Comparing Mark to Matthew


#1

Just another one-off thread.

One fun thing to do IMHO is to compare each of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) with each other and see how they handle their material and bring out themes they want to emphasize. For me it kinda shows the Evangelists’ ability as writers and not simply reporters - an element that isn’t given attention to very well.

People who know me might already know it, but my favorite gospel of the four is Mark’s. Out of the three synoptics, Matthew and Mark are very similar to each other, to the point that Matthew overshadowed Mark in antiquity. In fact, Mark is the worst-attested gospel - we only have two papyri of it from before the 4th century - in contrast to Matthew, which along with John is one of the best-attested gospels.

While they are similar, the two also exhibits some difference from each other. One major difference I could name right now is:

The two authors’ treatment of the disciples. Mark’s disciples are, to put it simply, incompetent dullards despite their privileged position. In fact, that the disciples - the insiders - are incompetent dullards is one of the crucial themes of the gospel. In Matthew things are very different: for much of the time, the disciples are not blind buffoons as they are in Mark, but are ones who hear Jesus and get things right (and are praised for it). Compare for example the pericope of the stilling of the storm:

Mark (6:45-52)

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

Matthew (14:22-33)

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Compared to Mark’s somewhat grim ending (where he emphasizes again via narration just how blind the disciples were), the pericope ends positively: the disciples confess Jesus outright as “Son of God.” In Mark, the only human character to ever use the title in relation to Jesus is the centurion who presides over the crucifixion at the end of the story, but in Matthew’s narrative, the people around Jesus aren’t that blind - in fact, the Matthaean Jesus gets showered with the title every now and then.

Part of the reason why Matthew has a generally more positive portrait of the disciples is because Matthew’s gospel is a knowledge-oriented and a Church-oriented gospel. For Matthew, solid knowledge is a necessity, and he gives clear instructions on how to achieve it. So unlike Mark’s penchant for ambiguity, Matthew likes things neatly distinguished.

Also, he likes emphasizes the idea of ‘tradition’; his gospel depends upon an unbroken chain, this transmission of teachings from Jesus Himself to His disciples to the readers of the gospel. The disciples are the links which connect Jesus and the audience. Since for Matthew, knowledge of Jesus’ status as Lord (not ‘Teacher’ - a title which only the enemies of Jesus use in Matthew, to the point that you could pretty much identify where a given character’s allegiance lies in Matthew by checking how they address Jesus) stands as the ultimate goal for his audience, and since the disciples must transmit this knowledge, they understand him quite well. They do so because, ultimately, Jesus’ teaching depends on them.


#2

Great post! Your posts are very scholarly and informative. You should write books! Keep up the good fight:thumbsup:


#3

When some point to apparent contradictions in the NT the usual response is that the different authors are just telling the story from slightly different perspectives and the differences aren’t really contradictions at all. That explanation wouldn’t seem to work here. Either the disciples were dullards or they weren’t. Which do you think is true?


#4

My answer to this would be (emphasis on ‘my answer’; I know this isn’t a view that everyone shares so this is just me talking) first of all that we have no definitive way of knowing for ourselves, because we weren’t there 2000 years ago.

Secondly, the thing about the gospels is that their portrayals of different characters are usually in the interests of their respective authors: particular themes which the Evangelists want to emphasize inform the way characters are portrayed in the gospels. I too have an issue with the usual analogy of four reporters. It is a favorite explanation, and it does have some truth in it, but I don’t think it completely and adequately explains the phenomenon we see in the gospels. No analogy ever could of course, but I think that the analogy can be and should be qualified further.

On the one hand, you have the ‘fact’, the what-happened, the historical reality, whatever you want to call it. On the other hand, you have four writers taking that ‘fact’ and retelling it from their own perspectives and on their own terms, adapting and refitting it to suit their purposes in the course of the retelling. A modern historian looking for ‘just the unvarnished facts’ will of course be frustrated at this, but the burden really lies in those who read the gospels ultra-literally as if they are mere dry transcripts of the ‘fact’ (in other words, as if something written by a modern historian ;)). This is why I believe that looking at the gospels simply as if they are reports while completely ignoring the fact that they are also literary works is to miss something crucial.

Since we’re talking about Matthew and Mark, their characterizations of the disciples are just that - they serve a literary function in the story.

Mark’s disciples as mentioned are bumbling idiots who repeatedly misunderstand and fail to get things right throughout the story (although they do have their bright moments now and again). This fundamental motif is actually intertwined with other motifs in Mark (in fact they are all interconnected with one another), for instance, that of the messianic secret, of Mark’s Christology (of Jesus as the crucified Messiah and “son of God”), and the theme of ‘amazement’. It is sometimes thought that Mark intended the disciples to be a stand-in for his audiences: his portrayal of them is thus a means for the audience to reevaluate their commitment to their faith and learn, by using the disciples as negative examples, what true discipleship is (a “this is the kind of thing you shouldn’t do”-type of thing). This portrayal also serves to emphasize what a great figure Jesus is by having the disciples as a literary foil: while Jesus is this great guy doing all sorts of wonderful stuff, nobody around Him understands Him, not even His disciples - who we should normally expect to have a better grasp of Him than “those outside” who only gets cryptic parables taught to them.

