The first Gospel, written by one of the least conspicuous of the twelve apostles, is a book of primary importance. Dr Hendriksen's massive commentary soon reveals why this is so, and why, for the author, the reading of Matthew ‘at one sitting is a thrilling experience. The book is simply irresistible.'
While holding that the purpose of Matthew's Gospel was ‘fully to win the Jews to Christ,' Dr Hendriksen does not find the Gospel's most distinctive feature in Christ's kingship. Rather it is seen in the prophetic emphasis, in the plan of God's grace revealed in the Messianic predictions of the Hebrew Scriptures (forty of which Matthew uses), and now shown to be realized in history.
More than this, the Gospel holds forth Christ himself as the Chief Prophet (Matt. 17:5). So among the first three Gospels it is to Matthew that one must turn for Christ's great discourses. ‘Whatever parallels the other Gospels contain, it is the former publican who has given us this material in its fullest and most organized form.' Matthew gives us not only the Sermon on the Mount, but the seven ‘kingdom' parables, the rules for church discipline, the seven woes denounced upon Pharisees and scribes, and Christ's vivid and detailed prophecy of the future of Jerusalem, the church and the world. The majestic portrayal of the final judgment provides the grand climax of Christ's prophetic ministry.
The commentary on the text is preceded by one hundred pages of Introduction in which Dr Hendriksen deals with the ‘synoptic problem.' Dating the Gospel at around A.D. 63-66, he shows the ineffectualness of the attempted liberal ‘reconstruction' of the Gospel history.
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