NEW TESTAMENT: The Gospel According to Saint Matthew
- The total number of generations from Abraham to David is 14; from David to the Babylonian exile, 14; and from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah Jesus Christ, 14.
- When Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph resolved to divorce her, but the angel of the lord appeared to him in a dream, and advised him to take Mary as his wife because she conceived the child through the Holy Spirit. The angel of the lord commanded Joseph to name the son Jesus because he will save his people from their sins. Jesus’ birth fulfilled the promise God made to Judah that a virgin will bear a son named Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” After his resurrection, Jesus assures his disciples that he will always be with them.
- Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Magi from east of Jerusalem arrived and asked King Herod where they could find the newborn king of the Jews. The Magi had seen his star rising. A new star was believed to signify the birth of a new leader. This greatly alarmed King Herod and all of Jerusalem. Herod asked the chief priests where the newborn king was born. The priests said that the prophet foretold the birth of the ruler who will shepherd God’s people to occur in Bethlehem. Herod sent the magi to Bethlehem, and to return with word of the newborn king’s location so that Herod can pay homage too. The magi found the child with Mary, prostrated themselves, and then offered the baby gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The magi were warned in a dream to avoid Herod, so they returned to their country by another way.
- The angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream and commands him to flee with Mary and Jesus to Egypt because Herod intends to destroy Jesus. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus remained in Egypt until Herod died, and fulfilled the prophecy that God will call his son out of Egypt. This parallels Exodus.
- Herod ordered the massacre of all boys the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and younger, in accordance with the time ascertained by the appearance of the new star. This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that Rachel, who symbolizes the women of Bethlehem, will weep for her lost children.
- When Herod died, the angel of the Lord told Joseph to return to Israel with his family. Joseph discovered that Archelaus, Herod’s son, was ruling over Judea. Accordingly, he received another dream which told him to travel to Galilee, and dwell in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled the prophecy that the Messiah will be called a Nazorean.
- John the Baptist preaches in the desert of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah who foretold a voice in the desert exhorting people to prepare for the lord. John ate only locusts and wild honey. He baptized people in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. When he saw Pharisees and Sadducees (who only accepted the Pentateuch, the first five books of the bible, as Scripture) coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” He advises them to repent and “bear good fruit,” or act righteously, or they will be cut down and thrown into the fire. John prophesies that another mightier than himself is coming to baptize the people with the Holy Spirit and fire. The Messiah will gather the good to him, an burn the evil in unquenchable fire.
- Jesus came to John. John said that he needs to be baptized by Jesus, not the opposite. Jesus told him to allow it; for it is fitting to fulfill all righteousness (moral conduct conforming to God’s will). Jesus came up from the water, and perceived the heavens open, and saw the spirit of God descending like a dove upon him. A voice from heaven declared that Jesus is his son, with whom he is well pleased.
- The Spirit leads Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus fasts for forty days and forty nights. The tempter approaches Jesus and tells him that if he is the true son of god, then he should command the stones to become loaves of bread. Jesus answers that “one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” The devil takes Jesus to the parapet of a temple, and tells him that if he is the son of god, then he should throw himself from the temple because god will command the angels to save him lest Jesus dash his foot against a stone. Jesus answers that he will “not put the Lord to the test. Then the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and told him that he would give them to Jesus if Jesus worshiped him. Jesus told the devil to leave him; for it is written that he must only worship the Lord, his God. The devil left, and the angels came to minister to Jesus.
- When John was arrested, Jesus retreated t Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, fulfilling the prophecy that the inhabitants of Zebulun and Naphtali will see a great light. Jesus began to preach and say “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
- As Jesus walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and Andrew casting a net into the sea. Jesus said “come after me and I will make you fishers of men. They immediately left their nets and followed him. He called to two more brothers named James and John, who were mending a net in a boat with their father, Zebedee. James and John left the boat and their father, and followed Jesus.
- Jesus traveled around Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. Great crowds began to follow him.
- When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up to a mountain and began teaching them.
