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A Portrayal of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew _ A Narrative-Critical and Theological Study

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A Portrayal of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew _ A Narrative-Critical and Theological Study

The Royal Shepherd as Judge for the Least: Matthew 25,31-46
1. Continuing the Implied Reader's Journey
l. I Jesus Judges the Religious Leaders (Matt
1.1.1 The Son
Spatial setting marks off this sequence. Already in the first verse, frree distinct
locations are ammerated•. and 7b 'Opoc rov 'Eiczuövl . In it is entrance Of Jesus (21,10•, cf. V. 1) and tb tepåv» (v. 12) which divides the sequence in tw0[footnoteRef:1][footnoteRef:2] [1: WD. DAVIES—D.C. ALLISON, Marthew, m, 133-134.] [2: suing in 21.2-3 tint is completely in control ofthe evenm; see WD. DAVIES- DC.ALL.tSON, Matthew. 111, 117.] 
a) Jesus Enters kusalem (Matt 21,1-11)
Jesus' respite at BeUvage allows the narrator to develop at length the meaning of Jesus' prophetic act of entrance when later he accomplishes it. His command to fre two disciples, which they listen to md obey (v. 6), portrays ffem in a positive light (cf. 7,24). It also manifests his omniscience and confirms his knowledge of ffe events which must take place (16,21•, 1722-23; His entrance into the Holy City on a beast of burden[footnoteRef:3] is meant as a prophetic act pointing to his [3: MLtüww•g portrayal Of 	seemingly invossible 	Of sitting on two animals
•tip •tbv Itc3Xov zÖtOv in 21,7) reflects his to arly rabbinic auünritia who «rejected any concept of parallelism»; see D. INSTONE— BREWER, «Two Asses of Zechariah 9:9», 87.92-95. For other interpretations, see M.J.J. MENKEN, «Zechariah 9.9 in Mbttbew 21 ,5», I I W. WEREN, (Jesus' Entry into Jerusalem», 129-135; U. LUZ, Uatthev 21-28. 5.8.] 
In 	Mount of Olives is tir 	synbolic of the passion (26,30) and the refilsal oflsrael (24,3); see V. MORA,La Symbolique& crution, 72.
royal stature as Son of David and his mission of peace (cf. Zech This is acknowledged by the crowds who now exalt him6. However, the reacticn of «all Jerusalem» is disturbing us in v. 10) recalls tumult during the time of Herod the Great (2,3). Moreover, its question oüxos in 21, 10) reveals gross misunderstanding since the narrator has just revealed so much about him: (21 ,3), Bzoüe(x; (v. 5), Amu16 (v. 9),
 (vv.5.9). Even the crow& acknowledge him as (v. 1 1), as they did John the Baptist (11,9). However, all ffis misses the mark as the
E)llowing episode shows.
b) Jesus Enters the Temple (Matt 21,12-17)
Jesus finally reaches the Temple which, except for 21,18-22, is the setting for all the controversy stories which fillow (21,23—23,39)- The deliberate, repetitive referral to the Temple serves various ftnctions. It contrasts Jesus against those violate the Temple's sacral character and justifies his prophetic gesture bringing the Temple cult to a symbolic end8 . It identifies Jesus' messianic character ffat restores the Temple's dignity with his final act ofhealing, showing the supremacy Of mercy over sacrifice (9,13; 12,7), while signaling the formation of a new messianiccommunity9. Finally, it validates the children's cry
s F. HAUCK—S. SCHULZ «wpaös. TDNT. VI, 641-64% J.R. W, «„.perché mite e di cuore», 169; V. MORA. La Symbolique de la cr&ion, 14; W.
Env into kusalem». 128; U. LUZ, Matthew 21-28, 1-8.
In tlE first centuy A.D. the cry need not connote now» but truy sirrvly be a cry ofprai8e; WD. DAVIES — D.C. ALLISON, Matthew, Ill. 125.
intentionally distinguishes between and residents Of Jennlem who Ze hostile to Jesus. The Of first four wor& euyatpL E'dv» in 21.5 — likely from 62,11 — inste2d of fiéya«p EuDv» (I—XX 9,9) any Jerusalem's negative see M.J.J. MENKEN, in Matthew 21,5», 108-109; C.A HAM, Coming King 3941.
W. WEREN, (desus• Entry into kusalem», 141; U LUZ, Theo"' of the Gospel of*Gtthew.
111-118; 	Matthew, 235.
