The Gospel according to Matthew:
Five Major Discourses of Jesus

by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

The Structure of Matthew's Gospel:

Most biblical scholars today believe that Mark is the oldest surviving Gospel, and that the author of Matthew used Mark's text as one of his written sources (see the Synoptic Problem).  Moreover, if one compares Matthew with Mark, one easily notices that most of the material that Matthew added (i.e., stories and sayings not found in Mark) is contained in five major sermons or discourses. This structure was not invented by modern scholars, but is indicated by the Evangelist himself, who at the end of each of these five discourses writes, "When Jesus had finished saying these things..." (or something very similar; see 7:28, 11:1, 13:53, 19:1, and 26:1).

The following tables compare the content of these five Matthean Discourses with similar material in Mark and/or Luke.
(click here for an explanation of the Highlighting Colors used below).


I) Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5–7)
 
Pericope Matthew Mark Luke
Introduction to the Sermon 5:1-2 -- 6:17-20
The Beatitudes 5:3-12 -- 6:21-23
Salt of the Earth 5:13 9:50 14:34-35
Light of the World 5:14-16 4:21 8:16
The Law and the Prophets 5:17-20 -- 16:16-17
1-On Murder and Wrath 5:21-26 -- 12:57-59

2-On Adultery

5:27-30

9:43, 47-48

--

3-On Divorce (dup. Mt 19:9)

5:31-32

10:11-12

16:18

4-On Oaths 5:33-37 -- --
5-On Retaliation 5:38-42 -- 6:29-30
6-On Love of One's Enemies 5:43-48 -- 6:27-28, 32-36
On Almsgiving 6:1-4 -- --
On Prayer 6:5-6 -- --
The Lord's Prayer 6:7-15 [cf. 11:25] 11:1-4
On Fasting 6:16-18 -- --
Treasures on Earth / in Heaven 6:19-21 -- 12:33-34
The Eye as Lamp of the Body 6:22-23 -- 11:34-36
Not Serving Two Masters 6:24 -- 16:13
Not Worrying (Birds / Lilies) 6:25-34 -- 12:22-32
Not Judging 7:1-2 [4:24] 6:37-38
Parable of Speck & Plank 7:3-5 -- 6:37-42
Not Profaning the Holy 7:6 -- --
God Answers Prayers 7:7-11 -- 11:9-13
The Golden Rule 7:12 -- 6:31
Two Roads & Two Gates 7:13-14 -- 13:23-24
Trees with Good or Bad Fruit 7:15-20 -- 6:43-45
Not just saying "Lord, Lord" 7:21-23 -- 6:46
Parable of Two Houses 7:24-27 -- 6:47-49
Conclusion: Effect of the Sermon 7:28-29 1:21-22 --
Note: Some of this material comes from Mark (but expanded in Matthew), some from Matthew's own source(s), but most of it from the "Q" source.

II) Missionary Instructions (Matt 10)
 

Pericope Matthew Mark Luke

Choosing & Empowering the Twelve

10:1

3:13-15 & 6:7

6:12-13 & 9:1

Names of the Twelve Apostles

10:2-4

3:16-19a

6:14-16

Mission of the Twelve

10:5-16

6:8-11

9:2-5

Persecutions of the Disciples

10:17-25

[cf. 13:9-13]

12:11-12; 6:40

Have No Fear

10:26-33

[cf. 4:22; 8:38]

12:2-9

Division within Households

10:34-36

--

12:51-53

Costs of Discipleship

10:37-39

--

14:25-27; 17:33

Rewards for Hospitality

10:40-42

9:41

10:16

Conclusion of the 2nd Discourse

11:1

--

--

Note: Some of this material comes from Mark (again expanded in Matthew), but most of it from the "Q" source.

III) Collection of Parables (Matt 13)
 

Pericope Matthew Mark Luke
The Parable of the Sower 13:1-9 4:1-9 8:4-8
The Reason for Speaking in Parables 13:10-17 4:10-12 8:9-10
Interpretation of the Parable of the Sower 13:18-23 4:13-20 8:11-15
The Parable of the Tares/Weeds 13:24-30 [sub 4:26-29] --
The Parable of the Mustard Seed 13:31-32 4:30-32 13:18-19
The Parable of the Leaven 13:33 -- 13:20-21
Jesus' Use of Parables 13:34-35 4:33-34 --
Interpretation of the Parable of the Tares/Weeds 13:36-43 -- --
The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and of the Pearl 13:44-46 -- --
The Parable of the Net 13:47-50 -- --
Treasures New and Old 13:51-52 -- --
Conclusion of the 3rd Discourse 13:53 -- --
Jesus is Rejected at Nazareth 13:54-58 6:1-6a 4:16-30
Note: The first half of this chapter comes mostly from Mark, while the second half is mostly from Matthew's own source(s).

IV) Community Instructions (Matt 18)
 

Pericope Matthew Mark Luke
True Greatness 18:1-5 9:33-37 9:49-50
Warnings concerning Temptations 18:6-9 9:42-50 17:1-2
The Parable of the Lost Sheep 18:10-14 -- 15:3-7
On Reproving One's Brother 18:15-18 -- 17:3
"Where Two or Three are Gathered Together" 18:19-20 -- --
On Reconciliation 18:21-22 -- 17:4
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant 18:23-35 -- --
Conclusion of the 4th Discourse 19:1-2 10:1 --
Note: This chapter begins with Markan material, but most of the material comes from the Q-source or from Matthew's own source(s).

V) Sermon on Eschatology (Matt 23–25)
 

Pericope Matthew Mark Luke
Woe to the Scribes and Pharisees 23:1-36 12:37b-40 20:45-47
Jesus' Lament over Jerusalem 23:37-39 -- 13:34-35
Prediction of the Destruction of the Temple 24:1-2 13:1-2 21:5-6
Signs before the End 24:3-8 13:3-8 21:7-11
Persecutions Foretold 24:9-14 13:9-13 21:12-19
The Desolating Sacrilege 24:15-22 13:14-20 21:20-24
False Christs and False Prophets 24:23-28 13:21-23 17:23-24
The Coming of the Son of Man 24:29-31 13:24-27 21:25-28
The Time of the Coming: the Parable of the Fig Tree 24:32-36 13:28-32 21:29-33
The Parable of the Flood and Exhortation to Watchfulness 24:37-44 13:35 17:26-36
The Parable of the Good Servant and the Wicked Servant 24:45-51 -- 12:41-46
The Parable of the Ten Virgins 25:1-13 -- --
The Parable of the Talents 25:14-30 -- 19:11-27
The Last Judgment (The Sheep and the Goats) 25:31-46 -- --
Conclusion of the 5th Discourse 26:1 -- --
Note: Matthew 24 is very similar to Mark 13, but most of Matt 23 and 25 comes from the Q-source and from Matthew's own source(s).

 

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