- The Beatitudes – Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- By their deeds, the disciples are to influence the world for good. If they fail in good works, they are as useless as flavorless salt or as a lamp whose light is concealed.
- Jesus proclaims that he has not come to abolish the Mosaic Law, but to fulfill it. If you obey and teach the commandments, then you will be called the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
- Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, whoever says “you fool” will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
- Everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery. If your right hand causes you to sin, then cut it off and throw it away. It is better that one of your members should perish than your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
- Whoever divorces his wife, unless the marriage is unlawful, causes her to commit adultery. Whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
- Do not swear at all. Let your yes mean ‘yes’, and your no mean ‘no’. Anything more is from the evil one.
- Offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.
- Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may imitate the heavenly father who bestows the gifts of sun and rain to both the just and unjust. So be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
- Do not perform righteous deeds to win the praise of others. Let your righteous deeds be performed in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
- When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who pray so that others may see them. Pray to your Father in secret, and your Father who sees you in secret will repay you. Do not babble like the Pagans when you pray. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
- This is how you should pray – the Lord’s prayer – Our Father in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.
- When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father.
- Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
- No one can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and Mammon (money).
- Do not worry about what you will eat, drink, or wear. The birds neither sow nor reap, they gather nothing in barns, yet the heavenly father feeds them. Humans are more important than birds. Accordingly, God will provide for us. First seek the kingdom of god and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you. Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
- Stop judging, that you may not be judged. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
- Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw away your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.
- Ask an it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
- Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
- Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
- Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.
- Only the ones who do the will of the heavenly Father will enter the kingdom of heaven.
- Whoever listens to Jesus and acts upon his words will be like a wise man who builds his house on a rock, so that it will not collapse in a storm. All those who listen but do not heed Jesus’ words will be like a fool who builds his house on sand, which will collapse in a storm.
- A leper approaches Jesus and tells him that if he wished, he could make him clean. Jesus said that he will do it, and proceeded to touch and make clean the leper.
- A centurion approached Jesus and asked him to heal his paralytic and suffering servant. Jesus said that he will come to him and cure him. The centurion said that he is not worthy of Jesus coming to his house, but if Jesus only says the word, his servant will be healed. Jesus is amazed at this Gentile’s belief, and declares that many Gentiles will enjoy the kingdom of heaven while many Jews who do not believe Jesus is the Messiah will be driven out into darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
- Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law, who suffered from a fever.
- Jesus drove out demons that had possessed men and women.
- Jesus ordered his disciples to follow him across the Sea of Galilee; for the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head. One disciple said to Jesus “let me go first and bury my father.” But Jesus told him to follow, and let the dead bury their dead. This overrides the most important filial obligation. Jesus asks the disciple to disown his family.
- He got into a boat with his disciples. Suddenly a violent storm came over the sea, swamping the boat with waves. Jesus was asleep. The disciples awoke him, and implored him to save them. Jesus reproached the storm, and the winds and storm abated.
- He exorcised two demons from men, and sent them into a herd of swine that subsequently drowned themselves in the sea. The townspeople begged Jesus to leave their district upon hearing the news of what Jesus had done.
- Jesus traveled back across the sea to Nazareth, and told a paralytic to have courage because his sins were forgiven. The Scribes who heard this, accused Jesus of blaspheming. Only God could forgive sins according to Jewish tradition. Jesus said that he, as the Son of Man, has the authority to forgive sins, and to prove this, he healed the paralytic man. The crowds were struck with awe, and praised God who had given such authority to forgive sins to all human beings, not just Jesus.
- Jesus tells a tax collector named Matthew to follow him. Matthew does. When Jesus supped with tax collectors and sinners, the Pharisees asked Jesus’ disciples why Jesus eats with sinners. Jesus answers that those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
- He healed a woman who had suffered from hemorrhages for several years. He brought a dead girl back to life.
- He healed two blind men after they assured Jesus that thy believed Jesus could heal them.
- He healed a mute person, and drove out the devil which possessed him. The Pharisees assert that Jesus drives out demons by the power of the prince of demons.
