Judean Matthew I: the Jewish Prophet

(Note: this is the original version of a post that has been revised and expanded. The present text remains as the “short” version. The short version presents the single passage from Matthew 10:2-23 whereas the revised and expanded text also includes passages from Matthew 24 & 25. To read the revised and expanded text click here.)

Intro: This is part I of a two-part project to recover the original Judean Gospel from our present extant Gospel of Matthew (viz. Catholic Matthew). There are two parts because the Judean Gospel has two conflicting themes: in one Jesus speaks of a kingdom and the arrival of a Messianic figure other than himself. In the other theme Jesus has become identified with that Messianic figure. Accordingly part I, the “Jewish Prophet”, will be a presentation of the passage (fragment) from Catholic Matthew 10:2-23, in which Jesus speaks of the Messiah or “Son of man” as a figure other than himself; and there is no mention of a crucifixion. This is the first and earliest layer of the Messianic tradition of Jesus. It is a prophecy of a kingdom to come, the arrival of which is impending, and the disciples will not have completed their ministry when the “Son of man” arrives. This is accompanied by a command to preach to Hebrews only; and that before this ministry is complete, the kingdom will have arrived.

Part II, the “Jewish Messiah”, will be a presentation of all those passages in which Jesus has become identified with the Messiah or “Son of man”. This is the second layer of the Messianic tradition and marks the evolution of Jesus from prophet to Jewish Messiah. And then in a separate project, to be called the “Catholic Gospel” it will be shown how Jesus evolved from prophet, to Jewish Messiah, to a universal Savior, and how all these conflicting themes remain preserved in our present Catholic Gospel of Matthew.

JUDEAN MATTHEW I: THE JEWISH PROPHET

JESUS SENDS HIS APOSTLES TO PREACH THE GOSPEL: THAT THE KINGDOM IS AT HAND. [CM. 10:2-7, 9-16a, 17-21, 22b-23]

The names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Truly I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: beware of men, for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for truly I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

Comments: Three verses or parts thereof have been omitted from the passage above, viz. verses 8, 16b and 22a. Verse 8, which refers to healing and miracle-working, was omitted because the emphasis in the overall passage is on the kingdom and the “Son of man”. The theme of Jesus and his apostles as miracle workers is a later addition and is part of the Messianic theme; in which Jesus and his apostles are embellished and they become miracle workers and healers similar to the legend of Apollonius of Tyana (Eusebius, Against Heirocles). Verse 16b was omitted as it probably originates from a proto-Gnostic source who wanted to add an esoteric element to this passage to try to harmonize it with proto-Gnostic thought. Verse 22b was omitted because it belongs to the Messianic theme and is clearly an attempt to identify Jesus with the “Son of man” when the overall passage makes the two out to be separate figures. Jesus does not say ‘hold fast till I come’; he says “Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.”  (Cf. Rev. 2:25b)

By Jim West. Copyright © July 9, 2013; revised April 1, 2014.

All Rights Reserved.

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