MATTHEW ENDS AS HE BEGINS

PMW 2018-067 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I am currently working on a new commentary. This one will be on Matthew 21–25, the immediate context for the Olivet Discourse. This is a discrete literary unit set off from the rest of the Gospel.

Structural unity

In Matthew 21:1 Jesus heads toward Jerusalem, where he will be finally and fully rejected by the Jewish nation. Just after the conclusion to this discrete unit, we read Matthew’s note that Jesus has ended his formal, public teaching and is now ready to be killed by Israel:

Matt. 26:1–3: “When Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.’ Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him.”

In my commentary I am going to be demonstrating how Matthew’s gospel is driving to its glorious conclusion in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18–20). In doing such Matthew will shift the disciples’ ministry from a local, Jewish focus (Matt. 10:5–5; 24:15) to a broad outreach to “the nations” (Matt. 28:19). This setting will show that his last, largest, and only fully-eschatological discourse at the Mount of Olives speaks of both: (1) his judgment upon Israel (by destroying her capital city and her central temple) (Matt. 24:4–35) and (2) his final judgment upon the nations by separating the saved from the lost (Matt. 24:36–24:45).

Christ of the Prophets


The Christ of the Prophets (by O. Palmer Robertson)
Roberston examines the origins of prophetism, the prophets’ call, and their proclamation and application of law and covenant.

www.KennethGentry.com


My commentary will show what Matthew is presenting Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus was not a Jewish sage interested solely in a local event in Judea (Matt. 24:16), as important an event as that was. Rather, because of his redemptive work and the completion of his earthly mission, he has been given “all authority in heaven and on earth” with a view to “the nations” (Matt. 28:18–19). Therefore, the nations too must be judged, as he sits “on His glorious throne” with “all the nations gathered before Him” for the final judgment (Matt. 25:34–46).

A major feature in my commentary will be the highlighting not only of Matthew’s theological concern, but of his literary skill in demonstrating that concern. In this blog article, I will provide a brief insight into his literary craftsmanship. This is to whet your appetite not only for my commentary, but for a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Matthew.

Literary bracketing

The ending of Matthew’s Gospel is linked to its beginning through a technique known as “bracketing” or “book-ending.” In this case, the bracketing is a large-scale macro bracketing of his entire, sizeable Gospel. Let’s consider his beautiful anticipation of the end of the Gospel that is found in it s beginning.

In Matthew 28:20 Jesus promises his disciples “I am with you always.” This picks up on an early, fundamental theme declared to Joseph when the angel informs him of the identity of the baby in his wife-to-be. In Matthew 1:23 the angel says: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.’” So at both the beginning of Christ’s earthly life and at its end, we learn of the theological fact that God is with us.

Getting the Message


Getting the Message
(by Daniel Doriani)
Presents solid principles and clear examples of biblical interpretation.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


In Matthew 28:19 the disciples are directed to go to “all the nations” to proclaim the gospel. This picks up on early hints in the book that the nations will be involved in God’s dealings with man. We see this early anticipation in several ways.

In Matthew 1:1 Jesus’ genealogy opens with a statement that he is “the son of Abraham.” The Abrahamic Covenant has as its remarkable significance, the inclusion of Gentiles in God’s blessings. For in the pre-covenantal promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3) we hear God declare: “I will bless those who bless you, / And the one who curses you I will curse. / And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). This Abrahamic hope continues throughout the Genesis record (Gen. 22:18; 26:4; 27:29; 28:14).

Not only so, but this truth is underscored in Matthew’s selectivity in presenting Jesus’ genealogy. For in the genealogy we have three Gentile women included (Matt. 1:3, 5, 6). Not only so, but in Matthew 2 we have Gentile magi from the east (Matt. 2:1) coming to worship Christ (Matt. 2:2), while all Jerusalem fears (Matt. 2:3).

Interestingly, we even discover verbal echoes of Matthew 2 in Matthew 28. In Matthew 2:11 when the magi “saw” the child, they bowed down to “worship” him” (Matt. 2:2, 8). This is reflected in Matthew 28:17 where the disciples “saw” Jesus and “worshiped” him.

In addition, both the story of his birth and that of his resurrection feature angels in remarkable ways. Angels are involved at his birth (Matt. 1:20, 24) and in his early childhood (Matt. 2:13, 19), as well as at his resurrection (Matt. 28:5).

Thus, Matthew insures that his readers will get the message literally coming and going, as they open and close his Gospel. Matthew’s Gospel is a sophisticated literary work that is pressing home important theological truths.


JESUS, MATTHEW, AND OLIVET
I am currently researching a commentary on Matthew 21–25, the literary context of the Olivet Discourse from Matthew’s perspective. My research will demonstrate that Matthew’s presentation demands that the Olivet Discourse refer to AD 70 (Matt. 24:3–35) as an event that anticipates the Final Judgment at the Second Advent (Matt. 24:36–25:46). This will explode the myth that Jesus was a Jewish sage focusing only on Israel. The commentary will be about 250 pages in length.

If you would like to support me in my research, I invite you to consider giving a tax-deductible contribution to my research and writing ministry: GoodBirth Ministries. Your help is much appreciated!


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