THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW

 

1. Who wrote the Gospel of Matthew?

1.1. Internal Evidence

The Gospel of Matthew is anonymous: there is no internal, direct evidence for authorship. Sometime early in the second-century the Gospel of Matthew was designated as such. (This at least offers prima facie evidence that the apostle Matthew wrote this work.)  As far as internal, indirect evidence is concerned, three data should be noted.

1.1.1. Much of the teaching material unique to the Gospel of Matthew is only fully understandable by and of interest to a Jewish readership:

  • Matt 5:17-20: Sayings relating to Jesus’ view of the Law in relation to the Kingdom of Heaven
  • Matt 5:33-37: Jesus’ teaching about the taking of oaths
  • Matt 6:1-4: Jesus’ teaching about almsgiving
  • Matt 6:16-18: Jesus’ teaching about fasting
  • Matt 22:1-14: Jesus’ parable speaking to Israel’s status upon its rejection of Jesus
  • Matt 23: An extended version of Jesus’ evaluation of the Pharisees.

What does this suggest about the identity of the author of the Gospel of Matthew?

It suggests that he was a Jew, because a gentile would tend not to be interested in such teaching tradition.

1.1.2. The author of the Gospel of Matthew, more than the other synoptic writers, explicitly cites Old Testament messianic prophecies as having been fulfilled by Jesus. This is best illustrated in Matt 1-3:1: Matt 1:23 = Isa 7:14; Matt 2:6 = Micah 5:2; Matt 2:15 = Hosea 11:1; Matt 2:18 = Jer 31:15. What can one conclude from this about the identity of the author of the Gospel of Matthew? What kind of author would be interested in Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy?

It suggests that the author was a Jew, since a Jew would be concerned to understand Jesus as such.

1.1.3. Only the Gospel of Matthew refers to "Matthew the tax collector" in the list of the disciples (Matt 10:3; see 9:9-13). (Being a tax-collector was not something in which to take pride in Jewish culture.)  What might you conclude from this about the identity of the author of the Gospel of Matthew?

It is possible that this was an attempt at self-depreciating sort of self-identification on the part of the author.

1.2. External Evidence

1.2.1. The earliest piece of external, direct evidence for the authorship of the Gospel of Matthew derives from Papias (60-130), as quoted by Eusebius. Papias makes the following obscure statement about the origin of the gospel (H.E. 3.39.16):

"Matthew composed the sayings in the Hebrew language and everyone interpreted as he was able."

Although it probably best reflects the meaning of Papias' statement, this translation is not certain. The following are legitimate questions.

A. Does the verb translated above as "composed" mean that or "compiled" or "arranged"?

B. Does the word translated above as “sayings” (logia) mean that or “gospel”? That it could mean the latter is implied by Papias’ use of the word in the title of his work, Interpretation of the Lord’s Logia: it is arguable that by "Lord's logia" Papias means “gospels.” This is strengthened by the fact that Papias claimed that Mark made an arrangement of the logia of the Lord, the result of which is the Gospel of Mark. Clearly, in this context the logia include not only what Jesus said but also what he did (“the things said or done by the Lord”) (H.E. 3.39.15).

C. Does the phrase translated as "in the Hebrew language" mean that or "in the Aramaic language"? The Greek term translated as "Hebrew" can mean both Hebrew and Aramaic.

D. Does the word translated as "interpreted" mean that or "translated"?

These other translation possibilities render any interpretation of the meaning Papias' statement uncertain.

1.2.2. There are other early sources that also claim that Matthew wrote a gospel in Hebrew or Aramaic.

A. Irenaeus (130-200) (Adv. Haer. 3.1.1; also quoted by Eusebius, H.E. 5.8.2): "Now Matthew brought forth among the Hebrews a written gospel in their language, while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome and founding the church." By “Hebrews” Irenaeus probably meant Palestinian Jews. The language that Jews in Palestine would have spoken was Aramaic, although many Jews had a literary knowledge of Hebrew.

B. Origen (185-254) (as quoted by Eusebius, H.E. 6. 25.3-4) asserts, "Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a tax collector, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew [or Aramaic] language."

C. There is a tradition cited by Eusebius, alleged to have originated with a man named Pantaenos (died c. 190), who was associated with the church in Alexandria, that there once existed a Gospel of Matthew written “in Hebrew letters” (H.E. 5.10.1-4): “One of these was Pantaenos, and it is said that he went to the Indians, and the tradition is that he found there among some of those there who had known Christ the Gospel of Matthew had preceded his coming; for Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached to them and had left the writing of Matthew in Hebrew letters, which was preserved until the time mentioned” (see H.E. 3.24.5-6). According to Jerome, Pantaenos brought back a copy of this Hebrew version of Matthew to Alexandria (De vir. ill. 36).

D. Eusebius reports the view current in his time is that Matthew's gospel was based on his preaching to Palestinian Jews, whose first language no doubt would have been Aramaic. Naturally, Matthew's gospel would have been written in Aramaic. He writes, "For Matthew, who had at first preached to the Hebrews, when he was about to go to other peoples, committed his Gospel to writing in his native tongue, and thus compensated those whom he was obliged to leave for the loss of his presence" (H.E. 3.24.6).

E. Jerome (342-420) more than once asserts that Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew, and says that it is not known with certainty who translated it into Greek. He even claims that the original Hebrew gospel can be found in the library at Caesarea (De vir. ill. 3; see Ad Damas. 20; Ad Hedib. 4). Jerome sometimes refers to this Hebrew Gospel of Matthew in order to clarify the meaning of the Greek text.

F. In describing the Jewish Christian sect known as the Nazarenes, Epiphanius (315-403) writes, "They have the Gospel according to Matthew quite complete in Hebrew, for this Gospel is certainly still preserved among them as it was first written, in Hebrew letters" (Panarion 29.9.4). It seems that he is referring to the same Hebrew version of Matthew known to Jerome.

