In this section of Matthew’s Gospel we come to his third book of the new Torah, his third large block of teaching from Jesus, or what Perrin and Duling call…
13:1-52 The Third Book of the New Revelation: the Parables of the Kingdom. Like Mark, Matthew has a collection of parables, but he increases their number and makes special use of them. He has just called attention to the true family of Jesus as those who accept his revelation. Now Jesus addresses the parables of the Sower, the Weeds, the Mustard Seed, and the Leaven to “the crowds” (13:1-33). Matthew concludes this half of his parable chapter with a formula quotation (13:34-35). Jesus then turns to the “disciples,” the true family, and gives them the explanation of the Weeds and the parables of the Pearl and the Net….
13:53-58 The climactic rejection. 13:53 contains the formula to the end of the third book of the new revelation. Matthew ends his third revelatory discourse with the theme that Jesus is not onored “in his own country and in his own house,” and because of lack of belief, he is not able to work many miracles.
The New Revelation: Jesus Instructs His Disciples, 14:1-20:34
The ministry to Israel now having reached the climax in the inability of Jesus to find faith among “ his own,” Matthew turns to the second stage of the new revelation, which occurs in the relationship between Jesus and his disciples.
14:1-16:12 Preliminary instruction. In this section Matthew is closely following his source, the gospel of Mark….
16:13-20:34 The predictions of the passion and resurrection and instruction on ife in the Christin community. This section is Matthew’s equivalent of Mark 8:27-10:52 (he omits 8:22-26). In general, he follows Mark but adds considerable material, and the additions transform Mark’s teaching on discipleship into instruction on life in the Christian community.
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13) This is the pivot point in this Gospel. As soon as Peter says, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” the narrative begins moving on a beeline to the cross. Jesus explains in advance to his disciples that he must suffer, die, and rise again, but they do not understand, nor can they accept what he is saying.
Jesus poses the same question to us today: “Who do you say that I am?”
C. S. Lewis has written,
‘What are we to make of Jesus Christ?’ This is a question, which has, in a sense, a frantically comic side. For the real question is not what are we to make of Christ, but what is He to make of us? The picture of a fly sitting deciding what it is going to make of an elephant has comic elements about it. (God in the Dock, “What are we to make of Jesus Christ?”)