Background on the Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel of Matthew is one of the most important books in the New Testament. Matthew was a tax collector who became one of Jesus’ twelve apostles, and his Gospel is a testament to the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
One of the most notable features of the Gospel of Matthew is its emphasis on Jesus’ teachings, which are presented in a clear and concise manner. Many of the most famous passages in the Bible come from the Gospel of Matthew, including the Sermon on the Mount, the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Beatitudes.
In addition to Jesus’ teachings, the Gospel of Matthew also provides a detailed account of Jesus’ life and ministry. This includes his birth, baptism, miracles, and interactions with his disciples, as well as his crucifixion and resurrection.
Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, we see Jesus as a compassionate and merciful leader who is deeply committed to his followers. He spends much of his time healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and comforting the poor and marginalized. His ultimate sacrifice on the cross is a testament to his love for all humanity.
As Catholics, we can learn much from the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus’ teachings on love, forgiveness, and the importance of serving others are all central to our faith. Through his example, we are called to be compassionate and merciful, just as he was.
In addition, the Gospel of Matthew reminds us of the importance of faith and trust in God. Even in the face of trials and difficulties, Jesus remained steadfast in his commitment to his mission, and his resurrection is a powerful symbol of the victory that is possible through faith.
Overall, the Gospel of Matthew is a powerful testament to the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we can draw strength and inspiration from this important book, and use it as a guide for living a life of faith and service to others.
Below you will find more details on each section of of the Gospel of Matthew, along with links to additional resources.
The Sections in the Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel of Matthew can be divided into several main sections, each of which highlights different aspects of Jesus’ life and teachings. The traditional divisions of the Gospel of Matthew are as follows:
- The Infancy Narrative (Matthew 1:1–2:23): This section covers the genealogy of Jesus and the story of his birth and early years, including the visit of the Magi and the flight to Egypt.
- The Proclamation of the Kingdom (Matthew 3:1–7:29): This section describes the ministry of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus, as well as Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven and his Sermon on the Mount.
- Ministry and Mission in Galilee (Matthew 8:1–11:1): This section covers Jesus’ ministry and miracles in Galilee, including the healing of the centurion’s servant and the calming of the storm.
- Conflicts with Religious Leaders (Matthew 11:2–13:53): This section describes the growing opposition to Jesus and his teachings, including his conflicts with the Pharisees and his use of parables to teach about the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Jesus, the Kingdom, and the Church (Matthew 13:54–18:35): This section covers Jesus’ teachings on the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven, as well as his teachings on the church and community life.
- Ministry in Judea and Jerusalem (Matthew 19:1–25:46): This section describes Jesus’ ministry and teachings in Jerusalem, including his teachings on divorce, his entry into Jerusalem, and his increasing conflict with the religious leaders.
- The Passion and Resurrection (Matthew 26:1–28:20): This final section covers the events leading up to Jesus’ arrest, his trial and crucifixion, and his resurrection and appearances to his disciples.
Section 1: The Infancy Narrative (Matthew 1:1–2:23)
Matthew 1:1–2:23 is the opening section of the Gospel of Matthew that provides a genealogy of Jesus and recounts the events surrounding his birth. The section begins with a list of Jesus’ ancestors, tracing his lineage back to Abraham and King David. It then describes the circumstances of Jesus’ birth, including the announcement to Joseph and the virgin birth of Jesus.
Wise men from the east come to Jerusalem, seeking the newborn king and causing King Herod to order the slaughter of all male children under two years of age in Bethlehem. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus flee to Egypt until Herod’s death, at which point they return to Israel and settle in Nazareth. This section of the Gospel of Matthew emphasizes Jesus’ role as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, including his lineage and miraculous birth, and sets the stage for his ministry and teachings.
- The Genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17): This is a detailed record of Jesus’ genealogy, tracing his ancestry all the way back to Abraham and David.
- The Birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25): This account narrates the unique circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus. It highlights the fact that Mary was a virgin and Joseph’s pivotal role in the story.
- The Visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12): This narrative describes the journey of the Magi from the East to worship the newborn King of the Jews.
- The Flight to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15): This passage reveals how Joseph, Mary, and Jesus fled to Egypt to escape from the wrath of King Herod, who wanted to kill the newborn King.
- The Massacre of the Innocents (Matthew 2:16-18): This tragic event portrays how King Herod ordered the slaughter of all male infants in Bethlehem, hoping to eliminate the threat posed by the newborn King.
