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Given the ideologically divided, tension-filled world in which we live, imagine hearing someone tell you how God can work through these divisions in a way that offers hope and healing for the world. The author suggests that this is exactly what Matthew sought to do in his gospel. The Hebrew Scriptures tell the story of how God chose to accomplish a divine work of reconciliation through a chosen people who demonstrated the same strengths and weaknesses as most people in the world today. Matthew interpreted the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the midrash, or commentary on these Hebrew Scriptures, that revealed how God works with both the shadow side and the bright side of our human nature to accomplish the divine purpose. The contemporary church, in a similar manner to Matthew's congregation, must determine the church's response to a world divided between the powerful and the powerless (Chapter 1), the Christian faith and other faiths (Chapter 2), male and female (Chapter 3), and the wealthy and the poor (Chapter 4).
Following an interpretation of how Matthew found hope in the face of such divisions, the fifth chapter recognizes that most contemporary churches feel helpless in the face of such overwhelming realities. The author then describes Matthew's understanding of how God works through resistance and even betrayal to transform the world. The final chapter explores God's intention to bring about a common witness of Jews and Christians in the reconciliation of the entire world. This book will provide a vision of hope that will enable Christians to respond with strength to the challenges of the world and have confidence that their efforts are not in vain. A study guide is included in the introduction. You may reach the author on his web page at www.smccutchan.com.