Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The Book of Matthew. Matt.3:15-17. Jesus went to John to be baptized, which surprised John, so Jesus said: “Allow it now, for it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” 1. This dialogue reveals that John is aware of Jesus’ superiority as the mightier one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. John is also Jesus’ cousin. 2. To fulfill all righteousness is to submit to God for the salvation of the human race. 3. Righteousness seems to be the saving activity of God……………………………………………. Matthew 4:4, 7, 10. 1. Jesus goes into the wilderness to fast for 40 days and nights (We know from the UB that he goes to meet advisors from his government and to plan his strategy on earth; we also know he wouldn’t fast because Jesus never missed a meal). But Matthew says he was tempted by the devil 3 times and told the devil to go bother someone else. Each refusal is expressed in language taken from Deuteronomy (8:3 6:13). The language of the Old Testament is overwhelmingly applied to the New Testament…………………………. Matthew 4:7 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 1. After Jesus comes back from his 40 day sojourn in the desert, he begins his ministry. 2. His theme is and always will be enshrined in these words: The kingdom of God is within you. Jesus is also taking the words of John the Baptist, although with a different meaning; in Jesus’ ministry the kingdom of heaven has already begun to be present. In the OT Elijah’s message heralds the immanent approach of God’s kingdom, and that message will be driven home by Jesus himself. He, too, preaches the nearness of the kingdom. Whereas John is clearly a prophet preparing the way, Jesus is the one to bring the kingdom to reality………………………. Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In the OT the poor are those without material possessions and whose confidence is in God. Matthew added “in spirit” in order either to indicate that only the devout poor were meant or to extend the beatitude to all, of whatever social rank, who recognized their complete dependence on God. Some of the beatitudes were added by the evangelist. All of the beatitudes promise the future of a heavenly existence to people who live in misery……………………………………….. Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Righteousness here, as usual in Matthew, is conduct in conformity with God’s will…………………………… Matthew 5:20 “Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is very clear; only those who do the will of the Father will go to heaven…… Matthew 5: 48 “Be ye therefore, perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” In all the 4 gospels the word “perfect” occurs only in Matthew. The parallel in Luke demands that the disciples be “merciful.” (All analysis comes from the Catholic Study Bible).

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