Matthew’s Gospel as You’ve By no means Learn It Earlier than

Matthew’s Gospel as You’ve By no means Learn It Earlier than

Matthew’s Gospel as You’ve By no means Learn It Earlier than

I don’t assume I fairly understood the great thing about the Gospels, and notably Matthew, till I understood that that means is contained not solely within the content material of the story, but in addition within the type. It wasn’t merely Matthew’s phrases, however the placement of these phrases—the approach he tells his tales—that reveals his convictions about Jesus.

Matthew makes use of the type of his tales to depict the acquainted—however with a twist. His Gospel, in spite of everything, furthers the story of Israel via the story of Jesus. Put most easily, one can learn Matthew’s Gospel ably by asking three questions of the textual content:

  • How does this echo Israel’s story?
  • How does Jesus fulfill Israel’s story?
  • How does it transfer the story of Israel ahead?

The Gospel of Matthew is greatest understood with one eye wanting again to the previous story, and the opposite attuned to shifts within the new story.

Joseph Story in Matthew’s Gospel

Take, for instance, the story of Jesus’s delivery. At one degree, the story of Matthew 1:18–2:23 is straightforward. Jesus’s delivery is described from Joseph’s viewpoint. He learns that Mary is pregnant, however then it’s revealed to him in a dream that this baby from the Holy Spirit will save his folks from their sins (Matt. 1:18–25). In chapter two, nevertheless, Jesus’s household is on the run from King Herod. They flee to Egypt, come up via Ramah, after which go to Nazareth as a result of hazard (Matt. 2).

But Matthew is doing greater than merely recounting the info, ma’am. There was one other Joseph who had desires, who was righteous, who took his household into Egypt to save lots of them, after which whose household left Egypt. Mary’s husband is the brand new Joseph whose actions echo, fulfill, and transfer Israel’s story ahead. Whereas Joseph in Genesis briefly saved his folks from famine by bringing them into Egypt, now the obedience of Joseph permits Jesus to outlive and thereby save the nation from their final enemy––their sins (Matt. 1:21).

The Gospel of Matthew is greatest understood with one eye wanting again to the previous story, and the opposite attuned to shifts within the new story.

Matthew’s account of the birth-and-flight narrative is sensible at a primary degree. However in case you have a look at Israel’s story you’ll be able to see far more. By evaluating it to Joseph the dreamer, Matthew has introduced that previous story to achievement.

And there’s extra. Matthew portrays Joseph, the husband of Mary, as the brand new Joseph—however he additionally portrays Jesus as the brand new Joseph. Each are chosen by their father, each are rejected by their brothers, each bear struggling and exile, each are exalted in a overseas court docket, each flip and forgive their brothers who betray them, and each save their folks. This Jesus is their new hope, their new rescue, and their new ruler to whom they need to bow. As soon as the echoes are heard, it appears that evidently extra seem, and the depth and the great thing about the story is revealed.

Jesus because the New Joseph
Chosen by his fatherGen. 37:3Matt. 3:17
Rejected by his brothersGen. 37:4Matt. 20:18
Undergoes struggling and exileGen. 37:17–20Matt. 2; 27:27–31
Exalted in a overseas court docketGen. 41:39–41Matt. 27:27–31
Forgives his brothersGen. 50:17Matt. 26:28
Saves his folksGen. 45:7Matt. 1:21; 27:41–42


Moses’s Story in Matthew’s Gospel

One other instance is the story of Jesus’s transfiguration in Matthew 17:1–8. Once more, the story is kind of easy at one degree. Jesus goes up on a mountain and is transfigured beside Moses and Elijah. And but whereas all three Synoptic Gospels embrace the mount of Jesus’s transfiguration, Matthew specifically attracts readers’ consideration to Moses and Sinai. The story he tells echoes Israel’s story, completes it, and strikes it ahead.

In all of the Synoptics, Jesus—like Moses—goes up on a excessive mountain (Ex. 24:12) after six days (Ex. 24:16), three people are given particular privilege (Ex. 24:1), a cloud descends (Ex. 24:15–18), and a voice calls out from the cloud (Ex. 24:16). Not like the opposite Synoptics, nevertheless, Matthew contains three particulars that present additional fodder for seeing the Moses story as central. First, Matthew lists Moses first within the naming of Moses and Elijah (cf. Mark 9:4; Matt 17:3). Second, he contains an allusion to the approaching of a prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:15). The assertion about Jesus on the mountain is equivalent to the one at his baptism—“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”—apart from the addition of this command: “Listen to him.” Why? As a result of Moses commanded the those that when the prophet like him comes, “to him you shall listen” (Deut. 18:15). Third, Matthew is the one creator to reference Jesus’s shining face (Matt. 17:2).

Jesus strikes the story ahead, as a result of in contrast to Moses, Jesus’s face now all the time shines, and he doesn’t need to cowl his face. Jesus reveals the need of God in his shining face.

The parallels are clear, however to what finish? Matthew portrays Jesus not solely as the brand new prophet and the brand new mediator, however because the one who really exhibits what it’s wish to comply with the legislation and thereby be transfigured in God’s presence. When Moses obtained the legislation, and was himself transfigured, this revealed the legislation’s purpose all alongside: transformation earlier than God. The aim of the Exodus was to position Israel of their land beneath the rule of Yahweh, beholding his face and thereby changing into like him.

