Good questions! Regarding your first question, I would say that “technically” Jesus wrote all 66 books of the whole Bible. 2nd Timothy 3:16 declares, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (NKJV). This verse states emphatically that the Bible was “inspired by God” and Scripture informs us that “Jesus is God” in John 1:1 & 14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God….and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Granted, God used men to actually write the scriptures, but they were inspired by God to do so. We see this in 2nd Peter 1:21, “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” So, though Jesus was not named as the Author of any books in the Bible, He was (along with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit) indeed the One who told men exactly what to write.

The first book of the New Testament (the gospel of Matthew) has been assigned various dates. C. I. Scofield, in his Scofield Reference Bible, suggested it was written in A. D. 37. Others have given a date as late as A. D. 60. We have no way of being certain, but based on these suggestions it was written no later than 60 years after Jesus’ death but possibly as early as 8 years after His death. No matter when it was written, you pose a valid question, for why wasn’t it written immediately after Jesus went back to heaven?

Before attempting an answer, we need to be clear that GOD’S TIMING IS PERFECT! He never makes mistakes and thus whenever God inspired Matthew to write the first book of the New Testament was “the right time.” Most would agree that Matthew had one grand theme in this book that bears his name, and that was to show that Jesus was truly Israel’s Messiah. This is why he starts out by giving us “the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David” (Matthew 1:1). In stating this he is proving that Jesus Christ came from the tribe of Judah, the ROYAL LINE. Throughout the book Matthew cites scriptures from the Old Testament to prove that Jesus Christ was the long-awaited Messiah that He had promised to King David in 2nd Samuel 7:12-16. Jesus is called the “Son of David” by many in this gospel by those who truly believed He was Israel’s rightful King. Yet we also know that the nation, as a whole, rejected Him and had Him crucified.

After His death, resurrection and ascension back to heaven there was a witness to Him being the Messiah by the apostles. I would encourage you to read the apostle Peter’s first “sermon” in Acts 2:14-36 where he testifies to Israel that Jesus is “the Christ” (Christ was another name for Messiah). He ends his message with these words, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” In the next chapter Peter preached another sermon (see verses 12-26) where he again witnesses to the truth that Jesus is the Christ. The “oral testimony” by the apostles went on for some years but at some point God decided to have a “written testimony” and thus He inspired Matthew to write the gospel that declares the truth emphatically that Jesus is the Messiah. Of course, one day Matthew and all of the other inspired writers would die, but their “written testimony” would live on forever!

This “written testimony” would serve to encourage the Jewish believers in Christ who were suffering great persecution from their fellow-Jews who had not believed in Jesus Christ. Besides this, they would have the assurance (in writing) that their Messiah would be with them as they spread the truth and that one day He will return to establish His kingdom here on earth (Matthew 13:1-43; 24:29-31; 25:31-46). (320.3) (DO)