- He summoned his disciples, and gave them authority to drive out unclean spirits and to cure every disease and every illness. The 12 Apostles are: Simon who is called Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.
- Jesus commanded his disciples to go to the lost sheep of Israel and proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons. Do not take gold or other mean of payment.
- Jesus warn his disciples that people will persecute them.
- Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Everyone who acknowledges Jesus before others will receive Jesus’ acknowledgement before the heavenly father. Jesus will deny anyone who denies him.
- Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring the sword. I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother. One’s enemies will be those of his household.
- Whoever loves father and mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
- Imprisoned, John the Baptist sends messengers to Jesus to ascertain whether Jesus is the messiah. Jesus informs the messengers that he is.
- Jesus asks the crowd why they came to the desert. He answers for them, stating that they came to the desert to find a prophet, and Jesus is that and more.
- Jesus reproaches the towns in which he performed miracles yet the inhabitants refuse to repent. He prophesies that those towns will be scourged worse than Sodom on the day of judgment.
- Jesus praises the heavenly father for hiding the path to the kingdom of heaven from the wise, but revealing the path to the childlike.
- Jesus invites the followers who labor and are burdened to take the yoke of his word instead; for they will find rest in the word of god.
- The Pharisees condemn Jesus and his followers for picking grain and eating it on the Sabbath. Jesus retorts that he possesses authority, and he permits his followers to pick and eat the grain.
- Then they entered the synagogue where a man with a withered hand sat. The Pharisees asked Jesus if he would cure the man’s withered hand on the Sabbath. Jesus says that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath, and thus cures the man’s hand. The Pharisees exit the synagogue, and take counsel against him to put him to death.
- Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid to waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand.
- Either declare the tree good and its fruit good, or declare the tree rotten and its fruit rotten, for a tree is known by its fruit. A good person brings forth good out of a store of good. An evil person brings forth evil out of a store of evil.
- The disciples demand Jesus to show him a divine sign that he is the Messiah. Jesus asserts that as Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights, Jesus will be in the earth for three days and three nights before rising.
- When an unclean spirit goes forth from a person, it wonders the arid regions, searching for a new dwelling. Finding none, it returns to the initial person with seven more evil spirits, and attempts to dwell there again.
- A disciple tells Jesus that Jesus’ mother and brothers desire to speak with him. Jesus disowns his blood relationships, and claims that whomever does the will of the heavenly father is his mother and brothers.
- Parable of the Sower – A sower went out to sow. He scattered some seeds along a path, but the birds ate those seeds. He scattered some seeds on rocks, but those seeds withered in the sun because they lacked roots. He scattered some seeds amongst thorns, but the thorns choked the seeds. He scattered some seed on rich soil, and the seeds sprung, and rendered plentiful fruit.
- Jesus speaks in parables because it compels people to reflect upon what they heard, and seek the meaning of it. If Jesus plainly spoke, then people would hear, but not listen and understand. They look but do not see; they hear but do not listen or understand.
- The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom but does not understand it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown. The seed sown on rocky ground is one who hears the word and rejoices, but does not have roots and lasts only for a time. When some persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is one who hears the word, but then worldly anxieties and the lure of riches chokes the word and it bears no fruit. The seed sown in rich soil is one who hears the word, understands it, and lives accordingly.
- Parable of the Weeds Among Wheat – A man sows good seed in his field. While he is asleep, his enemy sows weeds in the field. When the crop grows and bears fruit, the weeds appear too. The man decides to let the weeds and crops grow together until harvest time when he will gather the weeds in a bundle for burning and gather the wheat into his barn.
- The Son of Man is the sower. The field is the world. The good seed are the children of the kingdom of heaven. The weeds are the children of the devil. The devil sows the weeds. The harvest is the end of days. The harvesters are angels. The angels will throw the evil ones into the fiery furnace, where they will wail and grind their teeth while the children of heaven shine like the sun.
- Parable of the Mustard Seed – The kingdom of heaven is like the mustard seed, which is the smallest seed yet when full grown it is the largest of plants.
