Course on the Gospel of Matthew by Francis Montagu                Session 4: Tuesday, 18th February, 2014
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MATTHEW'S PASSION BACKGROUND The earliest connected sequence of oral tradition about Jesus'. The final confrontation with the Jewish authorities over whether or not Jesus is the Messiah Mt follows Mark's narrative 'most of the time. The Mt additions are in bold type in the Analysis. They are important because they express his own interests / theological viewpoint. His intention is to interpret history not purely to report it Historical 'conundrums' include -Would a trial have been held at night ? Did the Jewish courts have power to pass a death sentence? What constituted blasphemy ? Was it an established custom to release a prisoner at Passover? There is probably insufficient external information to prove.or disprove such questions conclusively. Other points will arise in the analysis ANALYSIS CHAPTER 26 1-5 Jesus predicts his death and links it to the Passover. Jesus shows that he has foreknowledge and is in control of events This short passage also introduces the other key character-the 'collective character 'of the Chief priests and elders 6-13 Jesus anointed at Bethany by an unidentified woman- anointed for his burial 14-16 Judas offers to betray Jesus .No motive is given. 30 silver coins is a modest amount- the price of a slave 17-30 The Last Supper. - Passover meal - traditionally 4 cups - not sure which cup Jesus refers to or of exact Passover traditions/ customs in Jesus' day as opposed to later on The disciples call Jesus 'Lord', Judas calls him 'Rabbi'.. Jesus' words ' You have said so ' are repeated by Jesus in ch 26 and 27 in reply to the questions of Caiaphas and Pilate 24 'As it is written' - that these events are the fulfilment of prophecy The new covenant for the forgiveness of sins - words added by Mt Looks back to Passover, Moses' covenant on Mt Sinai and forward to the new exodus- the delivery from sin , not just from Egypt Jesus offers not his blood but rather his obedience The eucharist reminds us both of God's presence and of his absence To take and eat is to share in Jesus' death Isaiah 53- the suffering servant who offers himself willingly and inaugurates a new covenant 31-35 Jesus predicts Peter's betrayal v32- go ahead of you into Galilee -again foreknowledge 36-46 Jesus in Gethsemane -we see Jesus ' humanity and echoes of the Lord's prayer- thy will be done, do not bring us to the time of trial 47-56 Jesus arrested -his last teaching - all who take the sword will die by the sword echoing the Sermon on the Mount..Jesus' foreknowledge, his faithfulness to his own teaching and the fulfilment of prophecy are stressed 57-68 Jesus before the Sanhedrin when he makes' the good confession ( 2 Timothy) Daniel ch 7 v13-14- the Son of man coming in power .The High priest 'ironically' states that Jesus is the Christ 69-75 Peter's denial and cursing CHAPTER 27 I-10 Judas hangs himself. Remorse or repentance ? It may be out of time sequence unless it happened almost immediately. Strong OT references/ echoes - Ahitophel King David's counsellor/ traitor hangs himself;,the potters field ( Jeremiah) II-26 Jesus before Pilate True authority/ false authority
Pilate's wife's dream - a gentile who sees truth which the Jewish people do not (magi) Pilate washes his hands- but is in fact responsible His blood be on us and our children - a statement of legal responsibility for a particular decision not a curse on future generations. But part of Mt's emphasis on the church becoming the new people of God under the new covenant, and 'replacing' Israel 27-31 The soldiers mock Jesus repeating the scene in Ch 26 v 67 32-44 Crucifixion . Elements of the trial narrative are repeated- the mocking and the accusations - but these ironically disclose the truth .The theme of saved/ salvation and fulfilment of scripture- Ps 69 .Suffering precedes vindication 45-50 The death of Jesus Eloi Eloi.........from Psalm 22. Was he abandoned by God at that moment ? Mt retains the Aramaic because it explains the following verse 'He is calling for Elijah ' 51-55 The rending of the veil, earthquake and resurrection of the saints- Mt is expressing his conviction that the resurrection is an 'end times event' and that a new age has begun. At the beginning of Ch 28 there is another earthquake 54 Declaration of faith by the centurion and the others- again the faith of Gentiles is shown 55-61 Jesus' burial - Isaiah 53 - a rich man's grave The women at the cross-witnesses to Jesus' death burial and resurrection. 3 identified. Who is Mary the mother of James and Joses?. Jesus' mother? 62-66 The tomb guarded - an apologetic inclusion (as is 28 11-15) CHAPTER 28 1-4 A description of the resurrection - again in eschatological end times language. The empty tomb by itself is a sign of resurrection, not proof of it .It is a 'faith story' for believers rather than for unbelievers 5-7 The angel speaks to the women as in Mark. In Mark they tell no one because they are afraid but in Mt they return to the disciples 'You will see him in Galilee. 8-10 Jesus meets them, they clasp his feet ( Mary in the garden ?) 11-15 The guards are bribed - see above 16-20 The great commission. This combines reverence, doubt and commissioning as do the other resurrection appearances - Luke- you will be my witnesses - they disbelieved for joy - John-Receive the Holy Spirit - doubting Thomas The importance of this passage for a proper understanding of Mt's gospel can hardly be exaggerated' (Douglas Hare ) Very many themes come together in this magnificent summary The mountain' (Sermon on the Mount) Ch 4 -Temptation ' a very high mountain' Ch 17 Transfiguration -a high mountain - disclosure of who Jesus is Present Lordship- Jesus was handed over to authority, now has authority Fulfilment of the Daniel prophecy of the coming of the Son of Man All nations- end of exclusive focus on Israel Teach (preach implicit in that) ch 5 -the Sermon on the Mount Baptism - ch 3 - Father Son and Holy Spirit I am with you all the days - day by day - Emmanuel Ch 1 Moses exhorting Israel to possess the land, to obey the commandments and the assurance that God will be with them- an organic unity between the old and the new The meaning of the resurrection - exaltation, vindication and the beginning of a new age, the act by which Jesus can be present with them 'You' -the reader is invited to enter the story QUESTIONS The last supper- what was Jesus teaching the disciples? It has been described as a 'festival of freedom' The crucifixion  - Why does Matthew think it was necessary? Who does he think is responsible for Jesus' death? What does he think it achieved? What is the significance of 'My God my God why have you forsaken me? The resurrection - What difference does the resurrection make- why does it matter? The great commission - explore !