As seen from the perspective of Matthew's Gospel, the nature of Christian discipleship requires self-attestation through good works and a conspicuous lifestyle. Hence it is necessary to underscore the importance of Christian ethics and the character of bona fide righteousness. The ethical tenor of much of the material in Matthew can be understood against the background of the Jewish-Christian community's becoming increasingly Gentile-Christian as well as the early church's relationship to first-century Judaism. What is striking is the degree to which the halakah advanced by Jesus himself appears to stand in continuity with the OT. The "greater righteousness" called for by Jesus does not stand in juxtaposition to the ethical standard enunciated in the law and the prophets. Rather, it is to be understood against the ethical deficiencies of contemporary establishment religion.

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