- Parable of the Yeast – The kingdom of heaven is like yeast which a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.
- I will open my mouth in parables; I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.
- The kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When the net is drawn to shore the fishermen put the good fish into buckets and throw away the bad. Thus it will be at the end of days. The angels will separate the wicked from the righteous, and throw the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
- Jesus’ brothers are named James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. He has sisters too.
- Herod’s son named Herod, who ruled one-fourth of his dead father’s kingdom, imprisoned John the Baptist because John told him that it was not lawful to marry Herodias, who was the wife of Herod’s half-brother. Herod wanted to kill him, but abstained because the people regarded John as a prophet. However, at Herod’s birthday party, Herodias’ daughter performed a dance that delighted Herod so much that he promised to give her whatever she desired. According to her mother’s request, the daughter asked for John’s head on a platter. Herod was distressed, but acceded to her demand. After watching the executioner behead John, John’s disciples went to tell Jesus.
- Herod believed that Jesus was John returned from the dead.
- Jesus fed a crowd of 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and two fish.
- At night, Jesus walks on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples believe it is a ghost, but Jesus assures them that it is only he. Peter asks Jesus to command him to come to Jesus in the water. Jesus says come. Peter walks on the water, but when he notices the strength of the win, he becomes trepid, begins to sink, and cries out to Jesus for assistance. Jesus catches him, and chides him for having little faith, and doubting Jesus. The disciples and Peter proclaim that Jesus is truly the son of god.
- If a blind person leads a blind person, they will both fall into a pit.
- The Pharisees criticize Jesus and the disciples for not washing their hands before eating. Jesus answers that it is not what enters the mouth that defiles, but what comes forth from the mouth. Everything that enters the mouth passes to the stomach and then to the latrine. But everything that comes forth from the mouth comes from the heart, and they defile. From the heart come evil thoughts, murder, theft, unchastity, false witness, blasphemies, and adultery.
- A Caananite woman approaches Jesus, and implores him to cast out the demon from her daughter. Jesus haughtily replies that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, not to Gentiles, and will not throw food to the dogs. The woman replies that even dogs eat the scraps from their masters’ tables. Jesus exclaims, “O woman of great faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” He casts out the demon within the woman’s daughter.
- Jesus does not want to send the crowd of 4,000 men home without food because they had followed Jesus for three days without food, and might collapse if they returned home without food. Jesus feeds the crowd with 7 loaves of bread and a few fish.
- The Pharisees and Sadducees demand Jesus to show them a sign that he is the son of God. Jesus answers that an evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given.
- Jesus warns his disciples of the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
- Jesus asks his followers who do people say the son of man is. The followers answer that the people claim John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or some other prophet is the son of man. Then, Jesus asks what people believe he is. Peter said that they believe Jesus is the son of god. Jesus blesses Peter, and tells him that it was not flesh and blood which made him believe this, but the heavenly father. Jesus decides to build his church upon Peter. Jesus will give Peter the keys to the heavenly kingdom, and whatever Peter bounds or looses on earth, will be bound and loosed in heaven.
- Jesus tells his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, and greatly suffer at the hands of scribes, elders, and the chief priests, and be executed and resurrect three days later. Peter rebukes Jesus, saying that Jesus will never suffer or die. Jesus chides Peter, telling him that he is not thinking as God does, but as human beings do.
- What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the son of man coming in his kingdom. This coming pertains to the manifestation of Jesus’ word on earth, not his second coming and the Day of Judgment.
- Jesus takes Peter, James and John to a mountain. There, Jesus is transfigured; his face shines like the sun and his clothes became white as light. Moses, who represents the law, and Elijah, who represents prophecy, appear to him and converse with him.
- The prophets maintain that Elijah must come before Jesus and restore all things. Jesus tells his followers that Elijah has already come in the form of John the Baptist, but the people did not recognize him, and thus tortured and killed John. Jesus prophesies that people will torture him as they tortured John.
- Jesus exorcises a demon from a little boy. The disciples ask Jesus why they were incapable of exorcising the demon. Jesus says that they have too little faith, but when the disciples possess adequate faith, then nothing will be impossible for them; they will be capable of moving mountains.
