One of the questions we ask of Dayspring new members is, “Will you seek to follow Jesus and live according to his teachings?” While we learn about Jesus, his teachings, and his call on our lives in all four of the Gospels, Matthew stresses Jesus’ role as a teacher. Writing primarily to a Jewish audience, Matthew depicts Jesus not only as the fulfillment of various biblical prophecies but also as the new Moses, who has come not to abolish the law but to fulfill it.
Here are some interesting parallels Matthew draws:
|Moses saved as a child from infanticide||Jesus saved as a child from infanticide|
|40 years wandering in the desert, tested and tempted||40 days in the desert, tested and tempted|
|Law delivered upon a mountain||Sermon delivered on a mount|
|Transfiguration: Moses alongside Jesus||Transfiguration: Moses alongside Jesus|
|Saving act of Passover||Passover re-signified|
|Moses, liberator of the people||Jesus, savior of the people|
So, Matthew portrays Jesus as the second Moses, come to offer instructions for the people of God. Jesus embodies his teaching. Just as tradition accords authorship of the five books of the Torah to Moses, Matthew brings together Jesus’ teachings into five teaching sections or discourses in his Gospel. The first is the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7). There’s probably no better place to start if you want to discover what it means to follow Jesus and live according to his teachings! There is so much to unpack in those three chapters alone, to say nothing of the other four teaching sections in Matthew. It is good to have a seasoned guide.
I am so grateful that my colleague and friend, the Rev. Bob Mitchell, will be teaching a class this month on Matthew’s Gospel. I’ve known Bob for 25 years and have long admired the depth of his spirituality, his knowledge of Scripture, and his erudition. He is one of a dozen or so retired UM clergy who call Dayspring home and share their wisdom and gifts with the community. I hope you’ll consider participating in the mid-week Bible Study starting Oct 12 (Wednesdays at 10am via zoom) and discover more of what it means to follow Jesus and live according to his teachings.