For I say to you, that unless your righteousness excels beyond that of the scribes and Pharisees you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven!
Any student or critical reader of the Gospels immediately notices the stark differences in their portrait of Jesus and the teachings attributed to him. This is most pronounced in the Jesus of the synoptic gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke—and John’s Jesus. Additionally, each gospel account gives radically different theological views on what Jesus taught concerning salvation. And this is complicated further by taking into consideration Paul’s claims about Jesus and salvation. Here, I’d like to limit myself to a couple of observations about Matthew’s Jesus, who teaches that righteousness, above and beyond Torah righteousness, is the sole criterion for salvation.
The Gospel of Matthew is quite clear in this regard: salvation, its Jesus teaches, only comes through acting, being, and conducting oneself righteously, and moreover a … Read more