- Again, Jesus predicts that he will be killed and rise three days later. The followers grieve.
- The disciples ask Jesus who the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is. Jesus answers that unless the followers do not become like children, they will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus utilizes children as a symbol for the type of dependence, trust, and obedience to one’s parents which is required to enter the kingdom of heaven.
- Whoever causes a person who believes in Jesus to sin will suffer more than if they had a great millstone placed around their necks to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
- If a man has 100 sheep, and one goes astray, then the man will leave the 99 and seek the 1. He will rejoice more over finding that 1 than the 99 who did not stray. The heavenly father does not desire to lose one of his followers.
- Where two or three are gathered in my name, there will I be in their midst.
- Parable of the Unforgiving Servant – A master called a servant before him. The servant owed the master a great sum, which he was incapable of paying. The servant begged his master to forgive the debt. The master, moved by pity, forgave the servant of the debt. The servant left and found another servant who owed him a small amount. The other servant begged him to be patient, but the servant who the master forgave did not forgive his fellow servant, and put him in prison. When the master discovered what the servant who he forgave had done, he chastised the servant for not showing mercy as he had done. The master ordered the servant to be delivered into the hands of torturers until the debt was paid in full. Jesus says that the heavenly father will deliver those who do not forgive others into the hands of torturers until they learn to forgive and atone for their own transgressions.
- God made man and female, so that the man shall leave his father and mother and join his wife, making one flesh. Moses permitted divorce because of the hardness of the people’s hearts, but it is sinful to divorce and marry another.
- A rich young man asks Jesus what he can do to attain the kingdom of heaven. Jesus says to uphold the following commandments: “Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, honor thy mother and father, and love your neighbor as yourself.” The man says that he has done all these things. Then, Jesus tells him that if he desires to be perfect, then he should sell all he has and give it to the poor. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
- The Workers in the Vineyard – A landowner hires men at different hours of the day to work in his fields. At the end of the day, the landowner rewards each worker the same amount of money regardless of how many hours the worker worked that day. This is analogous to the kingdom of heaven; all those who follow Jesus will receive eternal life despite the amount of time, the varying degree of persecution suffered for the sake of Jesus, etc.
- Jesus predicts that he will be crucified and rise three days later for the third time.
- John and James ask Jesus if they can sit at his right and left hand – positions of authority – in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus says that they do not understand what it is they ask; for whoever desires to be greatest among the kingdom of heaven will strive to be a servant. Whoever wishes to be first must become a slave; for the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve.
- When Jesus and his followers arrive at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sends two disciples into town to retrieve an ass and a colt. This will fulfill an Old Testament prophecy of the king coming to the people on an ass. Jesus enters Jerusalem on the ass, and the citizens wonder who he is.
- Jesus entered a temple and overturned the tables of the money changers and those who were selling doves, explaining that the temple is a house of prayer, but they are making it a den of thieves.
- Parable of the two sons – A father asks his first son to work in the vineyard. The son says no, but later changes his mind and goes to work. The father approaches the second son and asks him to work in the vineyard. The son says yes, but does not go to work in the vineyard. The first son will enter the kingdom of heaven, but not the second. The first son repented, and ultimately performed his father’s will. The second son prevaricated, and did not rectify his transgression.
- Parable of the Tenants – A landowner plants a vineyard, and erects a tower. He leases the tower to tenants and goes on a journey. At vintage time, the landowner sends his servants to collect the produce from the vineyard, but the tenants kill the servants. The landowner sends more servants, but the tenants kill those too. The landowner sends his son because he believes that the tenants will respect the son, but the tenants kill the son. The landowner puts the tenants to a wretched death, and leases the tower to people who will produce its fruit. The landowner is God. The servants are prophets who are persecuted by people. The son is Jesus, who is killed by those who do not respect him. Accordingly, God will kill those who do not believe in Jesus, and give his kingdom to those who do believe in Jesus and produce the fruits of the world. The fruits are good acts.
