Monday, March 4, 2013

Matthew's focus

Matthew seems to be different than the other gospels, it's divided into five teaching segments, which are followed by the historical narrative that augments this teaching.
And I've noticed something about this narrative- it's very matter of fact. These aren't stories like in Mark or Luke which gives you an insight into who the characters are, and how they feel, and why they act like they do, those small details that really enrich a story are completely absent from Matthews account. Like how the disciples took a fleet of boats when Jesus calmed the storm. Or how there were 2000 pigs. You know, the little things. It seems rather like Matthew just drops those elements to more fully expose the Mastery of Jesus over things. I can't think of a better word than mastery right now, so I'll use that to summarize the stories after the sermon on the mount.
Jesus demonstrates mastery over disease. Matt 8:1-4
Mastery over paralysis. Matt 8:5-13
Mastery over sickness. Matt 8:14-16
Mastery over elements. Matt 8:24-27
Mastery over demons. Matt 8:28-34
Mastery over sin. Matt 9:1-8
Mastery over men. Matt 9:9
Mastery over death Matt 9:23-26
Mastery over the eyes Matt 9:28-29
Mastery over the tongue Matt 9:32-33

Update 3/13. I'll do a 31st birthday update here. Awhile back I talked with a younger version of my dad, Scott the liberal Church of Christer, who held up Matt 9:18 as proof of the errancy of Scripture. I've a better answer to his problem in understanding why Matthew just says: she was dead and Luke and Mark have the full account.
Matthew isn't about stories, nor how it impacted people, nor how they thought about Him, nor any such thing. It's about showing the might, power, authority, of Jesus and necessity of faith in Him. Matthew doesn't need to tell us she's sick, then word comes she dies, nor about how her father feels about her. All he's interested in is telling us that Jesus raised her from the dead because He's God. That doesn't make the accounts set against each other, it just means Matthew has a purpose and he's sticking to it. Looking at the rest of the stories and how they have been stripped of trappings I see it more clearly now than ever.

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