If Papias means by logia "gospel," then there exist seven relatively early testimonies to the fact that Matthew the tax collector wrote a gospel in Hebrew or Aramaic. What might you conclude about the composition of the Gospel of Matthew from this evidence?

It is possible to conclude that the apostle Matthew wrote his gospel originally in Hebrew or Aramaic. In fact, the evidence seems compelling that he did so. But whether Matthew composed a gospel in Hebrew or Aramaic is unclear. It is not inconceivable that both existed.

1.2.3. The Gospel of Matthew accepted into the canon of the church is written in Greek. This means that, if one accepts the testimony of the early church fathers, one must assume that at some point the original Hebrew or Aramaic Gospel of Matthew was translated into Greek. But this is possible only if one rejects the priority of Mark. If one assumes that the author of Matthew used Mark as a source, which is probable (rather than assuming that the Gospel of Mark is an abbreviation of Matthew or that they are literarily independent), it is impossible to hold that the canonical Gospel of Matthew is a translation of an original Hebrew or Aramaic version of the gospel. In this case, the logia that, according to Papias, Matthew composed, must refer to something other than the complete Aramaic or Hebrew equivalent of the Greek Gospel of Matthew, but may nonetheless have some connection to it. It has been suggested that the logia are a sayings collection (the so-called Q-source), which, although originally written in Aramaic or Hebrew, was translated into Greek and became a source for the author of the Gospel of Matthew. This hypothesis would be possible, however, only if Jerome and others were in error about the existence of the original Hebrew version of Matthew, since this sayings collection would only amount to the double tradition and could scarcely be mistaken for a full gospel. One could argue that what the early church thought was the original Hebrew version of Matthew was actually a translation of the original Greek Matthew, but such a position will be merely hypothetical. In summary, the evidence that Matthew wrote a gospel in Aramaic or Hebrew is too strong to dismiss out of hand, but equally the evidence that Matthew used Mark as a literary source cannot easily be set aside. Unless further evidence is uncovered the question about the origin of the Gospel of Matthew must remain unanswerable.

1.3. What do you conclude about the authorship of the Gospel of Matthew?

The authorship of the Gospel of Matthew is something of a puzzle. It is unlikely that the canonical Matthew represents a straightforward translation of an original Aramaic or Hebrew version composed by the apostle Matthew, since the author of the Gospel of Matthew probably used the Gospel of Mark as a source. Nevertheless, it is probably safe to conclude that the apostle Matthew wrote something in Aramaic or Hebrew that has some connection to the canonical Gospel of Matthew. But what exactly that text was and its connection to the canonical Matthew is difficult to determine.

1.4. Matthew, son of Alpheus (Mark 2:13), the author of a Hebrew or Aramaic gospel, a Greek gospel or both, is one of Jesus' twelve disciples. He is mentioned five times in the New Testament. While in Capernaum, he is called by Jesus to become a disciple while sitting in the customhouse; he gave up his no doubt lucrative tax collecting franchise (Matt 9:9). In Mark 2:13 and Luke 5:27, his name is given as Levi: it would seem that Levi was his original name and he later assumed the name Matthew (Maththaios). Immediately after he was called, Matthew held a banquet in Jesus' honor, which was attended by fellow tax collectors and other sinners (Mark 2:13-17; Matt 9:9-13; Luke 5:27-32). The other four references to Matthew occur in lists of the apostles (Matt 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). Little else is known about his life. According to Irenaeus, Matthew preached the good news to the Hebrews, by which is probably meant Palestinian Jews (Adv. Haer. 3.1.1). Eusebius confirms this, and adds that after a time he left to preach to other peoples (H.E. 3.24.6). Clement of Alexandria preserves the peculiar tradition that for moral reasons Matthew was a vegetarian: "And happiness is found in the practice of virtue. Accordingly, the apostle Matthew partook of seeds, and nuts, and vegetables, without flesh" (Paed. 2.1). Whether this is true or not is difficult to know. He also claims to preserve a saying for which Matthew was known: "They say in the traditions that Matthew the apostle constantly said, 'If the neighbor of an elect man sin, the elect man has sinned. For had he conducted himself as the Word prescribes, his neighbor also would have been filled with such reverence for the life he led as not to sin'" (Strom. 7.13).
 

2. For whom was the Gospel of Matthew written?

2.1. From the data covered when considering the question of the authorship of the Gospel of Matthew, who do you think the intended readers were? In particular, who would be interested in reading a gospel with traditions about Jesus that are only fully understandable by and of interest to a Jewish readership and who would most want to understand Jesus’ life as fulfilling Old Testament messianic prophecies?

Internal, indirect evidence for the intended readership of the Gospel of Matthew is the fact that much of the teaching material unique to the Gospel of Matthew is only fully understandable by and of interest to a Jewish readership. Also, the concern of the author to present the fulfillment nature of Jesus' ministry would be primarily of interest to Jews, those who know the Hebrew scriptures and for whom these scriptures are authoritative. In summary, these two data imply that the intended readers were Jews.

2.2. That the author wrote for a Jewish readership is confirmed, if the external, direct evidence that Matthew wrote a gospel in Hebrew or Aramaic for Jews is correct and if this original text has some connection to the canonical Gospel of Matthew, written in Greek. This explains why the Ebionites, the conservative Jewish-Christian sect, accepted only the Gospel of Matthew as canonical (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 1.26.2; 3.11.7).
 

3. When was the Gospel of Matthew written?

3.1. Internal Evidence

There is no internal, direct evidence for the date of the composition of the Gospel of Matthew. There is, however, a piece of internal, indirect evidence to consider. The Gospel of Matthew transmits several sayings of Jesus that concern the role of the Temple in the life of the Jewish people (Matt 5:23-24; 12:5-7; 17:24-27; 23:16-22). On the assumption that the author would not include sayings of Jesus that were no longer relevant to his readers, it might be argued that the Gospel of Matthew was written before the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. Do you find this convincing?

