First in the order of the Gospels, and in the hearts of many Christians, is the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew is important for a number of reasons:
First, it is the bridge Gospel. It is the Gospel, after 400 years of silence, which carries us from the Old Testament to the New Testament. It is the bridge that carries us from the promise of the Messiah to the fulfillment of Messiah in Jesus Christ. The hope of Israel had arrived in the person of Jesus, and Matthew’s aim is to show that Jesus is the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament Scriptures. Those Scriptures have been fulfilled.
Second, it records the life of Jesus Christ and His teachings on the Kingdom. It is the teaching Gospel. It is built around five discourses given by the Lord (Matt. 5-7; 10; 13; 18; 24-25). It is impossible to understand the ministry and writings of Paul without knowing the life and ministry of Christ. In fact, there would be no apostle Paul or the Church, the body of Christ, without the historical Christ and the events of His ministry on earth. It is foundational that we understand why He came, was rejected, and why the earthly Kingdom did not come at that period in history, if we are to understand our position and relationship in Christ today.
Third, it is important dispensationally. It reveals that Israel’s hope of the Messiah has arrived in the person of Jesus Christ, and that the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. It clearly teaches that the Kingdom of Heaven was the earthly kingdom which was promised and predicted in the Old Testament. Christ came to fulfill the Law, and He gave the laws of the earthly kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount. It relates the Gospel of the Kingdom and Israel’s need for repentance to enter the Kingdom. Likewise, Matthew clearly reveals that the nation was not ready to receive the King or His Kingdom.
Fourth, Matthew reveals important inter-dispensational principles about the Kingdom of God. This does not deny the coming earthly kingdom, but explains the principles of God’s kingdom. When Christ taught of the coming earthly kingdom, he taught that its foundation was Righteousness (Matt. 5:6, 20); a foundation in all God’s dealing with man, even today. We need to see the dispensational distinctions of the Gospel, but we also need to see the inter-dispensational or continuing principles that are common to all dispensations and the universal Kingdom of God. However, it must be pointed out that these inter-dispensational principles are given within the context of the coming Messianic earthly Kingdom.