The Resurrection in Matthew

We’re going through the gospels looking for understanding into the doctrine of the Trinity starting with the gospel of Matthew. I’d like to focus in on the resurrection. Generally going through these, I might give brief arguments for the historicity of such events, but such is not my case, even though I do think a strong case can be made. After all, I believe at this point that the audience most interested in this will be Christians as well as members of various groups we see as cults today that deny the reality of the Trinity.

We’re going to be looking at the resurrection then but not looking at the Great Commission or the responses of the Jews or the women to the resurrection. For now, I plan to accept it as a brute fact that the resurrection happened. I could at some point in the future write a blog on my reasons for why I believe that to be so.

One thing I do wish to point out is the lack of theology that is found within Matthew’s account. Matthew has consistently shown Jesus going against the understanding of the Law in Judaism at the time and one could expect that when we get to this point, Matthew would want to show the difference Jesus makes at this point. He does no such thing.

Matthew has also throughout the gospel pointed to Jesus as the fulfillment of OT prophecy. At many points in his ministry, he has cited Scriptures to show that Jesus has indeed fulfilled OT prophecy. One could expect that when we reach the grand finale of the gospel that Matthew will do the same. He does no such thing.

Why? I believe Matthew could have seen it as unnecessary. It is not, for instance, because there are no theological implications to what happened in the resurrection of Christ. There certainly are and the epistles show us plenty of those.

Also, it is not because the followers of Christ did not see prophecy being fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ. They certainly did as the early Christian creed found in 1 Cor. 15 shows. Other places in the epistles constantly cite Scriptures to speak about the truths of the life of Christ.

Could it be at this point that Matthew is drawing his readers to fill in the implications of what has happened for themselves? It is as if he is guiding the reader and the reader is seeing so many clues about Jesus that when they reach the grand finale, they are expected to figure out how the gaps fit in there as well.

What does this say about Jesus? It says he is the one who conquers death and this we will see more as we get into the gospel of John. Other resurrections that have happened have always been clearly shown by an external power. However, there is no mention of God in the final chapter of Matthew. He is mentioned in the 27th chapter when Jesus asks “My God. My God. Why have you forsaken me?” One could draw from that that the answer is that God has nor forsaken Christ. Jesus quoted Psalm 22 at that point that begins in defeat but ends in the victory. It is the ultimate reversal.

Of course, it could also be what Jesus himself said. He has the power to bring his own life back. Note this points to Jesus’s continued existence apart from his body. While that has implications I believe for anthropological dualism, it has greater implications to refuting a pathetic objection to the incarnation that is often brought up and a problem with the objection can be seen when we study Colossians 1.

Some of you are wondering what that objection is.

I guess you’ll have to wait….

Moreover, the resurrection is also the vindication of all that Christ said in his life. He was crucified as a blasphemer and the resurrection is saying “No. He is not a blasphemer. He is indeed the Son of God.” The Jewish leadership mocked him on the cross saying the Son could not save himself. Surely the Son would! Jesus had been called the Son at the baptism and at the transfiguration. Now, it was demonstrated through the resurrection.

Because of the resurrection, we can be sure Jesus is who he said he was, the very Son of God. (A term we will look at at a later date to show that when understood of Christ, it does refer to him being fully deity.)

We shall wrap up Matthew’s gospel tomorrow.

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