Exalting Jesus in Matthew is a commentary on the gospel of Matthew. It is not an intimidating read. It is admittedly long--as it should be to cover all twenty-eight chapters of the gospel. But intimidating? No. I don't think so. It is actually very reader-friendly. The series introduction points out that it is written with busy pastors in view. "Our aim is to present a readable and pastoral style of commentaries."
If I have a complaint at all, it is a small one. I wish, in a way, it had included the text of the Scripture for each section as it was being discussed. Yes, it would have added length to the book overall. Yes, most readers probably have a Bible that they could choose to read alongside the commentary. But it would have been nice even if it wasn't absolutely necessary. That being said, I have nothing but good things to say about the commentary!
Each chapter has a main idea, an outline of the discussion, the discussion itself, and reflection/discussion questions. Within the discussion, the most essential ideas are in bold. The chapters are well-written and well-organized.
For best results, it would probably be best not to rush through this one in a weekend. I'd recommend this one to anyone--pastor or not--who is looking to study the book of Matthew.
There is only one conclusion to draw when we hear the invitation "Follow Me": Jesus is worthy of far more than church attendance and casual association. We have such a dangerous tendency to reduce Jesus to a poor, puny Savior who is just begging for you and me to accept Him into our lives. As if Jesus needs to be accepted by us! Jesus doesn't need our acceptance; He is infinitely worthy of all glory in the whole universe and He doesn't need us at all. We need Him. (80)
God the Father sent the Son to bear the wrath you and I deserve on a cross so that we, by His grace, might be drawn to Him. (84)
The cross is absolutely necessary for understanding the Sermon on the Mount. In fact, the cross is predominant when you come to any of the four Gospels. Whether you're reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, you can never read these accounts apart from the very end of the story. The cross is always looming; it's always lurking. The cross should always impact what we're reading, even though the crucifixion hasn't yet happened in the narrative. This is especially true for the Sermon on the Mount. The last thing we need to come away with is an imposing and crushing laundry list of things that we must do in order to be accepted by God. (92)
The central message of Christianity is that God will forgive your sins through Jesus. There is no greater news in the whole world than this. (120)
Who you say Jesus is will determine everything about how you follow Him. If you think Jesus was a good teacher, then you will follow Him like you would a good teacher. If you think Jesus merely had some good ideas, then you will listen to what He says every once in a while. If you think Jesus was a good example, then you will try to follow His example. However, if you believe that Jesus was and is the promised Messiah who came to the earth to save us from our sins, to conquer sin and death, and to reign and rule over all as Lord, then that changes everything about how you live. The church is made up of people who believe in that Jesus and know Him intimately. Do you know Jesus intimately? (216)© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible