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Showing posts from September 22, 2013

Matthew's "Tabernacle"

The Tabernacle motif, though implicit, plays a critical role in the Matthean narrative. The Tent of Meeting or Tabernacle symbolized, literally, God’s presence among God’s people (Exodus 35-40). In the 40-year sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness, God was always with them via the Tabernacle, a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. In other words, where the Tabernacle was, there was God. Matthew begins and ends with Immanuel, God-with-us (1.23, 28:20). Thus, the Gospel effectively sets the boundaries of its own “tabernacle.” Matthew creates a world of insiders and outsiders relative to this “tabernacle.” 1 And right at the middle of this “tent” is the greatest symbol of faith in the gospel—the centurion (Matthew 8:10). The encounter between the centurion and Jesus, according to Musa Dube (in Postcolonial Feminist Interpretation of the Bible), particularly highlights Matthew’s stance toward the Empire. Both men are presented as having authority to effect thin…