Original Research - Special Collection: Biblical Theological investigations into the attribute of Gods wisdom

Jesus as the personification of God’s wisdom in Matthew

Francois P. Viljoen
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 58, No 1 | a3027 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v58i1.3027 | © 2024 Francois P. Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 October 2023 | Published: 29 March 2024

About the author(s)

Francois P. Viljoen, Unit for Reformed Theology, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Abstract

This article investigates the attribute of God’s wisdom in Matthew’s Gospel as personified in the ministry of his Son, Jesus. This Gospel identifies Jesus as ‘Immanuel’. He is ‘God with us’. The focus falls on several statements exhibiting wisdom motifs that are either uttered by or ascribed to Jesus. These statements are quite puzzling and continue to evoke scholarly discussion. The central theoretical argument of this article is that these statements cannot be fully understood without considering the echoes of the Jewish context exhibited in them. The objective of his investigation is to demonstrate how the recognition of similarities between the statements in Matthew and in Jewish literature contribute towards the understanding of wisdom statements in the Matthean Gospel. This article therefore begins by identifying key wisdom motifs within Jewish tradition, followed by an investigation of wisdom sayings in Matthew. Parallels in Luke are considered to sharpen peculiarities of Matthew’s narration. From this investigation it became clear that the ministry of Jesus in Matthew is met with similar reactions as that of Wisdom in Jewish literature. The article accentuates a significant dimension of Matthew’s Christology. Matthew vindicates Jesus against his opponents and justifies Jesus’ acceptance within the Matthean community. For this community, he is not only recognised as wise teacher, but even the one who reveals and personifies wisdom. As ‘Immanuel’, he presents the attribute of God’s wisdom.

Contribution: This article contributes to the ongoing scholarly discussion of several puzzling and seemingly obscure statements echoing wisdom motifs, either attributed to or uttered by Jesus.


Keywords

wisdom; Lady Wisdom; attributes of God; Gospel of Matthew; wise; concealment; revelation; mystery; Sophia

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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