The Gospel of Matthew: Worship in the Kingdom of Heaven

By John Paul Heil

An exploration of the centrality of worship in the theology of Matthew’s Gospel, and how ritual worship of God is complemented by ethical worship in life.

ISBN: 9780227176856


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 worshipping and praying to Jesus, who, as God’s beloved Son, represents ‘God with us’. They are also invited to complement their ritual 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.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 206

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

John Paul Heil is Professor of New Testament at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He is the author of The Gospel of John: Worship for Divine Life Eternal (2016), 1-3 John: Worship by Loving God and One Another to Live Eternally (2015), and The Letters of Paul as Rituals of Worship (2012).



1. Introduction
2. Worshiping the Infant King (Matthew 1-2)
3. Foundation for Worship in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 3-4)
4. Teaching about Worship in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5-7)
5. Inviting People to Worship in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 8-10)
6. Failures to Repent and Parables for Worship in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 11-13)
7. Worshiping in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 14-18)
8. Worship and the Coming Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 19-25)
9. Worshiping the Risen King (Matthew 26-28)
10. Conclusion

Scripture Index
Author Index


Endorsements and Reviews

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

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