Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | July 24, 2019

Matthew Does Apologetics with a Sword

(2 Minute Read)

Apologetics is the defense of trust in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world using evidence, reason, and logic.

The Apostle Matthew used a different approach to apologetics than any approach we’ve considered so far in this Apologists in the Bible series.

Scan through the first four chapters of Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 1-4) in order to answer the following question about Matthew’s approach.

Question:
What did Matthew do 12 times in his first four chapters?

Answer:
Matthew quoted from the Old Testament 12 times (counting the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 as a single reference). Eight of the twelve times, including the genealogy, were references to show that Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. Throughout his gospel, Matthew used this “fulfilled prophecy” approach to show that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah.

The genealogy proved that Jesus, like the promised Messiah, was a descendant of King David. Matthew continued to cite messianic prophecies from the Old Testament that Jesus fulfilled in order to build his case that Jesus was the long-promised Messiah and Savior of Israel.

For example, Matthew cited the prophecy that the Messiah would be virgin-born (Matthew 1:18-25), that He would be born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:4-6), and that He would come out of Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15). Even the fulfillment of just these three prophecies of very unlikely events is compelling evidence that Jesus of Nazareth must be the promised Messiah. This was Matthew’s point in identifying Jesus’ fulfillment of so many messianic prophecies.

Of course, this was not the only apologetic technique Matthew used in presenting his case for Jesus as Messiah. He also reported numerous miracles that Jesus performed and many discourses that Jesus delivered. This includes one of His most well-known miracles, the Feeding of the Five Thousand (Matthew 14:15-21), and the most famous sermon of all time, the Sermon on the Mount.

After the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew reported of Jesus, “The crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” (Matthew 7:28-29)

Do You Get the Point?

How should we follow Matthew’s pattern today?

Use the sword of the Spirit! (Ephesians 6:17) Base our proclamation of the gospel on Scripture, just as Matthew based his proclamation on the Old Testament, the Scripture of his day.

This excerpt from one of the Apostle Peter’s sermons in Acts is one of many good starting points:
You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 10:38-43)

Questions to Ponder

1. Which of Matthew’s messianic fulfilled prophecies is the most compelling for you?
2. Why is “Sword” in the title of this blog? (Hint: Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12)

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the seventh post in the series on Apologists in the Bible. An apologist is one who gives a logical argument in defense of faith in God.
Read the prequels:
1. Elijah Does Apologetics
2. Peter Does Apologetics
3. Paul Does Apologetics
4. John Does Apologetics
5. Jesus Does Apologetics
6. Job Gets a Dose of Apologetics

Read the sequel:
8. David Does Apologetics with a Sling

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday July 24, 2019 A.D.

Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23)

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