The man of St Matthew


Jesus in Jerusalem: Matthew chapters 21-25

At the beginning of chapter 21, Matthew tells us that Jesus is approaching Jerusalem. Five chapters follow which are mostly teaching by Jesus to various audiences in the Temple before the passion story begins in chapter 26. It is as well for us to take now an overview of these chapters, 21-25.

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

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

Therefore make a list of the episodes in these five chapters; it will be enough to follow the subheadings in your Bibles.
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 omitted?

Consider how chapters 21 and 22 are connected.
We will look at this further below but now take a look at my response.

Chapter 21: Overview

We have noted how both chapters 21 and 22 conclude and how the opening of chapter 22 shows continuity with the previous chapter. We can now consider chapter 21, which has a clear beginning. We will consider the continuity of the two chapters when take our overview of chapter 22. (I using the chapters for convenience here for the two stages of the confrontations. We must remember that the chapters are later divisions of the Gospel.)
Look more closely at how Matthew has re-arranged Mark chapter 11.
Note as well how the first half of chapter 21 is similar to Mark chapter 11 but with a significant re-arrangment by Matthew.

Look for the main break in the chapter and then a second one. As a result, there are three parts to the chapter.

Look for the key word or theme found in the middle of the chapter. However, the one Greek word can be translated by different words in English. Look carefully therefore.
Then consider how Matthew by his re-arrrangement has given the incident with the fig tree (21,18-22) a different purpose to Mark (Mk 11,12-24). The key word I've mentioned is the guide.

Look at my response and how we can read the chapter in 3 pages.

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