This datum is suggestive, but not certain evidence for a pre-70 date. It might be that the author is simply being historically accurate including these sayings.

 

ADD = Matt 22:7 Some claim that this indicates redaction (compared with the Q version in Luke) and so must be after 70 AD

 

3.2. External Evidence

3.2.1. There is external evidence with which to determine a terminus ad quem for the Gospel of Matthew.

A. Ignatius used the Gospel of Matthew c. 100; he quoted the phrase "to fulfill all righteousness" (Matt 3:15) in discussing Jesus' baptism (Smyr. 1).

B. The author of the Didache (c. 110) quoted from Matthew's version of the Lord's prayer (Did. 8:1-3).

C. Even earlier, Clement of Rome (c. 90) used sections of the Gospel of Matthew in a conflated quotation (Matt 5:7; 6:14-15; 7:1-2, 12; also Luke 6:31, 36-38) (1 Clem. 13:1-2).

From these data, what do you conclude is the terminus ad quem of the Gospel of Matthew?

The Gospel of Matthew was in general circulation before 90, and was therefore written sometime before that.

3.2.2. On the assumption that the author of the Gospel of Matthew used the Gospel of Mark as a source, what is the terminus a quo of the Gospel of Matthew?

The Gospel of Matthew could not have been written before Mark (mid-60's).
 

4. Where was the Gospel of Matthew written?

Based on what you know so far, what do you conclude about the place of the composition of the Gospel of Matthew?

The Gospel of Matthew was probably written in or near Palestine, where there were many Jewish believers. This is true both of the Hebrew or Aramaic gospel attributed to Matthew and the Greek version.
 

5. What is the Gospel of Matthew?

5.1 Introduction

5.1.1 Since the Gospel of Matthew contains 90% of Mark's material, mostly in the same order, it is not surprising that it shares the basic structure of the Gospel of Mark. That is, Matthew has a Galilean period of Jesus' ministry, followed by Jesus' journey to Jerusalem, his arrest, crucifixion and resurrection. In the Gospel of Matthew the major transition occurs in Matt 19:1 (= Mark 10:1), when Jesus leaves Galilee for Judea. As in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus goes to Judea, in order to allow himself to be arrested and executed, which is made clear in Matt 20:17-19 (= Mark 10:33). Also, as in Mark, Jesus foreshadows his decision to go to Judea by predicting that he will be put to death in Matt 16:21 (= Mark 8:31) and Matt 17:22-23 (= Mark 9:31).

5.1.2. The section before the major transition can be divided into four sections, the last three of which have parallels in the Gospel of Mark: Prologue (1:1-2:23); Preparation for Jesus' Ministry (3:1-4:11 = Mark 1:1-13); The First Phase of Jesus' Ministry in Galilee (4:12-13:58 = Mark 1:14-6:13); The Second Phase of Jesus' Galilean Ministry (14:1-20:34 = Mark 6:14-8:26).

5.1.3. The section after the major transition can be broken down into two sub-sections, as in the Gospel of Mark: The Judean Period of Jesus' Ministry (21:1-25:46 = Mark 11:1-13:37); The Passion and Resurrection Narratives (26:1-28:20 = Mark 14:1-16:8).

5.1.4. But, with respect to its literary structure, the Gospel of Matthew cannot simply be understood as being a "clone" of the Gospel of Mark. Although it shares the geographical structure of the Gospel of Mark, Matthew exhibits another literary structure, defined by genre. In the gospel, there are found five units of narrative and teaching material, clearly distinguished from one another. The teaching sections follow narrative sections, and conclude with similar summary statements ("And it happened when Jesus finished..."). (This is not to say that there is no teaching material outside of these sections.) To these are joined the Prologue (1:1-2:23) and the Passion and Resurrection Narratives (26:1-28:20), producing a seven-part structure. This structure is marked enough that one must conclude that it was intended by the author.

5.2. Outline of the Gospel of Matthew

A. 1:1-2:23

In the Prologue is found Jesus' genealogy, his birth and events in his early life.

1. 1:1-17

Jesus' genealogy is presented.

2. 1:18-25

Jesus' birth is foretold to Mary, his mother. She is pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, plans to break off their engagement, but is set straight by an angel of the Lord in a dream and told to call Mary's child Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Jesus' birth by a virgin is said to be a fulfillment of Isa 7:14.

3. 2:1-12

Magi from the east visit the infant Jesus, presenting him with gifts. Jesus' birth in Bethlehem is said to be in fulfillment of Micah 5:2. Herod attempts to learn of Jesus' whereabouts from the magi, who are warned in a dream not to return to Herod and give him the information that he wants.

4. 2:13-15

Being warned in a dream, Joseph flees with his family to Egypt. His return is said to be a fulfillment of Hosea 11:1.

5. 2:16-18

In an attempt to kill Jesus, whom he considers a potential threat, Herod kills all the boys in Bethlehem under the age of two. This is said to fulfil Jer 31:15.

6. 2:19-23

When Herod dies, an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph, telling him to take his family return from Egypt back to Israel. He obeys, and settles in Nazareth in Galilee, which is said to be a fulfillment of the prophets that Jesus shall be called a Nazarene.

B. 3:1-7:29 Unit One

1. 3:1-4:25 Narrative Section

a. 3:1-12 = Mark 1:1-8 (John the Baptist)

b. 3:13-17 = Mark 1:9-11 (Jesus' baptism)

c. 4:1-11 = Mark 1:12-13 (Jesus' temptations)

In Matthew is included a description of Jesus' three temptations: to turn stones into bread; to jump from the highest point of the Temple; to worship Satan in exchange for all the kingdoms of the world.

d. 4:12-17 = Mark 1:14-15 (The beginning of Jesus' Galilean ministry)

e. 4:18-22 = Mark 1:16-20 (Jesus' calling of four disciples)

f. 4:23-25

Jesus is said to have gone throughout Galilee, teaching, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing. His fame spreads throughout all Syria and people bring to him their sick and demon possessed. Great crowds followed him.

