The Five Major Discourses in Matthew

Matthew’s gospel is characterized by five major discourses or teaching sections. These are clearly marked in the text by parallel concluding phrases (Mt. 7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1). One can easily identify the teaching sections by looking at what immediately precedes the verses cited above. For example, the first of the discourses is the Sermon on the Mount (5-7), the middle discourse includes several "kingdom of heaven" parables (13:1-52), and the last discourse includes the parables of the virgins and talents as well as the judgment scene (25).

In most contemporary oration and teaching, discourses include a conclusion. (One exception is those sermons that ramble and eventually just stop rambling!) Good speeches end by answering the question, what is the point? What should one remember? So it is in the teachings of Jesus. Each of the discourses has a point which we can identify. The final words indicate to us the point of the teaching. Let us not forget to ask, What is the conclusion?

Following are some suggestions for sermon series to be developed from the Matthean discourses. The themes come from the conclusions or last sections of each of the discourses. The sermon sets illustrate the variety possible when one analyzes the text and seeks thought threads to connect the discourses.

Another possibility--let us seek first the kingdom as we pray about our hearts, commitments, kingdom understandings, and ability to live faithfully by kingdom principles and priorities.

Finally, a slightly different focus.