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. Dr. David Scaer wrote a very intriguing book based on an overall narrative analysis of Matthew’s Gospel. We’ll be seeing how he classifies the different discourses in the work. This week we consider Matthew’s view of death and resurrection.
Scaer, David P. Discourses in Matthew: Jesus Teaches the Church. St. Louis: Concordia, 2004. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 13, “Death and Resurrection as Apocalyptic Conclusion to the Catechesis” Loc. 8117-8401.
After the last discourse in Matthew, the catechumen is ready to see Jesus in 26:2-28:20 as the priest and sacrifice. Scaer draws a parallel between the catechesis and the regular service of a church. “The first part is devoted to teaching and the final part to eucharistic commemoration” (Scaer 2004, Loc. 8117). As the Gospel ends Jesus’ character is revealed in full. The teaching from earlier portions of the book is completed in Jesus’ institution of communion and his atoning death (Scaer 2004, Loc. 8126). The writing is narrative, not discourse. The catechumens are invited to join with Jesus in faithful death and resurrection, that which makes no sense to the world as a whole (Scaer 2004, Loc. 8151). “Absence of the ascension in Matthew is crucial to understanding how the evangelist focused God’s judgment in Jesus’ death and resurrection” (Scaer 2004, Loc. 8200). In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says he is with his disciples. The work is complete in the resurrection.
Scaer asserts that Matthew does not have the same kind of apocalyptic exaltation motifs of the resurrected Jesus as do Luke or John (Scaer 2004, Loc. 8226). The centerpiece of this entire narrative is the death of Jesus in Matthew 27:45-49 (Scaer 2004, Loc. 8292). Here, the darkness and abandonment make it clear that God has judged sin. Not only is Jesus forsaken by God, but even the crowds fail to recognize Jesus as the Son of God (Scaer 2004, Loc. 8300). Salvation bypasses those who have not recognized Jesus, the Messiah. As a final step in the sacrifice, Scaer sees the aftermath of Jesus’ dying cry as the release of the Holy Spirit into the world (Scaer 2004, Loc. 8316). In baptism and the ongoing baptismal life the believers will live by the Spirit. Thus ends the Gospel of Matthew.
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