The man of St Matthew



Introduction to the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus

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

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

Matthew chapters 26-28: Introduction

The last three chapters of the Gospel tell the story of Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection; this story was outlined by Jesus in 20,18-19 when he announced the third prediction of his fate.

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

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

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

Chapters 26-27: Overview

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

We begin therefore by reading through the whole story, both chapters. Our aim is to follow the overall flow of the story and note the different scenes; at this stage we are not concerned about the details. Look therefore for the major scenes of the story. Sometimes a change of place gives us the clue, elsewhere consider how the way a scene is dominated by one or more people is significant. Consider as well why 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 looks similar to Mark's story, Mark chapters 14 & 15. Read through the two accounts, 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 of the whole story, we can move on to the introduction and opening scene of the Passion, Mt 26,1-16.