and versions agree in making it explicit that Joseph was not Jesus' father, with the one exception of sys, which reads "Joseph, to whom was betrothed Mary the virgin, begot Jesus."

### Footnotes

1. "Jesus the Messiah"
2. Luz 2005, pp. 249–50.
3. Duling 2010, pp. 298–99.
4. France 2007, p. 19.
5. Duling 2010, p. 302.
7. Duling 2010, p. 306.
8. Burkett 2002, p. 175.
9. Peppard 2011, p. 133.
10. Luz 1995, pp. 86, 111.
11. Luz 1995, pp. 91, 97.
12. Luz 1995, p. 93.
13. Burkett 2002, p. 182.
14. Strecker 2000, pp. 369–70.
15. Turner 2008, pp. 6–7.
16. Senior 1996, p. 22.
17. Harrington 1991, pp. 5–6.
18. McMahon 2008, p. 57.
19. Beaton 2005, p. 116.
20. Nolland 2005, p. 3.
21. Duling 2010, p. 314.
22. Casey 2010, pp. 87–88.
23. Davies & Allison 1988, pp. 12–13.
24. Davies & Allison 1988, p. 128.
25. Scholtz 2009, pp. 34–35.
26. Saldarini 1994, p. 4.
27. Senior 2001, pp. 7–8, 72.
28. Senior 2001, p. 11.
29. Nolland 2005, p. 18.
30. Burkett 2002, pp. 180–81.
31. Senior 2001, p. 19.
32. Turner 2008, p. 9.
33. Davies & Allison 1988, pp. 59–61.
34. Davies & Allison 1988, pp. 62ff.
35. France 2007, pp. 2ff.
36. Turner 2008, p. 101.
37. Turner 2008, p. 226.
38. Turner 2008, p. 285.
39. Browning 2004, p. 248.
40. Turner 2008, p. 265.
41. Turner 2008, p. 445.
42. Turner 2008, p. 613.
43. Turner 2008, pp. 687–88.
44. Levison & Pope-Levison 2009, p. 167.
45. Fuller 2001, pp. 68–69.
46. Tuckett 2001, p. 119.
47. Davies & Allison 1997, p. 722.
48. Senior 2001, pp. 17–18.
49. France 2007, pp. 179–81, 185–86.
50. Beaton 2005, p. 117.
51. Morris 1986, p. 114.
52. Beaton 2005, p. 123.
53. Aune 1987, p. 59.
54. Levine 2001, p. 373.

### Bibliography

#### General works

 Gospel of Matthew Synoptic Gospel Preceded by New Testament Books of the Bible Succeeded by Gospel of Mark