- Parable of the Wedding Feast – Many are invited to the kingdom of heaven, but few are chosen to remain in the kingdom. To remain in the kingdom, one must repent.
- Hoping to entrap Jesus in uttering a blasphemy, the Pharisees ask Jesus if it is lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar. Jesus perceives their treachery, and shows them a coin bearing an engraving of Caesar’s countenance. Jesus tells them to repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – meaning the coin – and repay to God what belongs to God – meaning faith, dependence, and obedience.
- The Pharisees tell Jesus that there is no resurrection; for if a woman marries one man, and that man dies, and then she marries another, whose wife will she be after the resurrection. Jesus tells them that after the resurrection, souls do not marry, but are like angels in heaven. Furthermore, Jesus says that the dead – meaning bodies – are never resurrected; for God is the God of the living – meaning souls – not the dead bodies.
- Jesus asserts that the greatest Commandment is to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. The second greatest Commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.
- Jesus tells his disciples to listen to the Pharisees, but do not follow their example. The Pharisees preach, but they do not practice what they preach. They seek prestigious positions, but the greatest among the kingdom of heaven will be a servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
- Jesus denounces the Pharisees as hypocrites. On the outside, the Pharisees appear virtuous, but on the inside, the Pharisees are filled with hypocrisy and evil.
- Jesus foretells the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.
- Jesus’ disciples ask him what will signify to them his second coming. Jesus tells them that many will come and deceitfully claim to be the messiah. There will be wars. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes and famine. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many. But this is only the beginning of the labor pains, and although many will lose the ability to love because of the evil which they see perpetrated in the world, the one who perseveres to the end for God’s sake will be saved.
- After tribulation, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give light, and the stars will fall from the sky. Then, the Son of God will come upon the clouds of heaven, and gather the chosen people from one end of the heavens to the other.
- No one knows the day or hour of the second coming – not the angels nor the son, but the Father alone. Therefore, remain vigilant because you do not know when the Lord will come.
- Blessed is the Lord’s servant who obeys his master, and is found performing the master’s will when the master arrives. Woe to the servant who, believing that his master will not return that day, shirks his duty, and whose master returns home unexpectedly to discover his disobedience.
- Parable of the Talents – Inactivity is also sinful. One must perform good acts to enter the kingdom of heaven.
- On the day of judgment, Jesus will thank the righteous for feeding him when he was hungry, giving him drink when he was thirsty, welcoming him when he was a stranger, clothing him when he was naked, caring for him when he was ill, and visiting him when he was in prison. The righteous will ask Jesus when they did these things. Jesus will reply that they did these things when they helped his brothers (fellow men). The unrighteous will be cast into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
- The chief priests, elders, and high priest named Caiaphas conspired to arrest and crucify Jesus.
- A woman poured perfume on Jesus while he reclined at a table. The disciples indignantly chided her for not selling the perfume and giving the money to the poor. Jesus says that she has done a good thing for him. She prepared him for burial. The disciples will always have the poor with them, but they will not always have Jesus.
- Judas went to the chief priests and avariciously asked them what they would give him if he handed over Jesus to them. The priests gave him thirty pieces of silver.
- While Jesus and his disciples celebrated Passover, Jesus informed them that one of them will betray him.
- While they were eating, Jesus took the bread, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said “take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them all, saying “drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”
- Jesus tells his disciples that their faith in him will be shaken. Peter replies that his faith will never be shaken. Jesus tells him that he will deny Jesus three times before the cock crows. Peter says that even if he should have to die with Jesus, he will never den him.
- Agony in the Garden – Jesus and his disciples go to a garden named Gethsemane. Jesus begins to feel sorrow and distress, and tells his disciples that he is going to pray. He takes Peter, James, and John with him to pray. Jesus asks them to keep watch, and then begins to pray to God. He asks God to spare him. He does not want to die, but will do so if that is God’s will. Jesus then perceives that the three disciples have fallen asleep, and Jesus exhorts them to pray that Jesus need not be crucified, so that they will not undergo the test of their faith in him as the true Son of God. Jesus returns to prayer. He again asks God to spare his life. He then returns to his disciples and finds them sleeping. He prays for a third time the same prayer, and returns to the disciples. Now, he tells them that the time is at hand. He must be handed over to the sinners. Look, the betrayer is at hand… Jesus prayer to god is: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will.”
