Matthew Introduction – Part 5: Why did Matthew NOT write his gospel?

Speaker: Scott Jarrett | Jan 17, 2016

5. (Why?) did Matthew NOT write his gospel?

Traditionally, inquiry into the author’s purpose is stated in the positive versus the negative as it is here. However, this particular dialectic approach to Matthew’s gospel has enormous value – especially when attempting to “root out” modern misconceptions about Jesus, His ministry or the Christian Faith in general. As such, what follows serves as both an explicit apologetic (against the heresies of our day) as well as an implicit guide to Matthew’s purpose and intent in writing.

5.1. To proclaim that the dispensation of law is over. [DISCUSSED]

5.2. To reveal that God was now good with having a whore for a wife or at least one on the side. [DISCUSSED]

5.3. To portray God the Father as a child abuser.

Christianity is filled with her critics. This includes those who view the New Testament (and most especially its gospel biopics) as teaching nothing less than divine child abuse. The argument for such a claim goes as follows: If God the Father is the One determining justice, then He is also the One determining who can (and will) receive mercy. And Who more worthy than His beloved and innocent Son? Could God the Father not have simply chose to pardon His enemies (i.e. us) and spared His Son from such violent measures? Or at the very least, could He have not (b/c of mercy) lessened the degree of punishment inflicted upon His Son? The obvious answer in their mind is “Yes”. Therefore, (according to such critics), the belief that God the Father could have chosen to extend mercy (but declined) betrays Matthew’s “good news” intention (in writing his gospel), by inadvertently revealing a darker and more sinister purpose: to portray God the Father as the cosmic child abuser. And though this conclusion (i.e. God the Father is guilty of child abuse) is vehemently denied by Evangelical Christianity, its understanding of mercy confirms it. Namely, that mercy can negate justice.

How we know this was NOT the purpose behind Matthew’s gospel:

5.3.1. Per Matthew, Jesus never views mercy as a negation of justice. Rather it upholds the law.

As such, Jesus understands mercy to be defined as: good extended w/o obligation due to contract or the obstruction of justice (Mat 12:1-7 = mercy/good is to be extended to those who are guiltless [7] – which is what Jesus proves He and His disciples are in re: to the Sabbath [3-6, 8] ; Mat 18:21-35[1]).

5.3.2. Matthew as well as other gospel writers view Jesus’ ministry (and the subsequent New Covenant/Testament to follow) as completely consistent (i.e. in agreement) w/ the rest of the biblical witness (which would therefore include its teaching on mercy and justice).

Consider (Mat 5:17-18, Luk 16:16-17; Luk 10:25-26).

5.3.3.  The rest of the Scriptures support Jesus’ understanding of justice (as never negating but rather upholding justice).

Consider (e.g. Gen 19:14-16 w/2Pe 2:7; Exo 25:21-22 = cherubim are the deliverers/guardians of   God’s justice [Gen 3:24; Heb 2:2; Gal 3:19; Act 7:53; Rev 7-8; this is also why pastors are called “angels” in Rev 2-3], cherubim are therefore located in God’s heavenly courtroom/place of judgment [Rev 4-5, 7-8] mercy is extended only after justice is served in the place of judgment)

(Exo 33:19 w/34:6-7; Deu 4:23-31; Neh 9:13-31; Job 8:3-6; Psa 31:21-23; Dan 9:1-19; Rom 3:25-30; 1Co 11:17-26; Tit 3:5; Heb 2:17, 10:28-29; Jam 2:13; 1Pe 1:3, 2:10; 2Jo 1:3-4; Jud 21-  23).

 [1] In these verses we discover also the definition for forgiveness: seeking the best just-case scenario for the guilty party (consider 1Th 5:15).