The man of St Matthew


Jesus in Jerusalem, Matthew 21-25

At the beginning of chapter 21, we are told that Jesus is approaching Jerusalem. There follow five chapters which are mostly teaching by Jesus to various audiences in the Temple before the passion story begins in 26,1. It is as well for us to take an overview now of these chapters.

We can begin at the end by seeing how these chapters conclude in 26,1. There is a phrase that is familiar to us by now. If 26,1 is a conclusion, where then is the beginning of that discourse? Look back and compare with 5,1 to find this beginning. Where is Jesus in both, what is his posture, to whom is he speaking?

Then in order to get our framework for reading these chapters, we need to look at the various audiences to whom Jesus is speaking. We can go into more detail as we read.

Therefore, make a list of the incidents in these five chapters; the subheadings in your Bibles will be enough. Now compare these chapters of Matthew with the three chapters of Mark which also tell of Jesus' time in the Temple, Mark chapters 11,12 & 13. What has Matthew added and what has he ommitted?
Why is it better to read chapter 22 with chapter 21?

Just note at this stage how the first half of chapter 21 is similar to Mark chapter 11 but has been re-arranged by Matthew. We will look at this more closely in the next section.

Now take a look at my response.

Chapters 21: Overview

We have seen that chapter 22 continues chapter 21, though chapter 21 has its own ending. See the conclusion in 22,46.

How has Matthew re-arranged Mark chapter 11?

Chapter 21 has a clear beginning. Look for the two major breaks in the chapter. There are also two similar statements which are actually quite minor as breaks.

The middle has a key word or theme. However, the one Greek word can be translated by two or three words in English. Look carefully therefore.

The clue to what I am suggesting is that Matthew has given the incident with the fig tree (21,18-22) a different purpose to Mark.

Now, look at my response and the three pages for our reading.

Now we can go on to read the entry into Jerusalem and the Temple, 21,1-17.