2. Teaching Section (The Sermon on the Mount)

a. 5:1-2

After he goes up the mountain and sits down, Jesus' disciples come to him.

b. 5:3-12

Jesus teaches the beatitudes.

c. 5:13-16

Jesus teaches that his followers are the salt of the earth and light.

d. 5:17-20 Jesus teaches that he has not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfil it. The Law remains binding in the Kingdom of Heaven, and the righteousness of his hearers must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees to be able to enter the kingdom.

e. 5:21-26

Jesus teaches that anger is the same as murder and how to handle conflict with another brother.

f. 5:27-30

Jesus teaches that merely lusting after a woman is adultery. Using hyperbole, Jesus says that it is better to give up anything rather than be thrown into Gehenna.

g. 5:31-32

Jesus teaches that whoever divorces his wife causes her to commit adultery and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

h. 5:33-37

Jesus teaches that a person should not take an oath, but tell the truth at all times.

i. 5:38-42

Jesus teaches that a person must not take revenge, but not resist the evildoer.

j. 5:43-48

Jesus teaches that a person must love his enemies.

k. 6:1-4

Jesus teaches that a person must give alms in secret.

l. 6:5-15

Jesus teaches that a person must pray in secret, not using useless repetition. He gives his hearers the Lord's prayer.

m. 6:16-18

Jesus teaches that fasting must be done so that no one knows one is fasting.

n. 6:19-21

Jesus teaches that a person must store up treasures in heaven.

o. 6:22-23

Jesus teaches that the eye is lamp of the body and that when the eye is healthy the whole body is full of light.

p. 6:24

Jesus teaches that a person cannot serve both God and money.

q. 6:25-34

Jesus says to his hearers that since they are more valuable to God than anything else that they should not be anxious about anything, but trust God to supply all their needs.

r. 7:1-5

Jesus teaches that a person should not judge others or else he will be judged by the same criteria by which he judges others. Jesus also warns against hypocritical judging.

s. 7:6

Jesus warns against giving what is holy to dogs or throw pearls before swine.

t. 7:7-11

Jesus teaches that a person should ask God for good things in prayer and God will give what is requested.

u. 7:12

Jesus teaches that a person should treat others as he would like to be treated.

v. 7:13-14

Jesus teaches that a person must be careful to enter the narrow gate, otherwise he will find himself on the road to destruction, whose gate is wide and road easy.

w. 7:15-23

Jesus teaches that a person will be known by their actions, in the same way that a tree is known by its fruit.

x. 7:24-27

Jesus says that anyone who hears his words and acts upon them is like a wise man who builds upon a foundation of rock. The one who does not is like a foolish man who builds upon the sand.

3. 7:28-29 Summary Statement

C. 8:1-11:1a Unit Two

1. 8:1-10:4 Narrative Section

a. 8:1-4 = Mark 1:40-45 (Jesus' healing of a leper)

b. 8:5-13

In Capernaum, Jesus heals the servant of a Roman centurion. He comments that he has not found such faith in all of Israel. He adds that many will come east and west to eat with the patriarchs in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into outer darkness.

c. 8:14-17 = Mark 1:29-34 (Jesus' healing of Peter's mother-in-law and others)

d. 8:18-22

Jesus orders that he and his disciples go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. In reply to the declaration of a scribe that he will follow him wherever he goes, Jesus says that the son of man has no place to lay his head. When another of his disciples asks Jesus to let him first bury his father, Jesus tells him to follow him and let the dead bury the dead.

e. 8:23-27 = Mark 4:35-41 (Jesus' calming of storm)

f. 8:28-34 = Mark 5:1-20 (Jesus' exorcism of demoniac)

g. 9:1-8 = Mark 2:1-12 (Jesus' healing of a paralytic)

h. 9:9-13 = Mark 2:13-17 (Jesus' calling of Matthew [Levi])

i. 9:14-17 = Mark 2:18-22 (Jesus' response to criticism that his disciples do not fast)

j. 9:18-26 = Mark 5:21-43 (Jesus' healing of woman with bleeding problem and raising of Jairus' daughter)

k. 9:27-31

Jesus heals two blind men.

l. 9:32-34

Jesus heals a dumb man

m. 9:35-38

It is said that, being motivated by compassion for the people, Jesus goes about preaching and healing. Following this, Jesus requests that his disciples pray for more harvesters.

n. 10:1-4 = Mark 3:13-19 (Jesus' calling of his disciples)

2. 10:5-42 Teaching Section

a. 10:5-15 (see Mark 6:7-13)

Jesus sending out of his disciples to proclaim the good news to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, heal, raise the dead, cleanse lepers and cast out demons. They are to travel with minimum supplies, and rely upon the hospitality. If rejected by a town, they are to shake off the dust from their feet and leave.

b. 10:16-25 (see Mark 13:9-13)

Jesus predicts that the disciples will be persecuted. When they are handed over to judicial officials they are not to worry about what they will say, but the Holy Spirit will speak through them. Only the one who endures to end of this period of tribulation will be saved. The disciples will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the son of man comes.

c. 10:26-31

Jesus teaches that a person should fear God, who can kill body and soul, rather than men, who can only kill the body.

d. 10:32-33

Jesus promises that whoever confesses him before men he will confess before the Father.

e. 10:34-39

Jesus says that he has come not to bring peace, but a sword.

f. 10:40-42 (see Mark 9:41)

Jesus teaches that whoever welcomes a person who comes in his name welcomes him and the one who sent him. Likewise whoever welcomes a prophet or a righteous man will receive a reward. The person who gives a cup of water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple will receive a reward.

