The man of St Matthew

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW

THE FINAL DISCOURSE: Mt 24-25

This discourse is final in two ways. It is the last of the five discourses which are the notable feature of this Gospel. It is also final because it speaks of the last days. The question of the future needs to be addressed by the evangelist and the place in the Gospel to do this is at the end of Jesus's ministry and before the beginning of the Passion.

In our overview earlier of the five chapters telling of Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem, we saw how this discourse has the same ending as the other four but with an added "all": When Jesus had finished saying all these things (26,1).
We also saw that the discourse begins not in 24,1 as is commonly said but rather with Jesus sitting on the Mount of Olives and the disciples asking him two questions (24,3-4). Jesus' answer begins in 24,5.

We have therefore one discourse covering two chapters, 24,3-25,46. As usual, we can wonder if the chapter boundary is in the right place. Let us now look at the discourse as a whole.

Overview: Mt 24-25

What is the setting for this discourse? Once again check back to 5,1 (as we did in our overview of all these chapters).

Chapter 25 is easy, we can see that it is made up of three stories one of which is a grand finale.

For chapter 24 it is less easy to see how it is composed. For much of the chapter we can see how Matthew is following Mark chapter 13 before going his own way.

Looking at the first half of chapter 24, there is a break which ought to be easy to spot. Look for the formal proclamation by Jesus.

What are the two questions asked by the disciples in 24,4 and then consider how Jesus answer them.

What is the last section which Matthew has in common with Mark? What is the last verse which is the same as Mark?

How does Matthew continue after that? Note how he builds up to a climax at the end of chapter 25.

As we have seen a number of times, this sort of questioning begins to open up the discourse for us. We can therefore go to my response and then look at our reading plan for the chapter.

Now we can go on to read the opening of the discourse, Mt 24,3-14.