The Gospel of Matthew encourages and inspires its audience to practice the true, authentic, and holistic worship required for believers in Jesus to live in the kingdom of heaven. In accordance with all that Jesus taught and exemplified regarding authentic worship, believers are invited to complement their worship of God by worshiping and praying to Jesus as God's beloved Son, who represents "God with us." They are also invited to complement their ritualistic worship, especially the baptism and Eucharist instituted for them by Jesus, with an ethical worship that extends to others, especially to disciples, children, and "the least ones" with whom Jesus identifies himself, the mercy God desires for a holistic worship. Indeed, a compassionate mercy toward all is the distinctive and noteworthy hallmark that characterizes the theme of worship in the kingdom of heaven, according to the Gospel of Matthew.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"What a wonderful tour of Matthew's theology! From beginning to end, Matthew tells a story of how God is with us, with constant invitations to respond with adoration, devotion, and the ethical worship of a God-directed life. Heil's treatment of this theme is a worthy addition to his series on worship in various New Testament writings." --Mark Allan Powell, Professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary
"This study of Matthew, like much of Heil's recent work, focuses on one of the key questions that animated the earliest Christians: what is the service that God desires? With careful attention to the flow of the narrative, Heil shows that Matthew's answer is best summarized in the words of the prophet, 'I desire mercy and not [simply] sacrifice' (Hos 6:6)." --Nathan Eubank, Fellow of Keble College; Associate Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Oxford
John Paul Heil
John Paul Heil is Professor of New Testament at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He is the author most recently of The Gospel of John: Worship for Divine Life Eternal (2015).