The man of St Matthew


Chapter 16: Overview

Chapter 16 is a short chapter, just 28 verses, but we will see that how its second part continues into the following chapter.

Generally, Matthew is continuing to follow Mark, Mk 8,11-9,1.
There is one significant omission, the healing of the blind man, Mk 8,22-26. This healing of the blind man together with the earlier healing of the deaf mute (Mk 7,32-37) which Matthew also omits are important markers in Mark's story. As such, they were not so important for this evangelist.

The first half of the chapter, 16,1-12, is dominated by the unusual combination of Pharisees and Sadducees and Jesus' reaction to them. They are mentioned in 16,1 and 16,12 which makes them a bracket for the scene; they also appear in verses 6 and 11. (We've seen how the previous chapter begins with the more usual combination of Pharisees and scribes, 15,1.)
This encounter therefore gives us our first page for our reading.

Caesarea Philippi - and a Mountain: Mt 16,13-17,13

One look at the second half of chapter 16 and we will be well aware of its traditional importance for the Catholic Church. It is though a complex episode as well as being part of a longer passage which is continued in chapter 17. Let us now look at this more closely.

In 16,13, we are told that Jesus arrives at Caesarea Philippi with his disciples. He has been with the disciples since 16,5 so it is the change of place which marks the new beginning.

The disciples or some of them then remain with Jesus until well into the next chapter. Where do we next find a change of audience?
Consider as well how the final verses before that change of audience return to the subject at the beginning of the passage. In other words, look for a bracket. See what Matthew has added to Mk 9,13 with 17,13..

If I take this change of audience as the next new beginning, look for the markers indicating the scenes after 16,13 which make up this passage. What as a result are the four scenes in this episode?

Significant for this reading is the way that Matthew in 16,24 has changed Mk 8,34.

All this may seem somewhat enigmatic but remember that the answers are there in the text.
Look now at my response.

We are ready therefore for our reading of our first part of the chapter, an encounter with the Pharisees and Sadducees, 16,1-12.