The Gospel of Matthew as an Exhortation for the Gentile Mission

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Kim, Taesub
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서울대학교 종교문제연구소
종교와 문화 28호, pp. 133-159
Gentilemissionredaction criticismcommunity-based approach
This research aims to resolve the vexing question about the contradiction between the exclusive Jewish mission command in Matt 10:5b-6 and the Great Commission in Matt 28:19-20. In 10:6b-6, the Matthean Jesus prohibits his disciples from approaching the Gentiles, whereas in 29:19-20 the risen Christ supersedes this earlier restriction by commanding them to carry out the Gentile mission. This inconsistency appears contradictory to many modern readers. The present article approaches this question suggesting that the two conflicting mission commands in fact reflect a division of Jewish Christian members in the first-century Matthean community on the issue of the Gentile mission. While conservative Jewish members in the community opposed to the Gentile mission(10:5-6), others took the initiative to evangelize the Gentiles(28:19-20). Even though Matthew’s theological conviction was the universal mission aiming to both Jews and the Gentiles, he did not recklessly discard the traditional exclusivism. While acknowledging both the old and the new stances, Matthew gradually puts more emphasis on the necessity of the Gentile mission as the Gospel proceeds to the end. First, Matthew 12:18-21 shows the conservatives who respect divine authority of the Old Testament that the Gentile mission is the fulfillment of the Isaiah’s prophecy(Isa 42:1-4). Second, Jesus, being depicted as the one persuaded by the faith of the Canaanite woman, is set as a model who changes the exclusive attitude about the Gentile mission(15:21-28). Third, the completion of the world-wide mission is presented as having the eschatological significance that brings about the eschaton(24:14), which is the most urgent and pressing duty to Matthew’s community under persecution. These evidences suggest that the Gospel of Matthew, with respect to the mission perspective, is an edifying rhetoric to persuade its conservative Jewish members to overcome their ethnic prejudice and to join the Gentile mission.
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College of Humanities (인문대학)Religious Studies (종교학과)종교와 문화(Religion and Culture)종교와 문화(Religion and Culture) 28/29호(2015)
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