Gospel of Matthew
|Gospel of Matthew
A fragment of a copy of Matthew, c. 250 CE.
Gospel of Matthew, commonly known as Matthew, is the first book of the New Testament. The text was written in ancient Greek around 80-90 CE and it purports to be an account of the life of Jesus. The work is traditionally attributed to the apostle Matthew, but the majority of historians disagree. The gospel contains one version of the Nativity, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Lord's Prayer. This book is in the public domain.
Authorship and Dating
According to Christian tradition, the Gospel of Matthew was written by Matthew, one of Jesus's disciples, however, most historians agree that it was not written Matthew, but rather an anonymous Jewish man, and they give several reasons:
- The author doesn't identify himself.
- The manuscript probably wasn't written until around 80-90 CE, long after Matthew was dead
- Large sections are not independent, but rather a re-telling of the Gospel of Mark and the Q source.
- Even the Catholic Encyclopedia writes, "It thus appears that the present titles of the Gospels are not traceable to the Evangelists themselves."
There are no known original manuscripts. The oldest fragment is Papyrus 45 dated to around 200-300 CE.
I have several translations of this book from various bibles, and have read it.
- The lineage makes Jesus a clear descendant of the line of David, in order to fit prophecy. Another lineage exists in Luke that is entirely different, the two authors couldn't even agree on the name of Joseph's father! The author writes that there are 14 generations between Jesus and the Babylonian Exile, 14 between the exile and King David, and 14 generations between David and Abraham. This is probably done for reasons of numerology, but there are actually only 13 names listed in each of the three groups! All of this is pointless anyway, because Joseph is not the actual father of Jesus (1:1-17)!
- Only Matthew and Luke talk about Jesus being born of a virgin (do Mark and John not think this prophecy-fulfilling miracle is even important enough to bother?), and they can't agree on any of the details.
- God couldn't come up with a better way to tell people about the birth of their savior than astrology (2:2)? Not just astrology, but a star that guides people on Earth and hovers over a building (2:9-10). That's not how stars work.
- Herod's only motivation to commit mass child-murder is that he was disturbed by news of the Messiah (2:3, 2:16). This seems like a thin pretense for fulfilling a prophecy.
- God really likes warning people about things in dreams (1:20, 2:12, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22)!
- The god of John the Baptist is really brutal (3:4-12).
- When Jesus is baptized, God speaks from heaven saying, "This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased (3:16-17)." This is framed as a public address, different than another gospel where it is private.
- The three temptations of Jesus are a lame contest in who can quote scripture the best. Really though, Jesus could win this by simply repeating the same mantra that every Christian uses when asked to justify their faith, "don't test God." (4:1-11) Also, Jesus is supposed to be alone with the devil, so who is documenting this?
- John the Baptist gets thrown in prison without any reason (4:12). Bad story telling skills.
- Jesus meets two fishermen and tells them to follow him and he'll make them fishers of men, and they drop their nets and go. Then, he meets two more fishermen with their dad, and they too dropped everything they were doing and followed Jesus. I really hope something was left out because if some strange dude came up to me and said, "quit your job and follow me," I would give him the finger and get back to work (4:18-20).
- The beatitudes don't make any sense. Why does being poor in spirit get you into Heaven? Those who mourn aren't always comforted, those who show mercy aren't always given mercy back. And all through the bible we're told that nobody ever gets to see God, but here, being pure of heart lets you see God. Also, why will you get a great reward in heaven just for having people tell false rumors about you (5:1-11)?
- Jesus gives a very conflicting sermon. First he says that he has not come to abolish the old laws, and says that anyone who breaks even the least of those laws will be called least in heaven (5:17-20), but then immediately goes on a tirade of changes to the old law.
- For the Psalm, "The fool has said in his heart their is no god," Jesus gives us a rejoinder, "Anyone who says, 'you fool!' will be in danger of hell fire (5:22)."
- Jesus declares it evil for men to be sexually attracted to women, and suggests they gouge out their eyes to avoid staring at them (5:27-30). Quite different from today's Christian message demanding women wear prudish clothes so they don't attract boys.
- If a man divorces his faithful wife, it is she who becomes an adulterer (5:31-32)? Despicable!
- Some of the worst advice ever: Not only should you let people beat you up and rob you, but you should give them even more of your stuff than they planned on taking in the first place (5:38-42)! Of course, I've never met a Christian who even considers following this.
- Jesus is a bigot. He implies that it's less likely for inferior people like taxpayers and pagans to love those who love them (5:43-47).
- Jesus says to do works of charity, prayer, and fasting in secret, but I don't see many Christians following this rule (6:1-18).
- Jesus explains that God will only forgive your sins if you forgive the sins of people who sin against you (6:14-15). That's kind of bullshit. Let's say you steal a stick of gun, but someone else murders your children. Are you telling me that, unless you forgive the person who murdered your children, God won't forgive your gum theft and send you to hell?
