Tomorrow (Monday, June 11) we begin our Chapter a Day Journey through the Gospel. We'll read one chapter each day, Monday through Friday, beginning with Matthew and progressing all the way to end of John's Gospel. We'll conclude in exactly 17.8 weeks. (Wink!)
Each day I'll post a Summary of each chapter, as well as a Point for Prayer. (I'll continue to post a link to the daily Scripture readings. Although, those readings may not necessarily match up with our daily chapter.)
So, we begin with the Gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 1. Here's some introductory items to provide a contextual framework.
-A "gospel" is a kind of literary genre. They have two characteristics: they are biographical documents, and they are historical documents. Our four Gospels tell the story of Jesus Christ and recount his life and teachings, including his death and resurrection.
-Remember, we believe, as an Act of Faith, that these Gospels, (and the Bible as a whole), is the inspired Word of God. In other words, God works through the authors of each book, using a variety of literary methods, to communicate a Message (aka Good News) about who He is, and who we are, and what everything (and I mean everything) means. So, remember, the Gospels are not just historical and biographical works, they're first and foremost a Revelation of God to His people. It's almost as if God is trying to say, "Craig Thomas, this is what I want to tell you about me! So read and listen closely."
-Finally, remember our citation method for Bible reference- Book name or abbreviation, followed by chapter, then verse. Example- Matthew(Mt) 1:1-4. Gospel of Matthew, chapter 1, verse 1 through 4.
Some information about the Gospel According to Matthew.
-It's generally accepted that the author of this Gospel is in fact Matthew the tax collector who was called by Jesus to be one of the original 12 Apostles (Mt 9:9).
-Matthew would have been an eyewitness to Jesus's ministry, but he didn't write his Gospel until circa 85AD.
-Matthew was writing for Jewish Christians (Jews who converted to Christianity) in and around Palestine.
-Matthew's main theme appears to be "The Kingdom of God". He recounts Jesus using that phrase more than 30 times throughout his Gospel. The Kingdom of God (or Heaven) has three essential meanings:
1. It is a place where the Gospel message is lived out in a perfectly ethical way. It is a place where those who have heard Jesus's message live it our perfectly- or at least, close to it.
2. It is a place that is represented by the Catholic Church and the Church Community (on the parish level). It's the place where the message of Jesus is preached and people are baptized into the Church.
3. It is the place that we commonly call Heaven. It is in Heaven that all is perfectly united to God the Father and Creator and Redeemer and Sanctifier is a perfect harmony where Love and Peace reign in all hearts and minds.
So, as always, if you have questions as we go, don't hesitate to post them in the comment section. Hold on, my friends, I have a feeling, God is going to work some pretty amazing things in our life over the next 17.8 weeks.
Praise and Thanks to Him. Peace and Blessings to you!