". . . from expected death comes unexpected new life!"
The Gospel of Matthew does not shy away from the realities of struggle, suffering, doubt, and death. Yet, from the first names in the genealogy to the last words spoken by Jesus, the Gospel testifies to the promise that from expected death comes unexpected new life. Through the actions of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba, we experience the expectation of death and the promise of unexpected new life. In the birth story of Jesus, Joseph suspects Mary of committing adultery. It is this dilemma that is the focus of the narrative. If he reveals her pregnancy, she could be killed. If he conceals her pregnancy, he will be going against the law of the Lord. What is a righteous man to do? In Joseph's dilemma, this experience of expected death, the Gospel of Matthew proclaims the promise of unexpected new life.
The promise of unexpected new life is a theme that continues throughout Matthew's Gospel in the life and ministry of Jesus. The call of his disciples is a call from death to new life. The teaching of Jesus focuses on the experience of death and the promise of new life. In both healing and curing, Jesus brings unexpected new life to those who face death. But it is the death and resurrection of Jesus that is the climax of unexpected new life in the Gospel of Matthew. Even as Jesus experiences a most horrific and humiliating death in the crucifixion, death and the grave do not have the final say. In bearing witness to Jesus' resurrection, the Gospel of Matthew proclaims the magnificent promise of unexpected new life.
Matthew J. Marohl invites you in these pages to read the Gospel of Matthew in a new way, from a fresh perspective. Integrating insights from the study of Mediterranean anthropology, Marohl makes the cultural world of the Gospel come alive, so that as you read Matthew again (or perhaps for the first time) you will certainly experience the powerful promise that from expected death comes unexpected new life!