When Jesus is transfigured earlier than the three disciples, he completes the story of Moses. He turns into the brand new mediator who goes up on the brand new mountain and displays God’s presence. This fulfills the hope of the folks dwelling beneath the rule of Yahweh and changing into like him. Jesus strikes the story ahead, as a result of in contrast to Moses, Jesus’s face now all the time shines, and he doesn’t need to cowl his face. Jesus reveals the need of God in his shining face.

Matthew’s Description of the TransfigurationMount Sinai in Exodus 24 and 34
On a excessive mountain (Matt. 17:1)On a excessive mountain (Ex. 24:12, 15–18; 34:2–3)
After six days (Matt. 17:1)the cloud lined the mountain for six days (Ex. 24:16)
Three people are given particular privileges: Peter, James, John (Matt. 17:1)Three people are given particular privileges: Aaron, Nadab, Abihu (Ex. 24:1)
A cloud descends and covers the mountain (Matt. 17:5)a cloud descends and covers the mountain (Ex. 24:15–18; 34:5)
His face shone just like the solar (Matt. 17:2)The pores and skin of Moses’s face shone (Ex. 34:29)
The voice speaks from the cloud (Matt. 17:5)Yahweh calls out to Moses from the clouds in (Ex. 24:16)
They disciples are terrified (Matt. 17:6)Israel is afraid once they see Moses’s face (Ex. 34:30)
The disciples are comforted by Jesus’s voice (Matt. 17:7)The congregation is comforted by Moses’s voice (Ex. 34:31)


Righteous Blood in Matthew’s Gospel

It isn’t solely figures comparable to Moses and Joseph who present fodder for deeper reflection, although. Symbols that echo, fulfill, and advance Israel’s story additionally fill out Matthew’s work. For instance, Matthew makes use of the concept of blood—righteous blood—to attach the Outdated Testomony to the New. Matthew desires his readers to tie the “blood narrative” from the start of the Hebrew Outdated Testomony to the tip and see it fulfilled within the blood of Jesus. In Matthew 23:34–35 he references the blood of Abel (the primary homicide within the Hebrew canon) to Zechariah (the final homicide within the Hebrew canon). As Jesus explains, messengers have been despatched to Israel, however they’ve been rejected and so there might be a divine reckoning:

Subsequently I ship you prophets and smart males and scribes, a few of whom you’ll kill and crucify, and a few you’ll flog in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, in order that on it’s possible you’ll come all of the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. (Matt. 23:34–35)

Jesus fulfills this righteous-blood theme from the Outdated Testomony. Blood is in every single place in Matthew 26–28. Think about six examples:

  1. Jesus speaks of “the blood of the covenant” and the “remission of sins” within the Final Supper (Matt. 26:28; cf. Jer. 31:27–40).
  2. Judas claims he has sinned by betraying “innocent blood,” which mirrors the assertion concerning the blood of Abel and Zechariah (Matt. 27:4).
  3. The chief clergymen name Judas’s reward “blood money,” after which Judas’s area known as the “field of blood” (Matt. 27:6, 8).
  4. Pilate washes his hand and declares himself “innocent of the blood of this man” (Matt. 27:24).
  5. The folks name for his “blood to be on us and upon our children” (Matt. in 27:25).
  6. Pilate’s spouse urges him to don’t have anything to do with Jesus, “that righteous man” (Matt. 27:19). On this final instance, Jesus is described—precisely like Abel and Zechariah—as a righteous sufferer.

Take a look at the tales of Matthew of their bigger context. You is perhaps stunned at what you start to see.

These references to blood trigger readers to return to Matthew 23:35 and thus learn the “blood narrative” as echoing, fulfilling, and advancing the story of Israel. Jesus is the brand new rejected shepherd, whose harmless blood was shed. He’s additionally the brand new Israel, who suffers the destruction of his temple, exile, and loss of life by the hands of overseas enemies. However since his blood was wholly harmless, it brings forth the brand new exodus and the brand new temple.

In Israel’s historical past there have been tales each of “innocent blood” shed—and of Israel’s blood shed by their enemies due to their sins. Jesus’s blood fulfills each narratives. Whereas the story of Jesus’s loss of life is sensible at a floor degree, wanting on the bigger story of those symbols reveals a surprising depth to Matthew’s narrative.

And so on., And so on., And so on.

I don’t have sufficient house to clarify how, for Matthew, Jesus is the brand new Abraham (who has many kids from the East and West), the brand new David (who’s the true king), the brand new Solomon (who delivers knowledge in his instructing), and the brand new Jeremiah (who laments the destiny of Jerusalem). Judas is the typological betrayer of the nation (the brand new Jezebel, Ahithophel, and Absalom). The disciples are the brand new 12 tribes of Israel, and the Jewish leaders are the brand new rulers from Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. The mountains in Matthew are the brand new Sinais. The deserts are the brand new wilderness of Israel, and the rivers are the brand new crossings into and with the folks of God.

The easiest way for Matthew to disciple and train future generations––to satisfy the Nice Fee––is thru these tales of Jesus that echo, full, and advance the narrative of Israel. Matthew’s impressed knowledge is embedded in his literary type.

So have a look at the tales of Matthew of their bigger context. You is perhaps stunned at what you start to see.

Matthew’s Gospel as You’ve By no means Learn It Earlier than

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