Our Thursday posts focus on material from the New Testament. As part of our fourfold priority of history, integrity, truth, and Scripture we consider it important to read and review significant scholarly work with both the Old and New Testaments. The idea of leadership in the early Church is front and center in Matthew 9:35-11:1. What is the ideal of leadership?
Scaer, David P. Discourses in Matthew: Jesus Teaches the Church. St. Louis: Concordia, 2004. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 9, “The Second Discourse: Authority in the Early Church 9:35-11:1)” Loc. 5412-5848.
Scaer sees this second discourse of Jesus in Matthew 9:35-11:1 as Jesus’ work of setting apart his church leaders, while the first discourse identifies all Jesus’ followers (Scaer 2004, Loc. 5412). While the Sermon on the Mount establishes Jesus as God’s Lawgiver, this second discourse establishes the apostles as the ongoing leaders (Scaer 2004, Loc. 5438). The Second Discourse points from the time when Jesus was the teacher to a time when the apostles would be teachers (Scaer 2004, Loc. 5451).
Scaer emphasizes the idea of completion found in Matthew 11:1. Jesus finishes appointing, not teaching, his disciples (διατάσσω) (Scaer 2004, Loc. 5504). This indicates a force of apostles who will engage in battle against sin rather like an army. While the apostles are only sent to Israel, the Gospel clearly reaches farther (Scaer 2004, Loc. 5517). The work is done through miracles and preaching (Scaer 2004, Loc. 530).
The identity of the apostles draws Scaer’s comment. The twelve seem to be treated elsewhere, and even sometimes limited to only eleven after Judas’ death. The twelve are referred to separately from “the apostles” which could include others (Scaer 2004, Loc. 5582). This could well indicate a special role of the initial twelve.
The special missionary instruction given in Matthew 10:5-15 is sometimes called the Missionary Discourse (Scaer 2004, Loc. 5635). These instructions seem to direct the apostles to go to a town to establish a church. The simplicity of preparation indicates God’s care for his servants (Scaer 2004, Loc. 5648). The apostles will be subject to persecution as Jesus ws (Scaer 2004, Loc. 5674).
As the narrative moves to a close the apostles are told what to expect - persecution and death, along with God’s protection (Scaer 2004, Loc. 5700). The life of the Christian is carried on in the context of the gathered Christians. It is less dependent on relatives than on Jesus’ care for all (Scaer 2004, Loc. 5740).
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