- The Return from Egypt (Matthew 2:19-23): This section talks about Joseph, Mary, and Jesus’ return from Egypt and their settlement in Nazareth, where Jesus grew up.
Resources for the Gospel of Matthew 1:1–2:23
- Follow That Star (Matthew 2:1-12)
Section 2: The Proclamation of the Kingdom (Matthew 3:1–7:29)
Matthew 3:1–7:29 is a section of the Gospel of Matthew that focuses on the ministry of John the Baptist and the teachings of Jesus. In this section, John the Baptist begins his ministry of preaching repentance and baptizing people in the Jordan River. He baptizes Jesus, who then begins his own ministry of teaching and performing miracles. Jesus teaches about the kingdom of God, including the Sermon on the Mount, which covers topics such as the Beatitudes, prayer, and judging others. He also performs many miracles, including healing the sick and casting out demons.
Jesus sends out his disciples to spread his message and warns of the coming judgment. The section concludes with Jesus’ teachings on the importance of obeying God’s commands and building one’s house on a solid foundation. Overall, this section of the Gospel of Matthew emphasizes the importance of repentance, obedience, and faith in the kingdom of God.
- John the Baptist’s Ministry and the Baptism of Jesus (3:1-17): This section describes John the Baptist’s ministry, his message of repentance and baptism, and his prediction of the coming of Jesus. It also narrates how John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.
- The Temptation of Jesus and Jesus Begins His Ministry in Galilee (4:1-17): This passage tells how Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness but overcame the temptations. It also reveals how Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum and started his public ministry.
- Jesus Calls His First Disciples and Heals and Teaches in Galilee (4:18-25): This narrative explains how Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John to be his disciples while they were fishing. It also details how Jesus traveled throughout Galilee, healing the sick and teaching in the synagogues.
- The Sermon on the Mount (5:1-7:27): This is a lengthy passage that includes the proclamation of the Kingdom and the teachings of Jesus on various subjects. It encompasses the Beatitudes, ethical and moral behavior, prayer, and true righteousness.
- Judging Others and False Prophets (7:1-23): This section contains Jesus’ teachings on judging others and false prophets. It also includes his warning about knowing a tree by its fruit.
Resources for the Gospel of Matthew 3:1–7:29
Section 3: Ministry and Mission in Galilee (Matthew 8:1–11:1)
Matthew 8:1–11:1 is a section of the Gospel of Matthew that focuses on the miracles and teachings of Jesus. In this section, Jesus heals many people, including a man with leprosy, a paralyzed man, and a centurion’s servant. He also calms a storm on the Sea of Galilee and casts out demons from two possessed men.
Jesus continues to teach about the kingdom of God and the importance of faith, including the Sermon on the Mount where he teaches the Beatitudes and various ethical and moral principles. The section concludes with John the Baptist, who is in prison, sending his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the Messiah. Jesus responds by pointing to his miracles and teachings as evidence of his divine authority. Overall, this section of the Gospel of Matthew highlights the power and authority of Jesus, as well as his teachings on faith, healing, and the kingdom of God.
- Jesus’ Healing Ministry and the Cost of Discipleship (8:1-22): This section describes various healing miracles that Jesus performed, such as the cleansing of a leper, healing of a centurion’s servant, and healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, among others. It also includes the account of Jesus calming a storm, healing two demon-possessed men, healing a paralytic, healing a woman with a bleeding disorder, raising a young girl from the dead, and healing two blind men and a mute man. Additionally, this section warns about the cost of discipleship.
- Jesus’ Ministry and Persecution (9:1-10:42): This passage continues Jesus’ healing ministry and highlights how he ate with sinners, healed a woman, and raised a girl from the dead. It also includes Jesus’ commissioning of the disciples and his warning about persecution and the cost of discipleship. Furthermore, this section contains Jesus’ instructions to the disciples as they go out to preach.
- Jesus’ Testimony about John the Baptist (11:1-15): This account narrates Jesus’ testimony about John the Baptist, who was imprisoned and executed by Herod Antipas. It highlights the contrast between the two messengers of God, John and Jesus.
Resources for the Gospel of Matthew 8:1–11:1
Section 4: Conflicts with Religious Leaders (Matthew 11:2–13:53)
Matthew 11:2–13:53 is a section of the Gospel of Matthew that covers Jesus’ ministry, miracles, and teachings. In this section, John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the Messiah, and Jesus responds by pointing to his miracles and his fulfillment of prophecies in the Old Testament. Jesus then denounces the religious leaders who reject him and praises the faith of those who follow him. He also teaches about the kingdom of God and performs many miracles, including healing the sick and feeding the multitudes.
