While Bosch and Brown might disagree on the exact make-up of Matthew’s community, they both agree that Luke was writing to a different constituency. Whereas Matthew was primarily addressing a Jewish constituency, Luke was probably writing to a second generation Gentile church (Brown 1993:235) which needed to be assured of both its Jewish roots and the continuing presence of Jesus through the Spirit in mission (Bosch 1991:86). The different audiences become clearer when common subjects within the two gospels are compared and contrasted in how both gospels begin and end.
Matthew and Luke both begin their gospels with the story of the birth of Jesus, his growing up and genealogy. Both are unique to these gospels and do not appear in Mark and John.4 In commenting on the opening page of the New Testament Brown states that for most people the genealogy is:
'an arid page in the Holy Book.' As Hemplemann points out, aesthetically the genealogy strikes people as monotonous and pointless; morally it troubles preachers by listing ancestors for Jesus who were dishonest, brutal or immoral; and philosophically, as an opening page of the NT, it does not offer much by way of helpful or salvific message" (1993:596).
Despite the initial reaction most readers have to the opening phrases of the New Testament, a deeper look into the construction and purpose of the genealogy is richly repaid. Matthew begins his gospel and the New Testament with the words: “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham” (1:1). Bauer has argued that the opening verse of the book of Matthew is a superscription to the first major division of the book (1:1-4:16) and it “introduces the family registry” (1996:139) which follows.
As such, the “biblos geneseos" of Matt. 1:1 can be translated either as “the book of origin” or "the book of genealogy.” Hence the book of Genesis is alluded to by the opening
4This places these accounts somewhat outside of the usual source criticism of the synoptics which makes most of the gospel writings dependent upon Mark and “Q.” It also helps to highlight the themes of these two books directly without the influence of a Markan perspective.
A much more thorough attempt to distance both Matthew and Luke from dependence upon Mark and "Q" is presented in the book Beyond the Q Impasse—Luke's Use of Matthew by a team of scholars. In this very detailed analysis, convincing proof is set forth that "Luke was thoroughly conversant with canonical Matthew and made it the basis of his gospel" (1996:319). Perhaps Matthew's position as the first synoptic gospel will not only be recognized by its place in the New Testament canon but in the minds of modern critical scholars as well.