Covenant, Christology, and kingdom as context in Matthew's use of Pl?ró?
McCuistion, Paul Raymond
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Matthew’s Jewish audience was looking for continuity in the newly revealed kingdom.Thus, Matthew needed to connect faith in Jesus to the covenant ideal that was the foundation of their heritage. However, the Matthean community was blended to include formative, common, and Hellenized Jews along with non-Jewish believers. Within this context, Matthew used the concept of plēróō to connect this varied audience to the Jewish heritage. An examination of Matthew’s use of plēróō determines that it reveals the Christological characteristics that endorse Jesus’ divine initiative of proclaiming the coming reign of heaven within the hermeneutics of covenant. After the introduction to the aim, objectives, and methodology, chapter two evaluated the cultural influences on the form and structure of Matthew’s Gospel, demonstrating how this may have motivated his use of plēróō to support the Jewish heritage of covenant, Christology, and kingdom. This study contends that the concept and historical background of Greek drama is the most suitable structure for Matthew to relate the story of Jesus. The Matthean community would be familiar with this literary form and its capacity to depict the drama of Jesus’ life. Chapter three sets the story of Jesus in the dramatic context of his contemporary, Jewish culture. The drama builds on conflict, with many characters taking part in the story. The most prominent is the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees that demonstrates Matthew’s intent that Jesus is the only logical choice to satisfy (fulfil) the requirements of righteousness, law, and prophecy. Prior to the investigation of the plēróō statements, chapter four examines the foundation of the cultic background for the Matthean milieu through the study of the prophets to whom Matthew referred in his plēróō statements. The final chapter is an exegesis of the plēróō statements, dividing them into contextual and prophetic perspectives. The former are statements regarding righteousness and law (Matthew 3:15 and 5:17-20, respectively) in which Matthew speaks to Jesus’ ontological essence set in the events of his baptism and the Sermon on the Mount. The latter reveals the key prophetic fulfilment passages (2:17, 8:17, 12:17, 13:35, 21:14), supporting the Matthean them of Jesus, son of David, son of Abraham. This study concludes that Matthew structured his Gospel like a Greek drama in order to attract both Jew and Gentile to Jesus, who is God’s anointed for both groups. Matthew uses the plēróō statements to confirm Jesus’ ontological nature, which was important to his Hellenized audience, and to confirm Jesus as the fulfilment of the Jewish (messianic) hope of Israel. This bonded both elements of the Matthean community to the nature and purpose of Jesus.
- Theology