ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 324


Third, Matthew connects Jesus to Israel’s story by organizing Jesus’
life into five “books.” This organizational pattern reflects the Torah—
the five books of Moses. In each of these books, Matthew first describes
what Jesus did and then presents what Jesus taught. Each teaching
section transitions to the next book with some version of the phrase,
“When Jesus had finished saying these things.” Overall, this combination of action and teaching reveals the present expression of God’s
renewal in our world, which Matthew calls “the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Matthew’s five books explore five themes:
• The foundations of the Kingdom of Heaven are built on a deeper
righteousness that leads people to act “as true children of your
Father in heaven” (pp. 314-324).
• The mission of the Kingdom of Heaven demonstrates the mercy
and compassion of God by bringing people freedom from disease
and oppression (pp. 324-329).
• The mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven is that it begins in barely
noticeable ways and advances through suffering and sacrifice
(pp. 330-336).
• The family of the Kingdom of Heaven comprises a new community marked by forgiveness, love, and restoration (pp. 337-345).
• The destiny of the Kingdom of Heaven is to bear witness to
Jesus, despite persecution, until the Good News about him has
been proclaimed to all nations (pp. 345-358).
Matthew’s story culminates with Jesus winning the decisive victory
over God’s great enemies—sin and death. In Israel’s story, God’s ancient rescue of his people from Egypt formed the pattern for all of
God’s subsequent acts of salvation. The Passover meal illustrated this
pattern, and Matthew shows Jesus observing a Passover meal with his
twelve disciples and instituting a new covenant right before his own
sacrificial death and powerful resurrection. Jesus has brought a “new
exodus”—a great, new rescue of his people. Jesus the Messiah has
carried Israel’s story to its decisive moment: when the Good News of
God’s Kingdom is announced to the whole world.

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