3. 11:1a Summary Statement

D. 11:1b-13:53a Unit Three

1. 11:1b-12:50 Narrative Section

a. 11:1

It is said that Jesus goes to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.

b. 11:2-19

John the Baptist's emissaries ask Jesus whether he is the one who is to come. Jesus responds by saying that John should decide based on what has happened: the blind see; the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed; the dead are raised; the poor hear good news. Jesus then interprets John as the fulfillment of Mal 3:1, and says that, although John is the greatest born of woman, the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. He adds that from the days of John until the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence and violent men take hold of it. He also says that John in Elijah who is to come.

c. 11:20-24

Jesus pronounces woes on unrepentant cities, for they will be condemned on the day of judgment.

d. 11:25-27

Jesus thanks God that he has revealed these things to his disciples, and hidden them from the wise. He says that God has given all things to the son, no one knows the son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the son and they to whom the son chooses to reveal him.

e. 11:28-30

Jesus invites all who are weary to come unto him and he will give them rest, for his burden is easy and his yoke is light.

f. 12:1-8 = Mark 2:23-28 (Jesus' defense of his disciples for plucking grain on the Sabbath)

g. 12:9-14 = Mark 3:1-6 (Jesus' healing of a man with a withered hand)

h. 12:15-21

Jesus is depicted as the servant, the fulfillment of Isa 42:1-4.

i. 12:22-32 = Mark 3:20-30 (Jesus and Beelzebub)

In Matthew, is found Jesus' saying that if he casts out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of heaven has come (Matt 12:27-28) and the saying that whoever is not for Jesus is against him (Matt 12:30).

j. 12:33-37

Jesus says that every tree is known by its fruit, and then rebukes his hearers for being evil. The good person brings from the heart good treasure, whereas the evil brings evil treasure. Jesus then warns that on the day of judgment a person will be justified or condemned by his words.

k. 12:38-42 (see Mark 8:11-13)

The Pharisees' demand for a sign from Jesus, who refuses to give a sign except the sign of Jonah: just as Jonah spent three days and nights in the stomach of a fist, so the son of man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and nights. Jesus warns that the men of Nineveh and the queen of the south will condemn his generation, because something greater than Jonah and Solomon has appeared.

l. 12:43-45

Jesus' compares the fate of his generation to the man re-possessed by demons, whose last fate is worse than his first.

m. 12:46-50 = Mark 3:31-35 (Jesus' true mother and brothers)

2. 13:1-53a Teaching Section

a. 13:1-9 = Mark 4:1-9 (Parable of sower)

b. 13:10-17 = Mark 4:10-12 (Purpose of parables)

c. 13:18-23 = Mark 4:13-20 (Explanation of parable of sower)

d. 13:24-30

Jesus says that kingdom of heaven is comparable to a landowner whose enemy sows his field with weeds after it has been sown with wheat. The landowner decides to let the two types of plants grow together until harvest, at which time he separates them. The wheat he stores in his barn, whereas the weeds he burns.

e. 13:31-32 = Mark 4:30-32 (Parable of mustard seed)

f. 13:33

Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman mixes into dough and leavens the whole lump of dough (Matt 13:31).

g. 13:34-35 = Mark 4:33-34 (The use of parables)

h. 13:36-43

Jesus explains the parable of the wheat and the weeds at the request of his disciples. The son of man sows good seed in the field of the world, producing children of the kingdom. The devil sows bad seed, producing evildoers. At the end of the age, angels will remove from the kingdom all evildoers. The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

i. 13:44

Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like someone finding a treasure in a field and selling everything that he has in order to buy the field.

j. 13:45

Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant who, upon finding a valuable pearly, sells everything in order to buy it.

k. 13:47-50

Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a catch of fish that is separated into a good group and into a bad group. He explains that at the end of the age angels will come and separate the evil from the righteous.

l. 13:51-52

Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a man who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.

3. 13:53b Summary statement

E. 13:53b-19:1a Unit Four

1. 13:53b-17:27 Narrative Section

a. 13:53b-58 = Mark 6:1-6a (Rejection at Nazareth)

b. 14:1-12 = Mark 6:14-29 (The death of John the Baptist)

c. 14:13-21 = Mark 6:30-44 (Feeding of five thousand)

d. 14:22-33 = Mark 6:45-52 (Walking on water)

e. 14:34-36 = Mark 6:53-56 (Healing of sick in Gennesaret)

f. 15:1-20 = Mark 7:1-23 (Jesus' rejection of tradition of the fathers)

In Matthew a saying of Jesus occurs about the Pharisees being blind guides.

g. 15:21-28 = Mark 7:24-30 (Jesus' exorcism of the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman)

h. 15:29-31

When he has gone up the mountain, the crowds come to Jesus. He heals them.

i. 15:32-39 = Mark 8:1-10 (Feeding of four thousand)

j. 16:1-4 = Mark 8:11-13 (Demand for a sign)

In Matthew is found Jesus' saying that the Pharisees and Sadducees know how to read the sky, but cannot interpret the signs of the times (Matt 16:2-3) and the saying that no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah (Matt 16:4b).

k. 16:5-12 = Mark 8:14-21 (Warning of leaven of Pharisees and Herod)

l. 16:13-20 = Mark 8:27-30 (Peter's confession)

m. 16:21-23 = Mark 8:31-33 (Jesus' prediction of his death)

n. 16:24-28 = Mark 8:34-9:1 (Sayings on discipleship)

o. 17:1-13 = Mark 9:2-13 (Jesus' transfiguration)

p. 17:14-21 = Mark 9:14-29 (Healing of the boy with unclean spirit)

In Matthew is found Jesus' saying that the disciples have little and if they had the faith the size of a mustard they could command a mountain to be removed into the sea (Matt 17:20).

q. 17:22-23 = Mark 9:30-32 (Jesus' second prediction of his death)

r. 17:24-27

Jesus says that he and his disciples, being free, have no obligation to pay the Temple tax. But in order not to offend, he tells Peter to go and catch a fish in whose mouth he will find a coin to pay the tax for him and Jesus.

