Why Should Women Read Matthew?
The Gospel of Matthew introduces women to the God of history who spotlights rather than sidesteps the importance of women in His orchestration of the history of Israel as the people from whom the Messiah-King would be given (1:1,3,5-6,17-23). This account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah is the story of “God with us” (1:23), of the divine King who came into the world through a young virgin’s womb (1:18-25) and entrusted women with the first news report of His resurrection (28:1-10). Matthew especially underscores the way the story of Jesus fulfills Scripture (e.g., 1:22-23; 2:5-6,15,17-18,23; esp. 5:17), proving that all God’s promises are true and therefore making especially precious the resurrected Lord’s promise to those who follow Him: “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (28:20).
The heart of John’s message was Repent! (Gk metanoeite, “have a change of heart, change one’s ways,” 3:1). The idea of repentance links sorrow for personal actions with making a complete turnaround and embracing new actions (v. 8). The biblical call to repentance involves being sorry for your actions but goes far beyond feeling guilt or regret to turning your back on sin and heading in the opposite direction. To repent is the necessary prerequisite for receiving forgiveness and salvation. John urged people to repent because of the imminence of the kingdom of heaven. His ministry was foretold in Is 40:3, which portrays his mission as that of a herald running ahead of a king and his entourage as they approached. Like a herald, who would not only announce the king’s arrival but would also call for people to clear the pathway of any obstacles, John announced the coming of the Messiah-King and called for people to prepare their hearts to receive Him. To bow before this righteous King and accept His lordship, you must be willing to turn away from being your own boss and turn toward Him, ready to do whatever He says.