The man of St Matthew



Introduction to the Passion

All four Gospels tell the same story of the Passion of Jesus in outline even though they are very different in the details of the story. That is particularly true as we will see for the accounts of Matthew and Mark. At first glance they seem similar but the differences become evident when we look more closely.

We will as usual read Matthew's Passion Story comparing it with Mark. We will refer to the accounts of Luke and John when that is helpful.

Matthew chapters 26-28: Introduction

These last three chapters of the Gospel are the story of Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection, the story outlined by Jesus in 20,18-19 in the third prediction of his fate.

Traditionally, the two chapters of the passion are read separately from the chapter of the resurrection, chapter 28. What will become apparent is that there is continuity between chapters 27 and 28. As a consequence, we will see how the story which begins in 26,1 continues through to 28,15.

It's good to consider therefore how 25,31-46 and 28,16-20 provide the frame for this story.

For both practical and traditional reasons, we will first look at chapters 26 and 27 together. We will then look more closely at this further continuity when we come to the end of chapter 27 and see how this leads into chapter 28.

Chapters 26-27: Overview

The Passion is a story which only much later was divided into two chapters. As we have seen before, here too we will find that the chapter division is in the wrong place. It's best therefore to make our overview of the two chapters together. We will though read the chapters separately as we have always done.

We begin therefore by reading the whole story, the two chapters. Our aim to get the overall flow of the story and the different scenes; at this stage we are not concerned about the details. What are the major scenes of the story? Sometimes a change of place gives us the clue, elsewhere the way a scene is dominated by one or more people is significant. Consider as well why I think the chapter division is in the wrong place.

The take a look at my response.

Chapter 26 Reading Plan

From the outline of the story we saw in the response, we can read the chapter in four pages:

Matthew and Mark

Matthew's story of the Passion is on the surface similar to Mark's story, Mark chapters 14 & 15. Read the two accounts together, noting what Matthew has left out and what he has added. We will be picking up these differences as we read.

It is also useful to look at what preceeds the passion in the two Gospels. This in itself begins to show us how two similar tales can have a quite different purpose.

Then take a look at my response

Now that we have had our overview, we can move on to the introduction and opening scene of the Passion, Mt 26,1-16.