“Citizen Matthew: The Tax Collector, The Disciple, and The Kingdom of Heaven”
The gospel of Matthew has in it some inherent qualities that helps us to understand why he chooses to portray Jesus the way he does.
He is concerned mainly with a Jewish audience. He spent his adult life betraying his people as a Roman tax collector. He would naturally want to reach them with his story of being found by the Jewish Messiah and the Kingdom He brings near.
This detailed encyclopedic exploration of the Kingdom of Heaven is only found in Matthew. He uses the phrase 32 times. He tells us everything we need to know about the Kingdom – who it is, where it is, who it belongs to, how to get in, how to live by her values, and even who is greatest and least among her citizens.
Matt. 13:17 Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.
Matthew wants us to see what he saw, hear what he heard, & be completely assured that the Kingdom of Heaven is not something to wait for, something to attain, or something that alludes anyone who would simply believe the King’s words and what He told Matthew to do with them –
Matt. 10:7 As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’
The Kingdom of Heaven is here – Let’s let the tax collector, the disciple, and one citizen of that Kingdom show us…