This detailed commentary presents the Gospel of Matthew as a counter-narrative, showing that it is a work of resistance written from and for a minority community of disciples committed to Jesus, the agent of God's saving presence. It was written and functions to shape the identity and lifestyle of the early community of Jesus' followers as an alternative community that can resist the dominant authorities both in Rome and in the synagogue. The Gospel anticipates the time when Jesus will return and establish God's reign over all, including the powers in Rome.
Breaking Matthew into five narrative blocks, Carter presents a line by line commentary, considering historical, literary, cultural and ecclesial factors present at the time of the writing. These themes, accompanied by a survey of their studies on Matthew, are outlined in his masterful introduction.
“My reading perspective is that Matthew’s gospel is a counternarrative. It is a work of resistance written from and for a minority community of disciples committed to Jesus, the agent of God’s saving presence and empire. The gospel shapes their idenitity and lifestyle as an alternative community. It strengthens this community to resist the dominant Roman imperial and synagogal control. It anticipates Jesus’ return when Jesus will complete God’s salvific purposes in establishing God’s reign or empire over all, including Rome.” (Page xvii)
“The text’s concern with ‘involuntary marginals’ may not reflect the audience’s present reality but may sensitize a more privileged audience to mission responsibilities among this group. The relationship between ‘story world’ and audience is not a one-on-one correlation.” (Page 25)
“While their baptism by him is a step in the right direction, it is not the final baptism. Their response to Jesus and subsequent faithful way of life, of hearing and doing God’s will and of being purified, are much more significant.” (Page 100)
“Matthew’s gospel originates in and is addressed to a small, minority group probably living in the large city of Antioch” (Page xviii)
“The verse underlines the incompleteness of God’s purposes.” (Page 87)