Introduction and Timeline
- Matthew 1: A study of the birth and childhood of Christ, and how His birth fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. Matthew gives a genealogy of Jesus Christ, showing His descent from Abraham and David. In Nazareth, Joseph learned from an angel that his espoused wife, Mary, was to bring forth a son, who would be the Savior – to be named Jesus.
- Matthew 2: Wise Men from the East visited the child, Jesus in Bethlehem where He was born. Joseph was warned in a dream of Herod’s evil intentions and took his family and fled to Egypt for safety. Herod ordered the death of young ‘male’ children in the area surrounding Bethlehem. Joseph learned of Herod’s death in a dream and took his family to Nazareth.
- Matthew 3: John the Baptist preached and baptized in fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, at which time, the Holy Ghost descended upon Him, and the Father acclaimed Him as His Beloved Son in whom He was well pleased.
- Matthew 4: Christ’s preparation for His public ministry, being tempted by Satan in the wilderness (where Christ went “to be with God”), He immediately without hesitation dismissed the temptations of Satan and began His earthly ministry by preaching repentance, teaching, healing, and calling disciples to follow Him.
In Matthew, Christ’s genealogy begins with Abraham, the father of faith and founder of the Hebrew nation, and ends with Joseph, the husband of Mary covering forty-two generations. These are Jesus’ ancestors. Matthew even included the names of women in Jesus’ lineage which was contrary to usual Jewish custom.
“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations” (Matthew 1:17).
It was significant for Matthew’s Jewish audience to know that Jesus Christ was a descendant of David and of Abraham – emphasizing that Jesus Christ’s birth fulfilled Old Testament prophecies.
Even at His birth (in His infancy), Christ was a target, a mark of humiliation – born of a virgin in a manger, His earthly father was a carpenter. His birth drew homage from the three wise men, but hostility from Herod the Great. His family lived as refugees – fleeing first to Egypt, a Roman province outside of Herod’s jurisdiction, and finally to Israel (settling in Nazareth in the region of Galilee). Nazareth was Mary’s and possibly Joseph’s hometown.
In chapter three, John the Baptist also fulfilled Old Testament prophecy by preparing the way for Jesus Christ. Isaiah 40:3 says “The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” John the Baptist accomplished this by:
- Baptizing people
- Teaching people to confess their sins
- Calling people to repent
- Teaching them that a time of judgment was coming
- Teaching them that there was one coming after him, who was considered greater than him, and that He would baptize with the Holy Ghost.
Jesus Himself was baptized by John the Baptist as a “fulfillment of righteousness.”
In chapter four, Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Tempting Him to turn stone into bread when He was hungry after fasting forty days and forty nights; tempting Him to tempt God by jumping off the top of the temple; and finally, tempting Him to bow down and worship him. Needless to say, Jesus passed His test in the wilderness!
After His test, Jesus began His public ministry in Capernaum, preaching and urging them, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Walking by the sea of Galilee, He called His first disciples: Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother. Next, He came across James, the son of Zebedee and John his brother, as He called them.
- Jesus taught in their synagogues
- Preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
- Healed all manner of sickness and disease
“And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan” (Matthew 4:25).
What significant truths or insights did you gain from reading Matthew 1–4?
What significant truths or insights did you gain from Joseph’s rapidness in obeying God?
What significant truths or insights did you gain about Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist?
How do you see the temptation of Christ, the last Adam, in contrast with that of the first man, Adam?