THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
The Gospel of Matthew is an eyewitness story written for an audience of believers, under great stress, and persecution. Matthew develops a theological plot incorporating genealogy, speeches, parables, inter and intra textual references, common vocabulary, and fulfillment quotations, with a tension that builds as we are invited into the story. The crucifixion and resurrection bring us to a Christological climax that symbolically points beyond its conclusion to God’s Kingdom, bringing atonement, salvation and the ushering in the Eschaton. The extraordinary events surrounding the crucifixion act as commentary, adding important details concerning the death of Jesus.1
The author’s intent is Christological. Jesus is the Son of God. He is God amongst us. Recognized titles in Matthew include Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, Son of David, King, Immanuel. In addition, “the allusions and actions of Jesus of Matthew’s Jesus also communicate his Messianic claims.”2 The Gospel functions as a teaching tool and can be used liturgically. The author of Matthew intended it to be read and for his audience to understand, be engaged in and appreciate the literary devices and references. He “did not write for bad or casual readers, but in stead for good and attentive listeners. The ancient audiences were “accustomed to retain minute textual details”.3
The Gospel of Matthew exhibits the plan of atonement and salvation for all people and the beginning of a new era. The Kingdom has come. Matthew’s Gospel is eschatological. Through the direct use of and allusions to the Hebrew scriptures, as well as fulfillment citations Matthew clearly connects Jesus’ life and ministry with Israel’s traditions and promised history.4...
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... and so magnify a single circumstance: all attention is directed to one thing”21
The words on His lips were not a cry, they were not a scream, they were a prayer. Matthew used the word kraxas for cry. Krazein is word used in Ps 22:2,5, 24. The word can mean be translated as an impassioned fervent prayer.22 Jesus died with a prayer on His lips.
14 Jonathan T. Pennington. Heaven and Earth in the Gospel of Matthew. (Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, 2009), 214.15 Dale C. Allison, Jr. Studies in Matthew: Interpretation Past and Present. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 101.16 Frank J. Matera. Passion Narratives and Gospel Theologies: Interpreting the Synoptics Through Their Passion Stories. (New York: Paulist Press, 1986), 115.17 Dale C. Allison, Jr. Studies in Matthew: Interpretation Past and Present. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 229.