- Betrayal in the Garden – Judas arrives in the garden with a large crowd carrying swords and clubs. Judas arranges a sign with the crowd that whoever he kisses is the one. Judas approaches Jesus, says “Hail, Rabbi!” and kisses him. Jesus says, “friend, do what you have come for.” The crowd lays hands on Jesus, but one of Jesus’ disciples seizes a sword, and cuts off the ear of the chief priest’s servant. Jesus reproves the disciple, and tells him to sheath his sword, that those who use the sword will perish by the sword. Jesus could call on God, and God would send twelve legions of angels to aid Jesus, but Jesus must be crucified to fulfill scripture.
- They took Jesus to a place where Caiaphas, the scribes and the elders were assembled. Peter followed, and watched the trial. The chief priests brought many false witnesses to the court to testify against Jesus, but none gave testimony which would support crucifying Jesus. Finally, two men came forward, and accused Jesus of saying that he could destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it within three days. Caiaphas rose and asked Jesus whether he believed he was the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus replied. “You have said so. From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on clouds of heaven. Then, the high priest tore Jesus’ robes and said that Jesus had blasphemed. Caiaphas asked the congregation what Jesus deserved. They said death.
- Peter walked into the courtyard, and a maid accused him of being with Jesus. Peter denied knowing Jesus. This process transpired two more times. “I do not know the man.” Then, a cock crowed, and Peter remembered what Jesus had spoken, and began to weep bitterly.
- When it was morning, they bound Jesus and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.
- Seeing Jesus condemned to death, Judas regrets what he had done. Judas returns the thirty pieces of silver, and hangs himself. The chief priests took the money, but did not deposit it into the Treasury because it was the price paid for blood. They used it to buy a potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. The field is known as the Field of Blood.
- Pilate asked Jesus if he was the King of the Jews. Jesus said “you say so.” Pilate asked Jesus if he heard the chief priests’ accusations against him. Jesus remained silent, and would not answer the charges against him.
- On the occasion of the feast, Pilate was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished. A man named Barabbas, which means son of the father, was also in custody. Pilate asked the crowd which man they wish to be released to them. The crowd shouted for Barabbas to be released. Pilate asked the crowd what he shall do with Jesus. The crowd says to crucify him. Pilate asks the crowd what evil Jesus has committed. They only shout to crucify him. Pilate washes his hands and says that he is innocent of Jesus’ blood. The crowd says, “his blood be upon us and upon our children.” Barabbas is released, and Jesus is scourged and led to crucifixion.
- The soldiers throw a scarlet military cloak about him, place a crown of thorns upon his head, give him a reed as a scepter, and bow to him in mockery as king of the Jews.
- A Cyrenian named Simon was pressed into service to carry Jesus’ cross.
- When they arrived at Golgotha, the place of the skull, they gave Jesus wine mixed with gall. When he tasted it, Jesus refused to drink. After they crucified Jesus, the soldiers divided his garments amongst themselves.
- They placed over Jesus an inscription of his crime. The inscription read, “This is Jesus, the kin of the jews.”
- Two revolutionaries were crucified with Jesus, one on his left and one on his right.
- People passing by reviled Jesus, saying “save yourself if you are the son of god, and come down from the cross.” The revolutionaries who were crucified also abused Jesus in the same manner.
- From noon onward, darkness cam over the land. At three o’clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachtani?” which means “my god, my god, why have you forsaken me?” Some bystanders believed he was calling out for Elijah, who aids people in suffering. Accordingly, some fetched Jesus a sponge soaked in wine, and putting it one a reed, gave it to Jesus to drink. Jesus cried out again and gave up his spirit. At that moment, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming forth after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
- Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and John, were at the foot of the cross.
