Essay about Interpretation of Matthew

Submitted By carlyebreann
Words: 1054
Pages: 5

Interpretive Paper #3: Matthew 5:43-48 Matthew is the first book in the New Testament, written by Matthew himself in Israel. It is one of three synoptic gospels, and was written with the Gospel of Mark as a guide. He wrote this book to the followers of Jesus and with a Jewish audience in mind. It is to this Roman-ruled nation of Jews that Matthew was really trying to reach and address in his Gospel. Ironically Matthew was a Jew himself, but not only a Jew, a tax collector as well. It all ties together in the verses that were assigned for interpretive paper number three because the whole purpose of that excerpt was to love your enemies. Matthew refers to tax collectors being enemies in verse forty-six (“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” Matthew 5:46). Tax collectors were notorious cheaters, squeezing whatever they could out of their fellow citizens so they could skim a healthy profit off of the top for themselves. But, whatever Matthew once was, when he encountered Jesus, he became a devoted disciple. The book of Matthew as a whole gives us an up close and more of a personal view of Jesus as a teacher and healer. It also allows us to see how Jesus fulfilled the ancient prophecies that pointed to the promised King and Messiah. Jesus didn’t just burst into one scene. His life and his death were planned from the foundation of the world, and this gospel is to show exactly that. It is a gospel for the church, reflecting back on the life of Jesus, his death, and also his resurrection. Matthew shows that the whole of scripture is one continuous story that lends itself to leaders who are making practical decisions about the rule of life for a Christian. The main structure of the book of Matthew is mostly chronological. It is basically a biography of Jesus, so of course it only makes sense that it is put into chronological order. On another note Matthew could be considered of having a bit of geographical structure to it too. Matthew has lots of place indicators, and can profitably be read with an open atlas at hand. The most important geographical marker in Matthew is the distinction between Judea at large, and Jerusalem in particular. Jerusalem carries a deeper meaning for Matthew. For him, it means “crucifixion”. So no matter how many times Jesus may have gone to Jerusalem, Matthew tells the story of Jesus with a “Jesus goes to Jerusalem” turning point. This is a factor that Matthew actually has in common with Mark and Luke, the other two of the three synoptic gospels. One of the most obvious differences between Matthew and the other synoptic gospels is that it is dominated by long speeches by Jesus. One of his biggest speeches happens in chapters 5-7 with the Sermon on the Mount. Although the basic structure of Matthew is chronological, Matthew frequently arranges his details non-chronologically. He tells miracle stories in clusters of two or three, often based on what kind of miracles they are. Jesus heals the blind and the mute right after. He calms a storm and then cast out demons, not because these events happened in order but because they are along the same type of miracle, so to speak. This little part of structure only applies to a smaller portion of the book of Matthew but it is worth paying attention to. The overall theological theme in Matthew is fulfillment. In Jesus all the purposes of God come to fulfillment. For example verse 5:17 says that he is the fulfillment of the law. The law of the Moses and the Messiah is a distinction between the tradition of men and the demands of God. Other themes that are present in Matthew are typologies. Typologies are “Jesus is like...” Chapter two refers to Jesus as a second Moses. The wilderness experience is replicated in the life of Jesus through temptations. In chapter 12 Matthew provides Old Testament precedents for Jesus’ assumptions of authority over Sabbath. A