A Reflection On The Gospel Essay

A Reflection On The Gospel Essay

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This week is a reflection on the Gospel attributed to Matthew. A Gospel that, according to Perkins in week one of this course, Irenaeus saw fit to attribute to the apostle. Despite having read this text throughout childhood and into scholastic adulthood, I must admit, this was the first time I have ever reflected on this one single account without being interrupted by the other three canonized versions. The mishmash of Sunday School gospel traditions had a tendency to skew my view of these texts from an early age. Alas, this slanted gospel interpretation of the life, ministry, and death of Jesus has followed me to seminary as well. However, the focus reading this week has allowed me to more fully grasp the concept of a spiritual story written by a community of believers as opposed to a golden rock with which to build and standardize a religion upon. This week, I attempted to adjust my interpretive lens of Jesus toward the community according to Matthew, whoever they may have been.
The community from which this text was formed appears to see Jesus as a teacher. Although the title of rabbi has been ingrained in my understanding of Jesus since a young age, I was astounded with the frequency in which the author(s) places Jesus in this teaching role. For instance, in the Sermon on the Mount, chapter 5-7, the teachings are constant, almost forceful, as one lesson after another is given. An image of a teacher raising their ruler and tapping each lesson in a rhythmic assertion of the text’s authority came to me as I read these passages. Yet, was this image of a strict, rule orientated messiah really what the Matthew community meant to portrait? After a short pause, I realized that this may not have been how the Matthew community read thes...

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...ions at the birth and death of Jesus that the author(s) of Matthew uses. Joseph, the dreamer, of course, has several dreams during the birth narrative that guide his actions with Mary, 1:20, and his travels after Jesus is born 2:13 & 19. The wise men heed the caution of an apparent communal dream, 2:12, and leave Herod’s governing territory in silence. Even Pilot’s wife has a dream, 27:19, concerning the innocent prisoner, Jesus, her husband is about to condemn to death. These dreams seem to almost frame out Jesus life. I am confused as to why the author(s) would use dreams in this way. Was it to mystify the Messiah’s entrance into and exit from this plane of existence? Or was it simply a way to smooth out the storyline for the actions of characters? I was wondering if there are any publications, official or otherwise, that have looked deeper into this use of dreams?

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