The Distinguishing Characteristics of Matthew’s Gospel :Richard A. Burridge, Imitating Jesus: An Inclusive Approach to New Testament Ethics
Burridge outlines the methodologies of genre criticism. An ample treatment of this by means of literary theory reveals that no genre can be totally unique, every type of literature is intimately connected and amalgamated with previous genre types, indeed the very understanding of such works by readers and auditors is predicated on the fact that they can themselves trace the genre and respond to material they encounter appropriately. Wittgenstein's concept of ‘family resemblance’ is utilized here to illustrate the connections between texts sharing a common ‘generic’ form and subject. Understanding and interpretation depend on genre recognition, otherwise communication is meaningless – a type of contract must be issued between author and reader/auditor in order for a text to be understood.
Jesus clearly said that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (28:18). Likewise, the term “kingdom of heaven” transcends in the Gospel of Matthew by appearing at least 33 times. Interestingly, this phrase is found only in Matthew. In this sense, I believe that Matthew introduces the Christ and His Kingdom as the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. His approach to the way of salvation is a call to repentance for entry into the Kingdom, to a commitment of a person to the King as His follower. Jesus stated “many will come from the east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven”. It becomes clear that Jesus not only moves the meaning of the Kingdom beyond the Jewish community, but He also moves the mission of the Kingdom beyond family ties. For instance, when Jesus emphasizes on “whoever does the will of My Father” lays the meaning of Kingdom membership open to other people than the Jewish community. Jesus took His disciples to Caesarea Philippi to ask the question, “Who do men say that I am” (16:13). In this context He stated that He would build His church in the world. Another idea is if we are to be participants in the kingdom of heaven, then we are to live by the rule of the King. Matthew uses language that relates the rule of Christ to people’s lives by mentioning the lineage of the King (1:1-17). The genealogy of Jesus is presented in three sections with fourteen periods for each. The summary marks off fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the captivity, and fourteen from the captivity to the coming of Christ (1:17). Through this lineage God fulfills Hs promise to Abraham that in his seed, all the earth would be blessed and that the Messiah would come through the seed of Abraham. In addition, Matthew is showing Jesus as born of Mary and not begotten by Joseph (1:16).
However, Jesus does not say anything about the last day. Believers should read these stories together. This will help them understand the message intended by the Gospel writer (Duvall and Hays 49). The smaller stories help the reader understand why God’s promises are inevitable. The stories deliver the intended message to the targeted Christians. The three stories narrated by Christ have several things in common. To begin with, the stories portray the powers possessed by the narrator. This explains why Jesus gives his prophesies about the end of the world. As well, the stories encourage believers to be prepared because Christ has always kept his promises. The story of the master’s servant explains why the end of the world is unpredictable. The parable of the talents shows how God will come to reward every person for his or her work on earth (Duvall and Hays 58). Jesus uses these stories to pass across his message. In conclusion, Christians should explore these stories carefully and attentively. This is necessary because they present the best information to everyone ready to see God’s kingdom.
Given these points, in the 21st century, Jesus will focus more on the wisdom of God. People need wisdom to deal with the various problems that come their way. Jesus will focus on consumerism, corporate greed and the fear of lack. He will teach people that the most important thing is not the ability to buy expensive things but the ability to experience righteousness, peace, and joy.
Duvall, Scott, and J. Hays. Journey into God’s World: Your Guide to Understanding and Applying the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008. Print.