“You are preaching on Matthew?”

MatthewCallI got that question recently: “You are preaching on Matthew?”

The idea seemed to be: ” That is odd.”  I am not sure why.  John is probably the most popular gospel among Evangelical Christians, and Luke has more with human interest and social compassion, Mark is very action oriented.  Matthew seems to be the “eh” gospel these days.

From my reading it appears that Matthew was for a long time the most read gospel.  It is the most complete of the synoptics – it has both discourse and narrative.  Yet, while Mark is shorter overall, what Mark includes is given more detail.  Matthew does not mention the lowering of the paralytic through the roof (9:1-9), nor does he mention the fuller sequence of events when the synagogue ruler approaches Jesus about his daughter (10:18ff).  So Matthew was a thorough-going editor who left a lot of snips on the floor by his desk.

Also, Matthew is very missional.  I noted this here.  The thread of Mission is woven though the whole book.  So with all the talk of the missional church, we would well to re-read Matthew to follow his story line and emphasis.

Of course there is the danger that Jesus might walk into your life and point the finger and say, “I mean this mission is for you!”  the painting above is “The Calling of Matthew” by Caravaggio, 1600.  Notice how Matthew (in the beard) seems to be pointing to the left and saying “You must mean him.”

Nope, Jesus meant Matthew.  Keep reading and he may call after you!


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