WELCOME TO A NEW PART OF YOUR STUDY
With this unit we begin our investigation of the gospel writings. The faith
community Matthew is addressing is being forced to face the challenge of
faith in a new age. It is a post-resurrection faith community no longer
grounded in the physical temple in Jerusalem. It is a faith community that
was forced to flee Jerusalem during the warring days of the destruction of the
temple. In their exile, this Jewish community finds itself ministering side by
side with the very people they had been taught to distrust and to hate. The exile created major
change and they find their faith community filled with the very people who not long ago would
have been seen as “unclean” and as “sinners.” This radical change caused all kinds of questions
• Who or what is a Christian?
• How are disciples made, what do they do and who qualifies to be a disciple?
• Can we trust the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of non-Jews?
• Did Jesus want us to minister to ourselves and shore up the kingdom or has the
death and resurrection of Jesus ushered in a new sense of kingdom?
• What does it mean to find Christ present in the lives of the “least of these?”
In Matthew, the church faced the challenge that many of us face today…who is included and
who is excluded?