2. 18:1-18:35 Teaching Section

a. 18:1-5 = Mark 9:33-37 (Jesus' teaching about greatness)

b. 18:6-9 = Mark 9:42-48 (Sayings)

c. 18:10-14

Jesus compares the Father's attitude to "these little ones" to a shepherd who leaves ninety-nine sheep to look for the one lost sheep.

d. 18:15-20

Jesus explains the procedure by which to deal with a recalcitrant brother. The first step is to confront him; if that fails; one must take two or three witnesses. If that is unsuccessful, one must take the matter to the church, and, if that produces no results, the brother is to be expelled.

e. 18:21-35

Jesus tells Peter that he must forgive as many as "seventy times seven" times. Jesus then tells the parable of the unforgiving servant, who, although forgiven of a huge debt by his master, will not forgive someone who owes him a small amount. When the he discovers that the man he forgave is unforgiving, the master throws the man into prison until he pays back what he owes. Jesus says that this is how the Father will deal with those who do not forgive.

3. 19:1a Summary Statement

F. 19:1b-26:1a Unit Five

1. 19:1b-24:2 Narrative Section

a. 19:1b-12 = Mark 10:1-12 (Jesus' teaching on divorce)

b. 19:13-15 = Mark 10:13-16 (Jesus' blessing of children)

c. 19:16-30 = Mark 10:17-31 (Jesus' conversation with the rich, young ruler)

d. 20:1-16

Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who hires workers at different times of the day but pays them all the same wage.

e. 20:17-19 = Mark 10:32-34 (Jesus' third prediction of his death)

f. 20:20-28 = Mark 10:35-45 (The request of James and John)

g. 20:29-34 = Mark 10:46-52 (Jesus' healing of a blind beggar)

h. 21:1-11 = Mark 11:1-11 (Jesus' royal entry)

i. 21:12-17 = Mark 11:15-19 (Jesus' cleansing of Temple)

j. 21:18-22 = Mark 11:12-14, 20-24 (Cursing of fig tree and teaching about faith and prayer)

k. 21:23-27 = Mark 11:27-33 (Jesus' authority questioned)

l. 21:28-32

Jesus tells the parable of a father who asks his son to go to work in the vineyard; the son refuses, but later changes his mind and goes. The father asks another son to go to work in the vineyard; the second sons agrees to go, but does not. Jesus asks which of the two sons did the will of the father. Jesus then says to his opponents that, tax-collectors and prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of them, because the former believed John the Baptist.

m. 21:33-46 = Mark 12:1-12 (Parable of the vineyard and the tenants)

n. 22:1-14

Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a king who invited many prominent people to a wedding banquet. Since the invitees would not come, the king invited his social inferiors to take their places. When the king discovers a guest not wearing a wedding robe, he throws him out into the outer darkness.

o. 22:15-22 = Mark 12:13-17 (Jesus' response to being questioned about paying taxes to Caesar)

p. 22:23-33 = Mark 12:18-27 (Jesus' response to being questioned about the resurrection)

q. 22:34-40 = Mark 12:28-34 (The greatest commandment)

r. 22:41-46 = Mark 12:35-37 (David's son and the Messiah)

s. 23:1-36 = Mark 12:38-40 (Jesus' warning about the scribes)

(Problem: It can be argued that 23:1-36 is a teaching section in its own right.)

In Matthew are found many more woes to the scribes and Pharisees than in Mark (Matt 23:5b-7a = Mark 12:38b-39; Matt 23:14 = Mark 12:40).

t. 23:37-39

Jesus laments over Jerusalem, because its house will be left to it desolate. The city will not again see Jesus until it says, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."

u. 24:1-2 = Mark 13:1-2 (The destruction of Jerusalem foretold)

2. 24:3-25:46 Teaching Section

a. 24:3-8 = Mark 13:3-8 (Signs before the end)

b. 24:9-14 = Mark 13:9-13 (Persecutions foretold)

c. 24:15-22 = Mark 13:14-20 (The desolation of Jerusalem)

d. 24:23-28 = Mark 13:21-23 (Warnings about false Messiahs and prophets)

e. 24:29-31 = Mark 13:24-27 (The coming of the son of man in the clouds with power)

f. 24:32-35 = Mark 13:28-31 (Parable of the fig tree and the expectation of the coming of the son of man)

g. 24:36-44 = Mark 13:32-37 (Exhortation to be watchful)

In Matthew is also found a series of sayings relating to the coming of the son of man (Matt 24:37-44). The son of man's coming will be like the unexpected coming of the flood in Noah's day, and will result in some being taken while others are left behind. Jesus admonishes his hearers to keep awake because they do not know on which day their Lord is coming, just like the owner of a house does not know when a thief plans to break in. The son of man is coming at an unexpected time.

h. 24:45-51

Jesus tells the parable of the good and the wicked servants, whose masters leave them in charge of their households in their absences. The good slave works hard while his master is away, so that he rewards the good slave upon his return, whereas the wicked slave abuses the authority given to him. Upon his return, the master of the wicked slave punishes him.

i. 25:1-13

Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like ten unmarried women who take their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five of them are wise, because they bring extra oil, where the other five are foolish, because they do not. When the bridegroom finally arrives at midnight, the five wise unmarried women have oil enough to light their lamps, but cannot share with the others who do not have extra oil. The foolish five go to obtain some oil, but, when they return, are shut out of the wedding banquet. Jesus makes the point that his hearers must keep awake because they do not know the day or hour.

j. 25:14-30

Jesus tells the parable of a master who leaves three servants with different sums of talents. Two invest their talents and make more; each is commended and rewarded. The other, fearing his master, hides his talent and simply returns it to his master upon his return. This man is thrown out into the outer darkness, and the one talent he had is given to one of the other servants. Jesus says that to all who have more will be given, but to the one who does not have, what little he has will be taken away.

k. 25:31-46

Jesus teaches that, when he comes, the son of man will separate people from the nations one form the other as a shepherd separates sheep and goats. The sheep will inherit the kingdom, because they helped others, while the goats will be cast into eternal fire, because they did not help others.

