A Literary and Speech Act Analysis
Chapter 4: The Immediate Circumstances Surroundingthe Beatitudes 87
CHAPTER 4 The Immediate Circumstances Surrounding the Beatitudes he understanding that Jesus came and continued to be the presence of God to a Christ–confessing community served as the inclusio of Mat- thew’s composition (cf. Matt 1:23; 28:20). Matthew constructed a story centered on the claims elucidated in the teaching and ministry of Jesus. For Matthew and the early Christian community, Jesus was the presence and author- ity of God on earth, and continues to be through the new community bearing his name (Matt 16:16–18; 18:20; cf. Kupp 1996). The Jesus story was especially relevant to the issues faced by the Matthean community. Matthew used the word exousia throughout his Gospel, demonstrating the authority Jesus repeatedly displayed in his ministry (Matt 7:29; 9:6, 8; 10:1; 21:23–27; 28:18). For Plato, exousia was the power one had in “legal, political, social or moral affairs” (Betz 1986:607). The authority of Jesus was elucidated in his teaching, differentiating him from the scribes (Matt 7:29) by his pro- nounced forgiveness of sins (Matt 9:2–8), in commissioning the disciples (Matt 10:1), and in the temple cleansing (Matt 21:12–17). This authority extended to the teaching and pronouncements of Jesus (cf. Matt 11:25–30). In what ways did Matthew demonstrate this authority leading to the pro- nounced Beatitudes? What concepts were placed in the narrative to cue the reader/hearer with an understanding of the Beatitude pronouncements? The hearers of...
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