Friday, June 14, 2013

The Literary Structure of Matthew 11-12 & 11-16

Unlike chapters 10 & 13, which are discourses (or "sermons," as Peter F. Ellis describes) of Jesus, chapters 11 & 12 of Matthew contain a series of narratives all woven together into one stream of thought concerning Israel and the rise of their King -- King Jesus. The following is a breakdown of these chapters alone:

A)  Warnings of Kingdom division [Accusations of demon-possession/Wisdom justified by her deeds] (11:1-19)
B)  A Sign for a city  (11:20-24)
C)  The Father’s family  (11:25-30)
      D1)  Sabbath Day: Accusations of Sabbath breaking (12:1-8)
      D2)  Sabbath Day: Jesus heals a man with a “withered hand” in their synagogue (12:9-14)
      D3)  Sabbath Day: Jesus leaves the synagogue & many Jews follow him in hope (12:15-21)

A’)  Warnings of Kingdom division [Accusations of demon-possession/Fools justified by their words]  (12:22-37)
B’)  A Sign for a city  (12:38-45)
C’)  The Father’s family  (12:46-50)

Interestingly, after chapters 11 & 12 are complete, Matthew moves on to a discourse (or sermon) of parables in chapter 13 relating to the growing hatred of Israel's rulers as manifested in chapters 11 & 12; and then the following chapters --chapters 14 through 16-- follow the pattern of chapters 11 & 12. The major difference between chapters 11-12 and 14-16 is the response of faith between Israel's rulers and the disciples of Jesus. The literary structure for all of this is as follows:

A)  Matt. 11:1-19  John the Baptist, a witness in prison
 B)  Matt. 11:20-24  Woe to unrepentant cities
  C)  Matt. 11:25-30  All things handed over to the Son of God, the "wise" men of Israel are blind to this truth
   D)  Matt. 12:1-8  Pharisees accuses Jesus’ disciples of breaking the Sabbath/Jesus responds
    E)  Matt. 12:9-14  Jesus withdraws and enters "their synagogue"/Pharisees display great hatred
     F)  Matt. 12:15-21  Jesus withdrew from there, and many followed him, and he healed them all
      G)  Matt. 12:22-37  Warnings of Kingdom division
       H)  Matt. 12:38-45  Jesus is asked to show a "sign”/a sign of Jonah is promised/ House cleansed of demon, 7 more return

a)  12:46-50 -- Jesus' mothers, brothers, and sisters
   b)  13:1-52 -- Parables of the kingdom that explain the reaction to Jesus
a')  13:53-58 -- Jesus' mothers, brothers, and sisters

A’)  Matt. 14:1-12  John the Baptist, a martyr (witness)
 B’)  Matt. 14:13-21  Jesus feeds 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread
  C’)  Matt. 14:22-36  Jesus walks on water, declared to be the Son of God
   D’)  Matt. 15:1-20  Pharisees accuses Jesus’ disciples of breaking the Elder’s traditions/ Jesus responds
    E’)  Matt. 15:21-28  Jesus withdraws and enters the district of Tyre and Sidon/Canaanite woman displays great faith
     F’)  Matt. 15:29-31  Jesus withdrew from there, and great crowds came to him, and he healed them all
      G’)  Matt. 15:32-39  Jesus feeds 4,000 with 7 loaves of bread
       H’)  Matt. 16:1-12  Jesus is asked to show a "sign"/a sign of Jonah is promised/Warning of leaven/teaching of Pharisees

Notice that instead of woes and warnings of judgment upon the cities of Israel which would not repent, Jesus breaks bread and blesses 9,000 disciples around Galilee of the Gentiles, and he does so with only 12 loaves of bread (total). While the self-proclaimed wise and intelligent rulers of Israel are blind to the Son of God receiving all things, his disciples openly and gladly acknowledge this truth. And instead of finding a synagogue of Satan filled with Pharisees who hate him, Jesus travels to the Gentile coast of Tyre and Sidon and finds a Canaanite woman whose faith in him is great. 

The narrative from chapter 11 to chapter 16 is a movement of King Jesus and his dynasty arising and growing in the midst of his people. It's also a movement which appears to be gaining momentum by chapter 16, preaching and teaching in the "northern" kingdom territory, only to find out after that, when Jesus preaches and teaches in the "southern" kingdom of Judea, that Israel would eventually reject her King and crucify their Messiah.

No comments:

Post a Comment