This section of the Gospel of Matthew includes the Parable of the Sower, the Parable of the Mustard Seed, and the Parable of the Yeast, which all illustrate the nature of the kingdom of God.
- John the Baptist’s Question and Jesus’ Invitation to the Weary (11:2-30): This section includes John the Baptist’s question to Jesus, Jesus’ response, and defense of John the Baptist. It also contains Jesus’ condemnation of the unrepentant cities and his invitation to the weary to come to him for rest.
- Jesus’ Lordship over the Sabbath and Healing of a Demon-Possessed Man (12:1-32): This narrative describes Jesus’ defense of his disciples for plucking grain on the Sabbath. It also includes Jesus’ healing of a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath and his healing of a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute.
- The Sign of Jonah and Jesus’ True Family (12:38-50): This passage explains Jesus’ response to the scribes and Pharisees who demanded a sign from him. It also highlights his warning against an unclean spirit and his declaration that whoever does the will of his Father in heaven is his true family.
- Parables of the Kingdom (13:1-53): This section comprises several parables that Jesus told about the Kingdom of Heaven, such as the Parable of the Sower, the Parable of the Weeds, the Parable of the Mustard Seed, the Parable of the Yeast, the Parable of the Hidden Treasure, the Parable of the Pearl of Great Value, and the Parable of the Net.
Resources for the Gospel of Matthew 11:2–13:53
- Why Do Catholics Believe in Purgatory? (Matthew 12:32)
Section 5: Jesus, the Kingdom, and the Church (Matthew 13:54–18:35)
Matthew 13:54–18:35 is a section of the Gospel of Matthew that focuses on the teaching and ministry of Jesus. In this section, Jesus returns to his hometown of Nazareth and teaches in the synagogue, but the people reject him. He then continues to perform miracles and teaches in parables, including the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Weeds.
Jesus also commissions his disciples to go out and preach the gospel, and teaches about forgiveness and the importance of humility. The section also includes Jesus’ prediction of his death and resurrection, and his transfiguration before his disciples. Jesus also teaches about the nature of sin and how to handle conflict within the community of believers. Overall, this section of the Gospel of Matthew emphasizes Jesus’ teachings on faith, repentance, and the importance of following him.
- Rejection in Nazareth and The Death of John the Baptist (13:54-14:12): This section narrates how Jesus was rejected by the people of Nazareth and the death of John the Baptist at the hands of Herod Antipas.
- Miracles of Feeding and Walking on Water (14:13-36): This passage details Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 5,000 and how he walked on water to calm the storm on the Sea of Galilee.
- Controversies with the Pharisees and Healing of a Canaanite Woman’s Daughter (15:1-28): This account highlights Jesus’ challenges to the Pharisees and scribes regarding their traditions. It also includes how Jesus healed the Canaanite woman’s daughter despite initial reluctance.
- Healing of Many People and Confession of Peter (15:29-16:28): This section describes how Jesus healed many people, including the deaf and the blind. It also includes his interaction with Peter, including Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ.
- Transfiguration and Healing of a Boy with a Demon (17:1-21): This narrative tells how Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John on a high mountain. It also describes how he healed a boy with a demon that the disciples could not cast out.
- Second Prediction of His Death and Resurrection, Payment of the Temple Tax, and Teaching on Humility (17:22-18:14): This passage includes Jesus’ second prediction of his death and resurrection, his payment of the temple tax, and his teachings on humility and forgiveness.
- Parables on Forgiveness and Kingdom Living (18:15-35): This section comprises several parables that stand apart from the healings and teachings of Jesus with his disciples and others. These parables cover the themes of forgiveness and kingdom living.
Resources for the Gospel of Matthew 13:54–18:35
- All In! Risking It All (Matthew 13:44-52)
- Us vs. Them (Matthew 15:21-28)
- God Feeds His People (Matthew 15:32-38)
- Hello. This Is Jesus. (Matthew 16:13-20)
- What Is My Cross? (Matthew 16:21-27)
- Together We’re Better (Matthew 18:15-20)
- Modern Day Version of The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35)
Section 6: Ministry in Judea and Jerusalem (Matthew 19:1–25:46)
Matthew 19:1–25:46 is a section of the Gospel of Matthew that covers various teachings and events in Jesus’ ministry. In this section, Jesus teaches about divorce, celibacy, and the kingdom of God. He also heals many people and performs miracles, including feeding the 5,000 and walking on water.