3. 26:1a Summary Statement

G. 26:1-28:20 The Passion and Resurrection Narratives

1. 26:1-5 = Mark 14:1-2 (The plot to kill Jesus)

2. 26:6-13 = Mark 14:3-9 (The anointing of Jesus at Bethany)

3. 26:14-16 = Mark 14:10-11 (Judas' agreement to betray Jesus)

4. 26:17-30 = Mark 14:12-26 (Preparation for Jesus' last Passover meal)

5. 26:31-35 = Mark 14:27-31 (Prediction of Peter's denial)

6. 26:36-46 = Mark 14:32-42 (Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane)

7. 26:47-56 = Mark 14:43-50 (Jesus' arrest)

8. 26:57-68 = Mark 14:53-65 (Jesus before the Sanhedrin)

9. 26:69-75 = Mark 14:66-72 (Peter's denial of Jesus)

10. 27:1-2 = Mark 15:1 (Jesus sent to Pilate)

11. 27:3-10

Judas regrets betraying Jesus, and returns the money, which is used to buy a field for the burial of foreigners, which is said to fulfil what is said in Jer 32:6-8 (see Zech 11:12-13). In despair, Judas hangs himself.

12. 27:11-14 = Mark 15:2-5 (Jesus before Pilate)

13. 27:15-26 = Mark 15:6-15 (Jesus sentences to be crucified)

14. 27:27-56 = Mark 15:16-41 (Jesus' crucifixion)

15. 27:57-61 = Mark 15:42-47 (Jesus' burial)

16. 27:62-66

Pilate agrees to station soldiers to guard at Jesus' tomb in case the disciples attempt to steal Jesus' body and claim that he has risen from the dead.

17. 28:1-10 = Mark 16:1-8 (Jesus' resurrection)

18. 28:11-15

After Jesus' resurrection, the Roman guards are bribed to say that the disciples came at night and stole Jesus' body.

19. 28:16-20 = Mark 16:14-18 (Jesus' commissioning of his disciples)

5.3. It has been proposed that there are three sections in the Gospel of Matthew, headed by superscriptions, corresponding to three phases in the appearance of “Jesus Messiah” (Kingsbury, Matthew: Structure, Christology, Kingdom). These superscriptions are intended to indicate the broadest divisions of the gospel, functioning as major transitions and summaries of the content of the sections that follow. On this reconstruction, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus (the) Messiah is first described in terms of his origin and significance as the son of God. Then follows Jesus’ presentation of himself to Israel and his summons to it to the Kingdom of Heaven. The final section deals with the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.

A.1. 1:1 Superscription: "The record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham"

A.2. 1:1-4:16 "The Person of Jesus Messiah" (The genesis and significance of Jesus as the Christ)

B.1. 4:17 Superscription: "From that time forward, Jesus began to preach and say, `Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has drawn near'."

B.2. 4:17-16:20 "The Proclamation of Jesus Messiah" (The nature and effect of Jesus' proclamation) Kingsbury divides this section into two sub-sections:

a. 4:18-11:1 Jesus summons Israel to the Kingdom of Heaven.

b. 11:2-16:20 Jesus' message is rejected.

C.1. 16:21 Superscription: "From that time forward Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."

C.2. 16:21-28:20 "The Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Messiah"

   This outline recognizes the development in Matthew from proclamation to rejection and suffering, but it is doubtful that these superscriptions intentionally form the major structural divisions of the gospel. One can acknowledge 4:17 and 16:21 as markers in the narrative indicating the beginning of Jesus’ proclamation and the beginning of Jesus’ teaching that he must be rejected, executed and raised from the dead without holding that these have the significance that Kingsbury attributes to them. (In fact, the phrase “From that time forward, which introduces the second and third superscriptions, occurs in 26:16 without any break in the flow of the narrative.) The material in Matthew is much less carefully organized than is assumed on this hypothesis. For example, from 16:21-19:1 Jesus remains in Galilee doing much the same things that he was doing before 16:21. Similarly, in 11:1-16:20 most of the material has nothing to do with Jesus’ rejection.

5.4. The Gospel of Matthew in Relation to its Markan Source

5.4.1. With the exception of Mark 1:23-28, 35-39; 4:26-29; 6:14-16; 7:32-37; 8:22-26; 9:38-40; 12:41-44, the contents of the Gospel of Mark are found in the Gospel of Matthew. To this is added non-Markan material. The author of Matthew has characteristic ways of handling his Markan and non-Markan sources:

A. Although he generally follows it, in Matt 3:1-13:58 the author of Matthew sometimes re-arranges the Markan order of pericopes. See Appendix B: The Order of the Markan Material in Matthew.

B. The author of Matthew tends to combine his non-Markan material with his Markan source in two ways:

1. The author of Matthew expands units of Markan material by the interpolation of non-Markan material (see above pericopes in Matthew with *) (** = Luke also interpolates same material into the Markan framework). In some cases (marked by +), Luke has no corresponding material, in whole or in part.
 

Mark Matthew
Mark 1:2-8 Matt 3:1-12 (Matt 3:7-10, 11b-12)

**Luke 3:1-9 (Luke 3:7-9)

Mark 1:9-11 +Matt 3:13-17 (Matt 3:14-15)
Mark 1:12-13 Matt 4:1-11 (Matt 4:2b-11a)

**Luke 4:1-13 (Luke 4:2b1-13)

Mark 1:14-15 +Matt 4:12-17 (Matt 4:13-16)
Mark 3:20-27 Matt 12:22-30 (Matt 12:27-28, 30)
Mark 4:10-12 Matt 13:10-17 (Matt 13:14-17)
Mark 6:6b-13 Matt 9:35a; 10:5-15 (Matt 10:5-8, 13, 13)
Mark 7:1-23 Matt 15:1-20 (Matt15:14)
Mark 8:11-13 +Matt 16:1-4 (Matt 16:2-3, 4b)
Mark 9:14-29 Matt 17:14-21 (Matt 17:20)
Mark 9:33-37 +Matt 18:1-5 (Matt 18:2-3)
Mark 12:38-40 Matt 23:1-35 (Matt 23:1-5, 7b-13, 15-36)
Mark 13:32-37 Matt 24:36-44 (Matt 24:37-44)

2. The author of Matthew intersperses variously-sized blocks of non-Markan material into the Markan framework at places he deems appropriate (see Roman numerals above).
 

