Jesus In Matthew Essay, Research Paper
Death and Resurrection of Jesus in Matthew
The death resurrection of Jesus Christ as told in the gospel of Matthew has implications far more than just a simple religious experience. Throughout the last three chapters of the gospel, several deep meanings are discovered which only enhance the interpretation of the entire writing. These insights and beliefs represent the historical aspect, which looks strictly at the facts, the literary aspect, which views the work as a piece of literature and the theological aspect, which focuses more on the moral and religious meanings that are often deeply hidden within the actual text.
The first major aspect of Jesus’ death and resurrection is that from a historical perspective. Jesus’ disciples claimed that his life did not end in death but instead, Jesus died and was buried, but he rose from the dead. Any historian who views death as the final termination of human life found this claim to be unacceptable. One major fact that historians have relied on is the statement made by Paul to the Corinthians around 54 CE. Paul was said to have received the message through tradition around the early 40’s, which would be about a decade after the events involving Jesus took place. Paul statement consists of four parts.
In the first part, after the additions to the text have been taken out, it simply reads: “Christ died, he was buried; he was raised.” This skeleton bears no theological reflection as compared to the entire statement, which includes “in accordance with the Scriptures.” After this brief notice of death, burial, and resurrection, Paul goes on to provide a list of witnesses to the risen Lord. The list states several people who are still alive when Paul is speaking to the Corinthians. In the gospel of Matthew, all the witnesses see Jesus only in Galilee. In Matthew 28:9, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary see Jesus near the tomb, but he appears to the eleven disciples in Galilee. It has been argued among Christians and Jews as to the actual fact of resurrection with the Jews saying that the disciples stole the body and the Christians disagreeing. The appearances to the Twelve are mentioned in three gospels that contain accounts of appearances, but those to the five hundred and to James are not recorded in any gospels. All that can be finally said about the death and resurrection of Jesus in a historical point of view is that the disciples were convinced that Jesus had been raised because they saw something which they could identify as someone, more precisely Jesus. All early
Christian evidence proves this fact because even if what they saw was a vision, the word means no more than something has been seen.
Apart from the historical aspect of Jesus’ death and resurrection, there is a whole other source, called literary, which focuses more on the text as an independent work. In the literary aspect, the text creates its own world and must be understood within this world. The reader is persuaded to recognize the crucified one as the Christ through the use of a story. The climax of the Christian Bible is created through narrative. In the passion story, there are two main groups of characters, other than Jesus. They are his followers and disciples, and the chief priest and scribes who seek to destroy Jesus. The story opens with Jesus in the company of his disciples and quietly praying, and ends with him in the power of the priests, which engineer his death. The narrative turns on the scene in which Jesus is transferred from the company of his followers to the company of the priests and elders. Throughout the action, Jesus is misunderstood and ill-treated. The priests and elders plot against him and finally convict him after an unfair trial. The fatefulness of the plot movement is represented throughout the entire narrative. Then Peter proceeds to deny that he knows Jesus three times and the remaining disciples flee from him at his arrest. This Christian narration of the Passion not only gains the reader’s sympathy, but it also places the irony of Jesus’ suffering and death into perspective.
The final main aspect involved in Jesus’ death and resurrection is the theological viewpoint. Throughout the gospel of Matthew, Jesus is depicted as the sovereign Lord, appointed by God with complete authority in the heavenly and earthly realms. The death of Jesus symbolizes the end of the old ways in viewing God and it helped to change the theology of an entire culture so much that an entire religion was created on the foundation of its Jewish ancestors. By dying on the cross, Jesus forgives all of mankind’s sins and allows everybody to start anew in the new world of God’s reign on Earth. His resurrection helped to symbolize the rebirth and faith of his many followers. They no longer feared death because they knew that there was a place in God’s heavenly kingdom for them once they died.
From the historical accuracy of the gospel of Matthew to its deep, spiritual meanings, the death and resurrection of Jesus were portrayed to its full extent. However, there still may be uncovered secrets in the text of Matthew’s literary work. But until these mysteries are uncovered, one must accept what has transpired over the centuries and put their faith in God and Jesus if they wish to accompany both in the kingdom of Heaven.