	9 CE Isa 61.1; 29.18-19; 355-6; 42,18; also 	11.17-24; 2Kgs 4,18-37; 5.1-21. U
«ln nrssianic age tha•e will no more sicknesses and blemislrs in see U. LUZ, Matthew 21-28. 12-13. note 19; also U. LUZ 8-20, 134; Jr. Matthew. 235-236; W. WEREN, «Jesus' Entry into Jerusalem», 140.
recogiizing Jesus' stature which the chief priests and scribes are adverse to d010.
This brief polemic also presages the extended controversies soon to come.
1.1.2 Conflict in the Temple (Matt
The episode of üle fig tree (21,18-22) serves as a prelude to the Temple controversies and gives a graphic witless to the authority Of Jesus. The incident is a prophetic act which shows the power Of Jesus' word and Characterizes his identity. The åte of the barren tree is in tune with his previous teaching and prefigures the end ofthose who omse him.
 macro-sequence which frllows Jesus with those taSked to be Israel's shepherds. Initially drawn into explaining himself With parables in response to the religious leaders' verbal snares , Jesus rebounds on the offetßive a scathing indictment Of the scribes and Pharisees to win the crowds and his disciples definitively to his side (23, 1—39).
a) Jesus Engages Various Religious Groups (Matt 21
Jsus' verbal exchanges in this first secüon are chuacteri_zed by two elanenG. Firstly, he engages r.resentatives fiorn all Jewish religious groups %hich, in one instance, involves those with political leanings as well («Herodians» in 22,15). gavity of the accusation increasingly becomes evidaat as his motiv— are more explicitly J—us• own responsß become more vitriolic.
The Temple controversies begin with a clash between Jesus and the primary guardians oflsrael's faith — the chiefpriests and the elders (21,23), as well as the Pharisees (22.15) — who manifest gross misunderstanding by questioning Jesus' authority which was just mani±sted in the previous itrident of the fig tree. They are shown to be hypocritical and Earful The three parables which Jesus
Their anger at actions Of Jesus, including his alleviati of thü malevolence»; U. LUZ, Matthew 21-28, 13.
Ironically, by speaking in parables Juus disguises more than be reveals (cf. 13, 13). Faced with such hostile resolve, the pr*cy of I"iah is Ülled Isa 6,9-10); ee U. LUZ, 7%eology ofthe Gospel ofbLtthew, 18.
addresses to them unmask their true identity: üiey fail to do God's will (21,32) and are unable to produce die expected fruit (21,43). In conu•ast, the implied reader Jesus' fearless authaltic Wimessing (12,13; Cf. 22,16) and is aware of his good works (11,2.4-5) which ftllfill the Father's desire (15,28; cf. 26,39.42).
ms exchange also reveals Jesus' awareness regarding the significance of these as gives pmlqtic hints Of his coming fit.e (21,38-39; 22,60 ne contrast continues as Jesus engages one Jewish group after another in debate: the Pharisees' disciples and tie Herodians who are so uncharacteristically linked (22,15-22), the Sadducees (vv. 23-33) and the Pharisees (w. 3440). Their ultericr motives are revealed (22,16), the danger &ley bring exposed (v. 29) and their desigxs are thwarted by Jesus who convincingly silences them submission (22,34.45) and awe (vv. 22.33). Finally, Jesus himself intensifies the antagonism by turning the tables against them. He questions them (22,43) and reduces than to silence (v. 46).
By &monstrating his superiority over Israel's recognized religious shqherds,
Jesus positions himself as replacing ffleir role.
b) Jesus Indicts the Scribes and Pharisees (Matt 23,1-39)
A shift is sigraled by a change in addressees. Jesus speaks directly to the
Crowds and his disciples cautioning them apinst hypocrisy Of scribes and Pharisees. At this point Jesus unmasks his opponents who they really are. In a seven-%ld indictment addressed directly against them, Jesus delivers a prophetic judgnaxt whose severity leaves no room for reconciliation12. He realizes this as he repeatedly acknowledges the violent åte which ahead (23,32-34.37). His lament over Jerusalem marks the final occasion the cib"s name is ever mention again and signals a definitive break. His quotation from Psalm 118,26: «Blessed is he who comes in the name Of the Lord» serves as a closure for his Temple debates (cf. 21,9) as well as the theme of the section which follows.
J—us' Et Ofjudgrznt links üEse verse to a latterjL&rrnt scene (25,3146); A-I. WILSON, «Mattirw 's