The Gospel of Matthew is the first of the three Synoptic Gospels of the New Testament – the others are Mark and Luke. According to theologians, the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were written after the Gospel of Mark. Matthew uses much of the content from Mark’s Gospel, similar to the writer of Luke’s Gospel. The Gospel of Matthew was written around the year 70, after the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed (something to remember when reading references to the temple). The writer was thought to be Matthew the tax collector, but scholars believe he may have written some form of the Gospel, but not the version we have today. The frequent references to specific text of the Old Testament indicate that it was written for a Jewish/Christian community. The writer uses the Gospel text to define the identity of Christ to the early Jewish/Christian community and to reach out to the Jewish community. The words of the Gospel of Matthew are just as relevant today as they were for the early Church and its converts.
Deacon Gary Hoover provides background information to help us better understand this gospel: