The Obedient Son
It has often been observed that Jesus’ filial obedience is an important Matthean theme. In this work the author argues that the articulation of Jesus as Son of God in Matthew is significantly influenced by the Deuteronomic concept of obedient sonship.
After noting the complexities of Matthew’s use of Scripture – including the subtle ways he engages texts – Deuteronomy’s pervasive influence in ancient Judaism and Christianity is considered. It is argued that the requirement of Israel’s covenantal obedience as God’s son(s) is a major concern in Deuteronomy, as well as in other Jewish and Christian texts that appear to echo Deuteronomy. Indeed, it is argued that a pattern can be detected in which the sonship of Israel is invoked either to summon Israel to obedience, or to rebuke the nation for disobedience.
The author concludes that the necessity of Israel’s obedient sonship is an important part of Matthew’s interpretive milieu that derives ultimately from Deuteronomy, and our understanding of Matthean Christology is greatly enhanced when viewed in this context. This study may further help us understand why Matthew’s concern with obedient sonship applies not only to Jesus uniquely, but also to the early Christian community.