Jesus also engages in debates with the Pharisees and religious leaders, who challenge his teachings and authority. In one notable encounter, a rich young man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, and Jesus tells him to sell his possessions and give to the poor. This section of the Gospel of Matthew concludes with Jesus’ prediction of his own death and the coming judgment, including the separation of the righteous and the wicked.
- Marriage and Divorce, Jesus Blesses Children, and The Rich Young Man (19:1-30): This section includes Jesus’ teachings on marriage and divorce, his blessing of children, and his encounter with the rich young man who asked him about inheriting eternal life.
- Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard and Third Prediction of Jesus’ Death (20:1-19): This passage tells the parable of the workers in the vineyard, where Jesus teaches about the generosity of God’s grace. It also includes Jesus’ third prediction of his death and resurrection.
- A Mother’s Request and Healing of Two Blind Men (20:20-34): This section describes how the mother of James and John asks Jesus to grant her sons a special place of honor in his kingdom. It also narrates how Jesus heals two blind men who call out to him.
- Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and Cleansing of the Temple (21:1-17): This account reveals how Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, and how the crowds welcomed him as a king. It also includes the story of Jesus cleansing the temple.
- Jesus’ Authority Challenged, Questions by the Pharisees and Sadducees, and Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees (21:18-23:39): This passage covers Jesus’ teachings and parables, his responses to the Pharisees and Sadducees’ questions, and his condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy and love of power.
- Signs of the End Times and The Final Judgment (24:1-25:46): This section includes Jesus’ teachings about the signs of the end times, such as wars, earthquakes, and false prophets. It also encompasses his teachings about the final judgment, including the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the Parable of the Talents, and the separation of the sheep and the goats.
Resources for the Gospel of Matthew 19:1–25:46
Section 7: The Passion and Resurrection (Matthew 26:1–28:20)
Matthew 26:1–28:20 is a section of the Gospel of Matthew that covers the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, his death, and his resurrection. In this section, Jesus predicts his impending death, shares the Last Supper with his disciples, is betrayed by Judas and arrested, and undergoes a series of trials before being sentenced to death by the Roman authorities. He is then crucified, dies, and is buried. However, on the third day, he rises from the dead and appears to his disciples before ascending to heaven. This section of the Gospel of Matthew also includes the story of Judas’ suicide and the Great Commission, where Jesus instructs his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations.
- Plot Against Jesus, Jesus Anointed at Bethany, and Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus (26:1-16): This section describes how the chief priests and elders plotted to arrest and kill Jesus. It also includes the story of a woman who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume, and how Judas agreed to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
- The Last Supper and Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial (26:17-35): This passage narrates how Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples and instituted the Lord’s Supper. It also includes his prediction of Peter’s denial.
- Jesus Prays in Gethsemane and Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus (26:36-56): This section reveals how Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, asking God to let the cup of suffering pass from him if it is God’s will. It also includes the account of Judas’ betrayal and Jesus’ arrest by the chief priests and elders.
- Jesus Before the Sanhedrin and Jesus Before Pilate (26:57-27:26): This passage covers Jesus’ questioning by the high priest and the Sanhedrin. It also describes how Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. It also includes Jesus’ appearance before Pilate, who condemns him to death.
- The Crucifixion and The Burial of Jesus (27:27-66): This account tells how Jesus was crucified, how the soldiers cast lots for his clothes, and how he died on the cross. It also includes how Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’ body and how he was buried in a tomb.
- The Resurrection, The Guards’ Report, and the Great Commission (28:1-20): This section of the Gospel of Matthew describes how the women discovered that Jesus’ tomb was empty. It also includes how Jesus appeared to them and told them to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee. It also includes the story of the guards’ report to the chief priests and elders that the tomb was empty. It also covers how Jesus appeared to his disciples in Galilee and gave them the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.
St. Matthew is believed to be the author of the Gospel of Matthew. St. Matthew was one of Jesus’ twelve apostles and is also known as Levi, a tax collector whom Jesus called to follow him. The life of St. Matthew, as a former tax collector and one of Jesus’ closest disciples, likely influenced the content and style of the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus’ teachings on righteousness, discipleship, and the Kingdom of Heaven.