The motive of forgiveness in the Gospel according to Matthew

Nel, Marius J. (2015)

CITATION: Nel, M. J. 2015. The motive of forgiveness in the Gospel according to Matthew. In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi, 49(1):19, doi:10.4102/ids.v49i1.1917.

The original publication is available at http://www.indieskriflig.org.za

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

Article

This article explores the importance of the motif of forgiveness in the Gospel according to Matthew. It takes the arrangement (τάξις) of Matthew as an ancient biography (βίος) of Jesus as its point of departure for describing its ethics of forgiveness. The importance of the motif of forgiveness for Matthew is apparent from the relative frequency with which it is addressed in his Gospel and from the manner in which it is interwoven with his narration of the birth, ministry and death of Jesus. Thereafter the social-historical setting of the Gospel’s initial readers is briefly described in terms of the external (a growing schism with formative Judaism) and internal challenges (intrapersonal conflict) they faced in an attempt to understand the reason for the prominence of the motif of forgiveness in it. Finally, Matthew’s view of forgiveness is systematised by describing the different agents (God, Jesus and the disciples) of forgiveness in his Gospel. The article argues that the birth, life and death of Jesus as well as his words and deeds are integrated in a clear and compelling manner into Matthew’s ethics of forgiveness. For Matthew the confession that God had forgiven his people through Jesus, is the main reason why they are compelled to forgive others.

Die artikel ondersoek die tema van vergifnis in die Evangelie volgens Matteus. Dit neem die opbou (τάξις) van Matteusas ’n antieke biografie (βίος) van Jesus as vertrekpunt vir die beskrywing van die etiek van vergifnis daarvan. Vir Matteus blyk die belangrikheid van vergifnis uit die relatiewe frekwensie waarmee dit voorkom in die Matteusevangelie en die wyse waarop dit met sy vertelling van die geboorte, bediening en dood van Jesus verweef is. Die sosio-historiese agtergrond van die Matteusevangelie se aanvanklike lesers word ook kortliks beskryf interme van die eksterne (’n groeiende skisma met formatiewe Judaïsme) en interne uitdagings (intrapersoonlike konflik) wat hulle in die gesig gestaar het in ’n poging om die rede vir die prominensie van die vergifnistema in Matteus te bepaal. Ten slotte word Matteus se siening van vergifnis gesistematiseer deur die beskrywing van die verskillende agente (God, Jesus endie dissipels) van vergifnis in sy Evangelie. Die artikel argumenteer dat die geboorte, lewe en dood van Jesus, sowel as sy woorde en dade op ‘n duidelike en oortuigende wyse in Matteus se etiek van vergifnis geïntegreer is. Vir Matteus is God se vergifnis van sy volk se sondes deur Jesus, die primêre rede waarom hulle genoodsaak is tot die vergifnis van anderse oortredings teen hulle.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/99873
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