- Jesus says not to worry about food, water, and shelter because if you seek God, you will be given these things (6:25-34). Amazing! So no Christian has ever died of starvation, thirst, or from the elements?
- The, "do not judge or you will be judged," paragraph (7:1-6) is bad advice. Should we eliminate our entire legal system? If you have a choice between two people to baby sit your child, one has a violent criminal record of child abuse and the other doesn't, should we not judge them?
- The "ask and ye shall receive," paragraph (7:7-12) implies that good people get what they ask for, which implies if you don't get what you ask for, you're evil.
- After the sermon on the mount, it says that everyone was amazed because, unlike their law teachers, Jesus spoke with authority (7-28-29). This is unbelievable. First of all, crazy people also speak with authority, that doesn't mean they should be heeded. Speeches are only amazing if their content is actually amazing, and nothing of what Jesus said was amazing. Second, this implies that the Jewish Rabbis didn't speak with authority!
- A man wants to follow Jesus as a disciple, but requests that Jesus wait until the man can bury his dead father, and Jesus says, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead (8:21-22)." Bit of a dick move! And, of course, Christians don't abide by this.
- When Jesus calms the sea, his disciples ask, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and waves obey him (8:23-27)!" You'd think, what with all the miraculous cures and demon exorcising, they would have figured it out by now. Why are all of Jesus's disciples complete morons?
- The Exorcism of Legion is very different here (8:28-34) than in the other Gospels.
- The only words Jesus speaks to Matthew is, "follow me," and Matthew does (9:9). Either Jesus practices mind control or Matthew is an idiot!
- When asked why his disciples don't fast, Jesus responds, "no one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. (9:14-17)" While that is true for patching clothes, it has nothing to do with fasting.
- Jesus enters the wake of a dead girl, tells the crowd that the girl's not dead, but asleep, and they all laugh at him (9:18-26). Maybe this family has a dark sense of humor, but I can't think of anyone who, after losing a child in their family, would meet such an odd stranger entering a wake with laughter. I can understand anger, sadness, confusion, or maybe even a glimmer of hope, but laughter?
- Jesus heals two blind men, and tells them not to tell anyone of his miracles (9:27-31). Why not? He's already healed or resurrected a whole bunch of people, it's not like his anonymity can be protected at this point!
- The names of the 12 apostles are listed here, but they differ from all the other list of names in the other gospels (10:1-4).
- Jesus tells his followers to heal all manner of disease and sickness, even to raise the dead, but he forbids them from doing any of these miracles to non-Jews or Samaritans (10:5:8). Pretty racist.
- Jesus tells his followers not to take anything with them not even their sandals or walking staves (10:10). This contradicts another source were he says to take these things.
- Jesus says that the towns that don't have anyone worthy enough to house an apostle of his will be worse off than Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment (10:11-15). Sodom and Gomorrah (and two other cities) were utterly destroyed by God in a hail of flaming sulfur, so Jesus is saying that any city who doesn't meet the criteria of his traveling apostles will have it even worse! This punishment is barbaric!
- Jesus could have said that slavery is disgusting and evil, but, instead, he says that a slave isn't above his master (10:24-25). Jesus may not be condoning slavery, but he is certainly complicit with it.
- Jesus says, "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my father in heaven (10:32-33)." This is awfully petty. Imagine if a kid was embarrassed by their father in public and told his friend, "I don't know who that is." Do you think it would be acceptable for the father to disown their son because of this?
- The talk about Jesus not bringing peace but a sword and turning children against their parents (10:34-36) is violent and anti-family.
- Jesus says that anyone who loves even their most dearest family more than he isn't worthy of him (10:37)." Serious cult speak!
- "Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me (10:38." Nice use of foreshadowing, but, even if Jesus could see into the future, this would be a pointless thing to say because it wouldn't make sense to his followers who couldn't see into the future. They would just find it confusing.
- After Jesus performed many miracles, the citizens of the towns didn't repent, so he cursed them and said they are worse than Sodom and that they will be sucked into hell (11:20-24)." Not very believable. If Jesus really did perform amazing miracles, people would worship him. This makes Jesus sound more like a conman with unimpressive tricks. And seriously, murdering people because they question your magic tricks? How evil can you get?
- Jesus praises God for hiding things from wise men, but revealing them to children (11:25-26). This is an especially cruel thing to do!
- Nobody knows Jesus except God, and nobody knows God except Jesus (11:27). Kind of ruins any chance of having a "personal relationship with Christ" doesn't it?
- Over and over again the Pharisees, Sadducees, disciples, and people in general are said be amazed and awed by the teachings of Jesus, but most of the teachings they're amazed with are either nonsensical or common sense. Nothing he says is astounding.