The man of St Matthew


Chapter 16: Overview

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

Generally, Matthew is continuing in this chapter to follow Mark, Mk 8,11-9,1.
Note that 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. They are 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

The traditional importance for the Catholic Church of the second half of the chapter will be evident/. It is though a complex episode and part of a longer passage which continues in chapter 17. We must now investigate this more closely.

Where do Jesus and his disciples arrive in 16,13? The change of place marks the beginning of a new section.

Where earlier in the chapter did the disciples join Jesus?
Then look for the next major change of audience. The change of audience will be the marker for the beginning of the next episode.
This can be confirmed by the previous verses. There are references there which go back to the beginning so that a bracket is formed around the section. This is an important sign of the unity of the whole.

Within this section, look for the markers which indicate the different parts and give us four scenes for our reading. Look for changes of time or place.
Compare with Mark and note the differences; note especially Mk 8,34 and Mk 9,13..

All this may seem somewhat enigmatic but remember that the answers are there in the text for you to discover.

Look now at my response.

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