Keys of the Kingdom

This commentary on Matthew's Gospel is based on the original Greek text. Originally used as a "Training Handbook for Disciples," Matthew's Gospel prepares us for the service of the King. This volume focuses on "key" words which unlock the practical teaching of each chapter.

by Walter Jerry Clark
soft cover, 126 pages, 6" x 9"


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"Behold, thy King cometh unto thee" (Zech. 9:9). The promise of a coming King is a constantly recurring theme throughout the Old Testament. The story of the appearance of this King - Jesus Christ - forms the subject of all four gospels.

The English word "gospel" means "good news," as does the Greek word euaggelion, which it translates. Our word "gospel" comes from the Old English word "godspel," a combination of the word "god" for "good" and "spell" for "tale."

The four gospels tell the good news of the same Person, Jesus Christ; yet each evangelist emphasizes a particular aspect of this story for a specific purpose. John Gibson suggests that "Matthew addresses himself especially to the Jew with his Gospel of fulfillment, Mark to the Roman with his brief and terse narrative of a three years' campaign, Luke to the Greek with (an) all-pervading spirit of humanity and catholicity . . . while for those who have been gathered from among the Jews and Romans and Greeks - a people who are now 'all one in Christ Jesus' - there is a fourth Gospel," which presents Christ simply as the Son of God (Gospel According to Matthew, Hodder and Stoughton).

Matthew gives us Christ as seen through the eyes of a devout Jew of that time, one waiting for the promised Messiah. The all-important question in the minds of such a person was: "Is this really the Messiah that was to come, or should we wait for another?" (cf. Matt. 11:3). With consummate logic and precision, Matthew demonstrates how every word and action of Jesus of Nazareth (from His birth, through the mystery and agony of the cross, to the glory of the resurrection) proves indisputably His right to rule as the Chosen One of God and, more than that, as God Himself!

In addition to this Jewish emphasis, however, there is a secondary and often overlooked aspect of Matthew's gospel that has an important message for Christians today. The careful student will notice two distinct features of Christ's ministry. With those who are undecided about Him, Jesus' teaching is limited to a presentation of His "kingship," but with those who have accepted Him as Christ, He can teach them further truths about His kingdom (cf. Matt. 13:10-11). His order is, first, submit to the King; then learn about the kingdom (that is, everything dealing with the King and His reign in the affairs of men).

It will be seen that structurally and chronologically a climax occurs in the book at Matthew 16. Here Christ achieves the first phase of His goal. After hearing Him systematically present His claims as King over a period of time, a small group of men finally apprehend that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (vs. 10). From this time, we see a significant change in the methods of Jesus as He confines Himself more and more to the task of preparing these men as "scribes" in the kingdom.

It was the custom in Jesus' day for Jewish scribes to receive a large key to show that they were instructed in the Word and able symbolically to "unlock" the truths of Scripture. Christians also utilize these keys (Matt. 16:19), but only as we are properly instructed into the kingdom. One purpose of Matthew's gospel, then, is to serve as a "handbook" for the modern "scribe." Christ is teaching us about the King (Himself) and His kingdom, preparing us for the great commission (presenting His claims to the world) with which Matthew closes his gospel (28:18-20).



Going Up

Keys of the Kingdom

New Testament Greek

What's in a Word?

Start Right


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