More than any other Gospel writer, Matthew emphasizes the earth-shattering implications of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and brings us back to the central motif of the kingdoms of heaven and earth. The darkening of the heavens, the shaking of the earth, and the resurrection of the dead (Matt. 27:45-54) would have been clear signs to the Jews that the present age was ending and the age to come had begun. Yet life and work seem to go on as they always had; it was business as usual. Did anything really change at that cross on Golgotha’s hill?
The Gospel according to Matthew answers with a resounding yes. Jesus’ crucifixion was the deathblow for a world system founded on pretensions of human power and wisdom. His resurrection marks the definitive intrusion of God’s ways into the world. The reign of God’s kingdom has not yet taken in the entire earth, but Christ governs all those who will follow him.