While this may indeed be the way Matthew intended this to be understood, I
think you ought to consider whether Matthew stands alone in the canon,
whether Gal 3:26-28 and the Lucan parable of the Good Samaritan have any
bearing on how you understand Mt 25. And are you prepared to take equally
seriously what Jesus says in Mt 5:17-20 about the permanence of the Mosaic
Law (in this world-age, at least)? I still think, moreover, that the
question is real and important whether this eschatological teaching about
Last Judgment represents the teaching of Jesus directly or through the
filtration of Matthew's redaction.
I'm not proposing any answers here; I'm only expressing a view that the
canon of the NT is larger than any one part of it and that there may well
be a number of factors involved in interpreting any one part.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com