Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gospel of Matthew

Synopsis of the Gospel of Matthew
By Rev. John Vollman

The gospel of Matthew emphasizes the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament in the person of Jesus Christ and would be what I consider the prevailing theme. Matthew refers to the Old Testament at least sixty times, and the book is written with many of Jesus' discourses and instructions to both crowds and to His disciples. Matthew amplifies for the reader that Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but fulfill it (5:17), and that Jesus' required a righteousness that came from the inside of each individual and not the outward man. This book would have reached out to the religious Jew and forced the reader to make a decision about Jesus. The gospel of Matthew brings the law of the Old Testament and the good news of Jesus Christ side by side.
 Mathew, being one of the more silent disciples considering we hear little of him in the scriptures, writes in a way that shows Jesus as King. The author shows the genealogy of  Christ through the line of Judah, the conflict Jesus had with both religious and political leadership of the day, and the apocalyptic discourse to His disciples. If Jesus is King, He is king over all including the church. This book can easily be attributed as a gospel for the church, since Matthew is the only one who mentions the word "church" out of the gospels. It could be speculated that Matthew may have written this gospel for the church in Antioch, or even wrote it from Antioch between A.D. 50-70.
The Gospel of Matthew's Relevance
The Sermon on the Mount is powerful, convicting, and a timeless teaching of Jesus that is relevant to all time including ours. The entire gospel of Matthew is relevant, but probably no teaching so profound for today's Christian as when Jesus tells us that if we hated someone we have already committed murder (5:21-22), or looked upon a woman with lust, we have committed adultery (5:28). Jesus, in three chapters, gives us the words that break through legalism and religion to reach the heart of God.
The book of Matthew is like a mirror that man can look into and realize how much he needs Jesus Christ. When confronted with the fact that we are sinners who broke God's law of the Old Testament, and simply cannot live up to God's expectations, we should be desperate for the King of kings that Matthew writes about. Jesus is lifted high in the gospel of Matthew, and this is its source of relevance despite the historical gap between the first century and our modern culture.
We are all wretched sinners in need of a Savior. Matthew's account is relevant because everyone can see himself or herself as one in great need and if they are humble indeed picture themselves being healed, taught, and redeemed by the Jesus Matthew so proudly proclaims.

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