Jesus never intended to found a Church made up of ‘adherents to a religion’, but to call together ‘followers of the Way’ that he was opening up. Today’s Christian communities can only live up to that vision by keeping the real-life person of Jesus and his message — the reign of God — at the centre of their life. The four gospels, written in different historical and cultural contexts, give us different perspectives on that person and that message.
This commentary, The Way Opened Up By Jesus, explores Matthew’s perspective, using the Matthean passages that the Church recommends for proclamation when the community gathers for the Sunday Eucharist (Cycle A of the Revised Common Lectionary). Each passage is examined, both in the context that shaped Matthew’s telling of the story, and in the context of today’s Christian communities. Matthew’s perspective shows Jesus transforming the expectations of the People of Israel. He is the fulfillment of God’s ancient promises to them; he is God’s new presence with them after the destruction of the Temple; he is the Prophet of a new Law, proclaimed from a new Mount Sinai; and he is the Messiah who calls together the new Israel, which Matthew calls the Church.
José Antonio Pagola is a Professor at St Sebastian Seminary and at the Faculty of Theology of Northern Spain. He has served as rector of the diocesan seminary and Vicar General of the same diocese. He has dedicated his life to Biblical studies and Christology and has done research on the historical Jesus for more than 30 years. His is author of numerous books including the best selling Jesus: An Historical Approximation.
“This is an extraordinary work of scholarship. Beautifully written, it is also an expression of the author’s profound faith commitment… the author nevertheless presents a compelling ‘approximation of that life’. In so doing, Pagola has written a highly readable book that deserves a wide readership in the Church and the academy” — Roberto Goizueta on Jesus: An Historical Approximation