Introduction to the Gospel According to Matthew-3

The content of the gospel of Mathew may be easily divided in five discourses framed by the infancy narratives in the beginning, and the passion narrative at the end. The first element of the gospel I would like to discuss is the “Jewishness” of the text. The Jewish encyclopedia states: “the gospel of Matthew stands nearest to Jewish life and the Jewish mode of thinking”. They provide as reasons the use of phrases such as “kingdom of heaven”, “your heavenly Father”, “son of David”, “the holy city”, the use of a genealogy, Jewish apocalyptic material, and rabbinical phraseology in the Sermon on the mount. Another major reason for the gospel being oriented to a Jewish view is the fact that, by most counts, the gospel of Matthew contains about 50 direct quotations from the Old Testament, and some 75 other allusions to events in the OT. Related to this Jewish emphasis is the use of titles for Jesus such as “son of David” and the continuity described in 5:17 “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them”. Another good indication that the text was written with a Jewish audience in mind is that Matthew makes mention of Jewish rituals (see 15:2) without bothering to explain them, indicating the audience’s familiarity with them.

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