- A rich disciple of Jesus named Joseph, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body, and was given it. Joseph wrapped the body in clean white linen, placed it in a tomb hewn in rock, and sealed the tomb with a large rock. Mary of Magdalene and the other Mary remained at the entrance of the tomb.
- The Pharisees asked Pilate to place a guard before the tomb lest Jesus’ disciples steal his body and proclaim to the people that Jesus rose from the dead. Pilate allows the Pharisees to guard the tomb.
- After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene an the other Mary approached the tomb. There was a great earthquake, an angel of the Lord appeared, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. The guards were struck with fear and astonishment. Then the angel told the women that Jesus has been raised from the dead and is going before them to Galilee. The angel ordered them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee to see Jesus. The women met Jesus on their way to inform the disciples. They embraced his feet, and did him homage. Jesus told them to tell the disciples to seek for him in Galilee.
- The soldiers told the chief priests what transpired. The chief priests gave them money, and commanded the soldiers to proclaim that Jesus’ disciples came at night and stole Jesus’ body while they were sleeping. The soldiers took the money, and did as they were instructed. This story still circulates among the Jews today.
- The eleven disciples – minus Judas – went to Galilee, and saw Jesus. They worshipped him, but they doubted. Then, Jesus approached them and said, “Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to observe all I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
On does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.
The Lord, your God, shall you worship, and him alone shall you serve.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
Our Father in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves beak in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.
Let the dead bury their dead.
Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid to waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand.
I will open my mouth in parables; I will announce what has lain hidden to the foundation of the world.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Wherever the corpse is, there will the vultures gather.
Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
From noon onward, darkness came over the land. At 3 o’clock in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
I am with you always, until the end of the age.
Each of the Great Books attempts to present a truth about reality, or a path by which one can attain happiness. In the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Jesus makes several claims about reality, and also details specific steps which must be taken in order to attain everlasting happiness in the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus claims that he is the Son of God. This claim is not rare. Thousands, if not millions, of people have claimed to be divine. Emperors, kings, and people who are mentally damaged or influenced by chemical substances constitute the majority of this group. However, there is one passage in the Gospel according to Matthew which presents Jesus’ claim to divinity in such a way that is unique. Jesus tells his disciples that on the Day of Judgment, he will thank the righteous for giving him bread when he was hungry, drink when he was thirsty, etc. However, many of the righteous will never have encountered Jesus in life, and will ask him when they assisted Jesus in these ways. Jesus will reply that the righteous performed these good deeds when they gave food or drink to another person in need of sustenance. This passage implies that humanity shares the divinity of Jesus; i.e. Jesus is divine, and so are we all.
I know that many philosophers since Jesus (such as Spinoza) believe that everything is divine, but I do not know whether Jesus was the first to make this contention. Regardless, the notion that we are all divine provokes both pleasurable and terrifying contemplation. The notion is pleasurable to consider because one is filled with a sense of power, purpose, and communion with all others who are also divine. On the other hand, awareness of one’s own divinity is terrifying, and to some extent paralyzing. The responsibility which comes with this knowledge is a tremendous burden. One may feel as if each act must be carefully planned and executed to ensure that the act meets the standards of a god. On the other hand, whatever god does is just, so perhaps the weight of responsibility to act according to god-like standards is lighter than I initially anticipated. This dilemma reminds me of Euthyphro’s dilemma; i.e. does god determine what is just, or is justice independent of god’s will?
Regarding the path to righteousness and happiness, Jesus advises his followers to love god with all their hearts, souls, and minds. And to love others as they love themselves. If the reader accepts my conclusion that Jesus implicitly revealed the divinity of us all, then these commandments exhort us to love other gods as we love our self, which is also divine. From this point of view, I believe that Jesus’ advice is sound because it conforms to Aristotle’s notion of happiness as rationally acting according to virtue. Virtue requires us to help not just ourselves attain happiness, but others. After all, Aristotle asserts that man is a political animal, and that the telos, or purpose, of the State is to provide conditions which will engender happiness for every individual.