Friday, April 11, 2014

Calling His Disciples (part 11)

In the end, for Matthew, because he does not provide any type of report on the activity of the disciples themselves in relation to Jesus’ instructions, what is important is that Jesus went out teaching and preaching and presumably doing all of those things that He had instructed His disciples to do.  Does this mean that Matthew was unconcerned with the activity of the disciples?  Clearly, that is not the case.  In all of this, one must not forget that Matthew and His audience (like Mark and Luke) are viewing the story of Jesus through Resurrection-colored goggles as a community that recognized and worshiped Jesus as the incarnate Creator God. 

What this serves to communicate, keeping in mind the context that has been created through the way that the story is being told and the covenantal context in which the life of Jesus unfolds and in which His teaching is presented, is that it is ultimately the activity of the covenant God that is of paramount importance to those who were telling the Jesus story.  Even in Abraham’s case, it was the God of Abraham that was to be recognized through Abraham’s life and actions---not necessarily Abraham himself. 

It was the Creator God that was to be revealed through Israel---they were not to be made into a great nation (as promised to Abraham) simply to be blessed by their God and to no greater end or purpose than simply being a great nation.  Being a blessing and exemplifying divine blessing, as these disciples were being called to do and be, is meaningless if it does not derive glory for the Creator and work towards accomplishing His purposes or restoration and redemption for humanity and the creation.  Foundationally, it would be the Creator God at work, through Abraham.  It would be the Creator God at work, in and through the Christ; and it would be the Creator God at work, through the Christ’s disciples, when they carried out (and continue to carry out) His instructions. 

With much foundation laid, it is now possible to clinch the argument that Abraham and the Creator God’s covenant with him are in view as Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John (to an extent) tell the stories of Jesus’ calling of His disciples, that Jesus Himself is relying upon a broad-based Abrahamic covenant-shaped worldview to inform the response to His words and deeds, and that this is functional for rounding out a proper perspective on the narrative. 

Not only that, but it should become clear, when adopting a wide angle view of what is going on if this is indeed the case, that one of the points being made is that a disciple of Jesus, then and now, is called to be for the world what Abraham (and ultimately his descendants) were called to be for the world.  Abraham and his descendants were to be the means and the mediators by and through which the Creator God enacted His plan to redeem and restore the world.  In essence, it could be said that the disciples were called to be a fresh set of Abrahams. 

It bears repeating here then, that all disciples of Jesus---those that join Him in the way that He is marking out for the enactment of the Creator God’s kingdom in and for this world---are called to be Abrahams.  Has this review and analysis been sufficient to make that point?  Most likely.  However, there is one final portion of Matthew’s narrative that can be included in this presentation to tie together all that has been seen to this point in the building of this case.  

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