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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

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Commentary on Matthew

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Text Commentary side-by-side
Commentary spanning earlier chapters

4.12–17 (Mk 1.14–15; Lk 4.14–15):

The mission opens in Galilee, where the Great Commission ( 28.16–20 ) will occur.

12 :

Arrested (lit.“handed over”) is used for Judas's betrayal and the divine delivering of Jesus (see Isa 53.6 ). Withdrew, typical of Jesus' response to danger (see 12.15; 14.13 ).

13 :

Capernaum, home to Peter and Andrew, will be Jesus' own city ( 9.1 ).

15–16 :

Isa 9.1–2 . Matthew emphasizes Galilee's gentile * connection; here the Great Commission ( 28.19 ) begins.

17 :

Summarizes Jesus' message; repent reflects the Hebrew “Tshuva,” “return” or “change direction.”

4.18–25 .

18–22 (Mk 1.16–20; Lk 5.1–11; Jn 1.35–42):

The abrupt calling of the disciples is common in Hellenistic * and Hebrew stories (see 1 Kings 19.19–21 ).

23–25 :

Only Jesus teaches and proclaims.

23–24 :

Good news is “gospel.” Their synagogues * need not indicate alienation; Jesus restricts his mission to Israel ( 10.5b–6; 15.24 ).

8.1–13 :

2–4 (Mk 1.40–44; Lk 5.12–14):

Leprosy (see Lev 13–14 ) refers to various skin diseases. Lepers required priestly sanction to reenter society.

5–13 (Lk 7.1–10; Jn 4.46–53):

The gentile * centurion. Verse 7 may be read as a question—Shall I heal him?—anticipating a negative answer. Elsewhere Jesus restricts his mission to Jews ( 10.5b–6 ), and prior to the resurrection he displays reluctance at extending it to gentiles ( 15.24 ).

8 :

Matthew's Jesus never enters a gentile's home (contrast Mk 7 ).

9 :

Centurions command between 50 and 100 soldiers; here the centurion admits his helplessness and faith in Jesus' power.

11 :

May refer to Diaspora * Jews or to gentiles.

12 :

Heirs (lit. sons) of the kingdom refers in v. 13 to Jesus' followers: Even those inside the church may forfeit salvation through improper action and belief.

8.14–22 .

14–15 (Mk 1.30–31; Lk 4.38–39):

Peter's mother-in-law “serves”; the term derives from the Greek term for “deacon.” Peter's wife is not mentioned.

15–17 (Mk 1.32–34; Lk 4.40–41):

Another fulfillment citation; prior to the Gospels, this passage, like many other fulfillment citations, was not viewed as referring to the messiah. *

17 :

See Isa 53.4 . Matthew lacks Mark's commands for the demons' silence.

18–22 (Mk 4.35; Lk 8.22; 9.57–60):

Itinerancy marks Jesus' mission and that of his followers (see ch. 10 ).

19 :

Teacher is used by those who are not disciples; in Matthew, Jesus calls disciples; followers do not apply for the position.

20 :

Son of Man means “human being” (Ezek 37 ), but it also carries divine connotations (Dan 7.13–14 ).

21–22 :

Jesus' saying shocks; nothing, not even one's own family, takes precedence over service to him.

21.1–11 (Mk 1.1–11; Lk 19.28–38; Jn 12.12–18):

Preparations for Jerusalem. In Matthew (and Mark), this is Jesus' first entry into Jerusalem: Luke and John depict earlier visits. Although this event is traditionally called “Palm Sunday,” palms are mentioned only in John; in Matthean chronology, the entry occurs on Monday.

2–3 :

See comment on Mk 11.2 .

4–5 :

The ninth fulfillment citation, from Isa 62.11; Zech 9.9 .

7 :

Matthew takes literally Zechariah's poetic reference to two donkeys.

9 :

Hosanna, * originally a plea for salvation, became a festive shout. The citation comes from Ps 118.25–26 , the last Hallel Psalm sung at Passover. * One who comes has messianic connotations.

27.1–10 .

1–2 (Mk 15.1; Lk 23.1; Jn 18.28–32):

Pilate's involvement. The Roman governor came from Caesarea to Jerusalem at Passover. *

3–10 (Acts 1.16–20):

Judas's death. A scene unique to Matthew, Judas's death evokes the suicide of Ahithophel, who betrayed David (2 Sam 17 ). According to Acts, Judas dies a much less dignified death. In both accounts, the death is linked to the purchase of a field for the burial of foreigners.

9–10 :

See Zech 11.12–13; Jer 18.1–3; 32.6–15 .

1.1–4.22 :

Son of David and Son of God.


(Lk 3.23–28 ).

1 :

Account of the genealogy, literally, “Book of genesis.” Christ is the Greek for the Hebrew term “mashiach,” “anointed * one.” Son of David is a messianic title. References to Abraham ( 3.9; 8.11; 22.32 ) have universalistic import.

3 :

On Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, the wife of Uriah, and Mary, see sidebar, “Women in the Genealogy,” p. 4 .

6 :

Luke's genealogy * goes through David's son Nathan, not Solomon.

11 :

See 2 Kings 24.8–16 .

16 :

Joseph is the legal father.

17 :

The last division contains thirteen names.


(Lk 1.26–2.40 ).

19 :

Joseph's righteousness may refer to his unwillingness to shame Mary, or to his decision to divorce her.

20 :

Like his namesake in Genesis, Joseph dreams. Dreams are a Matthean motif. * See 2.13 .

21 :

Jesus, the Greek form for Joshua, means “the Lord saves” or “Yahweh helps”; allusions to Moses' successor are likely.

23 :

See Isa 7.14 ; Matthew cites the Septuagint * ; the Hebrew refers to an already pregnant “young woman.”

25 :

Later claims for Mary's perpetual virginity are not noted.

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