Matthew’s Moral Ideal, Part II: Other Evidence

In: The Sermon on the Mount and Spiritual Exercises


Chapter four examines Matthew’s treatment of purity in 15:1–20, eschatological preparation and judgment in chs. 24–5, and hypocrisy throughout the gospel and finds in these passages the same ethic that animated the metaphor of trees and their fruits studied in chapter three. Together chapters three and four show that Matthew’s narrative idealizes the person who is humble enough to repent and, in turn, become Jesus’ disciple and who maintains the imperturbability and perspective necessary to persist in doing the good deeds God wills and will repay and the right intentions required to make those deeds truly good. They show that Matthew idealizes proper interiority.