In die Skriflig
On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441
NEL, Marius J.. The motive of forgiveness in the Gospel according to Matthew. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2015, vol.49, n.1, pp.1-9. ISSN 2305-0853. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/IDS.V49I1.1917.
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.