Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Christian Scripture) - MA (CSc)

Department

Theology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Laura C. S. Holmes, Ph.D., Associate Professor of New Testament

Keywords

Jesus Christ—Person and offices; Immanuel (The Hebrew Word); Presence of God; Bible. Matthew—Criticism, Narrative; Bible. Matthew i 23; Bible. Matthew xviii 20; Bible. Matthew xxviii 20; Holy Spirit; Church

Abstract

Many Christological studies of Matthew’s Gospel, while giving particular attention to titular analyses, fail to account for one of Matthew’s most ingenious and expansive literary devices. In the opening chapter of his narrative, Matthew tells of a messiah who will be called “Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” and also be called “Immanuel, which means God with us.” The entire gospel narrative comes to a close with Jesus-Immanuel standing in the presence of his disciples and saying to them “I am with you always.” That Matthew frames his entire narrative with this Immanuel motif of divine presence requires that we look at nothing short of the whole story. It also pushes against traditional approaches to Christological studies and prompts us to seek for a “narrative Christology.” What story does the entire narrative of Matthew’s Gospel tell about Jesus?

Matthew’s Immanuel motif uniquely creates a narrative Christology that understands divine presence as a reality in the person of Jesus Christ that is expressed in his community of followers and the activity of the Holy Spirit. This study takes a look at some of the particular issues associated with Matthew’s three explicit uses of the Immanuel motif (1:23; 18:20; 28:20) while also giving attention to the entirety of Matthew’s narrative. Taking this literary approach illuminates the connections between Jesus-Immanuel, community, and the Spirit. Matthew’s narrative is one in which God’s presence is found in the person of Jesus, experienced within his gathered community of followers, and dynamically expressed in the movement of the Spirit.

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