Matt 4:23-25 Matt 15:29-31
Matt 5:1-7:27 Matt 17:24-27
Matt 8:5-13 Matt 18:10-35
Matt 8:18-22 Matt 21:28-32
Matt 9:27-34, 35b, 37-38 Matt 22:1-14
Matt 10:16-11:30 (But see parallels to Mark 13:9-13) Matt 23:37-39
Matt 12:15-21 Matt 24:26-28
Matt 12:33-37 Matt 24:45-25:46
Matt 13:24-30 Matt 27:3-10
Matt 13:33 Matt 28:11-20
Matt 13:36-51 *

C. The author of Matthew appends to the Markan outline a genealogy, a birth narrative, the visit of the magi, Jesus' flight to Egypt, the slaughter of the children in Bethlehem and Jesus' return from Egypt. These are unique to Matthew.

5.4.2. As already indicated in the discussion of the synoptic question, the author of Matthew tends to shorten his Markan material. One further example will suffice:
 

Matt 14:3-12

For Herod had seized and bound [him] and put him in prison, on account of Herodias, the wife of Philip, his brother. For John had been telling him that it was not lawful to have her.

And he wanted to kill him, but was afraid of the crowd, because they considered him a prophet.

Mark 6:17-20

For Herod himself had sent (men), seized John and bound him in prison, on account of Herodias, the wife of Philip, his brother, because he had married her. For John had been telling Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have the wife of your brother." And Herod had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him, but was not able. For Herod feared John, and protected him, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man. And when he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet like to listen to him.

5.5. More than the other synoptic gospels, the Gospel of Matthew stresses the fulfillment nature of Jesus' ministry. The author explicitly cites Old Testament messianic prophecies as having been fulfilled by Jesus, often with a formula using the verb "to fulfil."  The following are those instances that are unique to the Gospel of Matthew.

5.5.1. Matt 1:22 Jesus' virginal birth is said to be the fulfillment of Isa 7:14: "All of this happened in order to fulfil the word of the Lord spoken the prophet."

5.5.2. Matt 2:6 Jesus' birth in Bethlehem is said to be the fulfillment of Micah 5:2: "For thus is it written through the prophet."

5.5.3. Matt 2:15 Jesus' return from Egypt is said to fulfill Hosea 11:1: "...in order to fulfil the word of the Lord spoken through the prophet."

5.5.4. Matt 2:17-18 The massacre of the children in Bethlehem by Herod is said to be the fulfillment of Jer 31:15: "Then was fulfilled the word spoken through the prophet Jeremiah."

5.5.5. Matt 2:23 The fact that Jesus took up residence in Nazareth in Galilee is said to be a fulfillment that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene (Isa 11:1?): "Thus the word through the prophet was fulfilled..."

5.5.6. Matt 4:14-16 Jesus' ministry in Galilee is interpreted as fulfilling Isa 9:1-2: "In order that the word spoken through the prophet Isaiah be fulfilled."

5.5.7. Matt 8:17 Jesus' healings are said to be the fulfillment of Isa 53:4: "Thus was fulfilled the word spoken through Isaiah the prophet."

5.5.8. Matt 12:17-21 Jesus is interpreted as the Isaian servant (Isa 42:1-4): "...in order to fulfil the word spoken through Isaiah the prophet."

5.5.9. Matt 13:35 Jesus' speaking to the crowds exclusively in parables is said to be a fulfillment of Ps 78:2: "Thus was fulfilled the word spoken the prophet."

5.5.10. Matt 21:4-5 Jesus' royal entry into Jerusalem is said to fulfil Zech 9:9: "This happened in order that the word spoken by the prophet be fulfilled."

5.5.11. Matt 27:8-10 Judas' death is interpreted as fulfilling Zech 11:12-13: "Then was fulfilled the word spoken through the prophet."

5.6. The phrase "the Kingdom of God" tends to be avoided in the Gospel of Matthew, occurring only in 12:28; 19:24; 21:31, 43. Instead, the term "the Kingdom of Heaven" (literally: "the Kingdom of the Heavens") is preferred (Matt 3:2; 4:17; 5:3, 10, 19, 20; 7:21; 8:11; 10:7; 11:11, 12; 13:11, 24, 31, 33, 44, 45, 47, 52; 16:19; 18:1, 3, 4; 19:12, 14, 23, 24; 20:1; 22:2; 23:13; 25:1). In some of these, Matthew has changed his Markan source. The best explanation of this phenomenon is that the author of Matthew prefers to avoid use of the word "God," using the circumlocution "Heavens" instead.

6. Why was the Gospel of Matthew written?

There is no internal, direct evidence concerning the purpose of the Gospel of Matthew. Neither is there any external, direct evidence. Thus, one must attempt to infer the author's purpose indirectly from the contents of the gospel. What do you conclude about the purpose of the Gospel of Matthew from its contents?

It is safe to say that the author of the Gospel of Matthew aimed to bring together material in order to write a more comprehensive gospel than that of the Gospel of Mark. His emphasis on the fact that Jesus' ministry fulfilled scripture and his inclusion of units of Jesus’ teaching that was only fully understandable by and of interest to Jews seems to indicate that he intended to write a gospel for a Jewish readership, rather than a gentile one.

 

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