Matthew cuts back on the negative portrayal and instead chooses to portray the disciples as being more intelligent and capable than Mark’s version of the disciples. Again, this is due to the general emphasis Matthew places on the Church in his gospel. What Matthew wanted to show that just like the wise man who built his house on solid rock, Jesus built the Church with the disciples (particularly Peter, the “rock”) as the foundation. So what better way to emphasize how good the foundation is by casting the disciples in a more positive light. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Matthew sees a chain of continuity between Jesus and the Christians he is writing to, with the disciples as the link between the two. There is no discontinuity; the relationship between Master and disciple isn’t simply a thing of the past. Basically, what Matthew is trying to show is that the disciples have handed down the teachings of Jesus accurately and so, his audience can be assured that they have authentic, unsullied Tradition. In fact, in Matthew the word “disciple” does not refer to the Twelve only (as it is in Mark and Luke): it is used in a much broader sense. In fact, Matthew’s Jesus commands His disciples to “make disciples of all nations.”

If you’re asking me which of them is ‘true’, I’d say both of them are. If you’re asking me which of them is ‘factual’, I’d say what I just said: I could not be totally sure. I’d like to think that it maybe is a combination of both, but short of having a TARDIS or any other time-travelling device I could not make a definitive statement.


#5

Another observation I’d like to share is how Matthew really likes twos. When Mark has one demoniac (5:1-20), Matthew has two (8:28-34); when Mark has one blind man (10:46-52), Matthew speaks of two men (20:29-34; cf. also 9:27-31 - interestingly the two accounts are so similar to each other that some have also seen it as two versions of the same story!) Where Luke reports a deaf demoniac (11:14), Matthew has a blind and deaf demoniac (12:22) - the person is thus afflicted with two disabilities. There’s also Matthew pairing the disciples into twos when he lists their names (10:1-4), the presence of a donkey and a colt in the Matthaean version of the Triumphal Entry (21:1-10, perhaps based on a literal reading of Zechariah 9:9 LXX, which speaks of “a beast of burden and a young foal” - all other gospels have one donkey), and the two false witnesses against Jesus (26:60-61; Mark 14:57-59 only mentions “some”). In addition, this is also the gospel where Jesus advises:

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

(Matthew 18:15-20 ESV)


#6

[quote="patrick457, post:4, topic:330395"]
My answer to this would be...

...]

[/quote]

Thanks for the candid response. As you're probably aware, Dennis MacDonald includes the-clueless-followers-in-a-boat-as-literary-device among his Gospel parallels to the Iliad and Odyssey Homeric epics (see Carrier's review of MacDonald here.)


#7

[quote="patrick457, post:5, topic:330395"]
Another observation I'd like to share is how Matthew really likes twos. When Mark has one demoniac (5:1-20), Matthew has two (8:28-34); when Mark has one blind man (10:46-52), Matthew speaks of two men (20:29-34; cf. also 9:27-31 - interestingly the two accounts are so similar to each other that some have also seen it as two versions of the same story!) Where Luke reports a deaf demoniac (11:14), Matthew has a blind and deaf demoniac (12:22) - the person is thus afflicted with two disabilities. There's also Matthew pairing the disciples into twos when he lists their names (10:1-4), the presence of a donkey and a colt in the Matthaean version of the Triumphal Entry (21:1-10, perhaps based on a literal reading of Zechariah 9:9 LXX, which speaks of "a beast of burden and a young foal" - all other gospels have one donkey), and the two false witnesses against Jesus (26:60-61; Mark 14:57-59 only mentions "some"). In addition, this is also the gospel where Jesus advises:“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

(Matthew 18:15-20 ESV)

[/quote]

In a Bible study I attended it was suggested that Matthew's insistence on the "double" nature of many of these things, is to emphasize that Jesus is greater than Elijah who performed similar miracles but one at a time.

Edit to add: also perhaps a reference to Isaiah 61:7, referring to a "double portion" or twofold blessing in the restoration of Israel; in Matthew's gospel Jesus fulfills this quite literally with these "double" miracles.


#8

[quote="patrick457, post:4, topic:330395"]

Mark's disciples as mentioned are bumbling idiots who repeatedly misunderstand and fail to get things right throughout the story (although they do have their bright moments now and again).

[/quote]

I have often wondered, too, whether this reflects something of Peter's self-deprecating recollection of the time before the crucifixion? Since Mark is traditionally Peter's version, and since Peter may well have wanted to emphasize to second-generation Christians that the marvelous works of the apostles were in fact the evidence of God's grace, not some kind of personal power.

Sally


#9

[quote="Bobby_Jim, post:7, topic:330395"]
In a Bible study I attended it was suggested that Matthew's insistence on the "double" nature of many of these things, is to emphasize that Jesus is greater than Elijah who performed similar miracles but one at a time.

Edit to add: also perhaps a reference to Isaiah 61:7, referring to a "double portion" or twofold blessing in the restoration of Israel; in Matthew's gospel Jesus fulfills this quite literally with these "double" miracles.

[/quote]

To add, the Jewish thinking that two witnesses are required for a testimony to be valid (the same thing alluded to in the quoted passage) may also have something to do with it.


#10

Consistent with this is that Peter, James and John were allowed to be present at the raising of Jairus’ daughter, at the transfiguration, and during Jesus’ discourse on the end times in Mark 13.


#11

Another Matthaean quirk is his like of "cities." Matthew uses the word poIis 'city' a total of twenty-six times (Mark uses it eight times), while the word for "village" is used for only four times (seven times in Mark). He calls both Nazareth and Capernaum (Jesus' home villages, respectively) "cities" and describes Jesus as travelling to the "cities" of the Galilee. This, along with the fact that Matthew has an eye for currency (10:9 speaks of "gold, silver, or copper" while Mark 6:8 refers only to "copper coins;" in fact "gold" and "silver" occur twenty-eight times in the gospel compared to four in Luke and one in Mark) has led to the suggestion that Matthew's audience were urbanites of some means. Note also the presence of the magi and their costly gifts in the Matthaean birth narrative (cf. Luke's shepherds), the spiritualized reference to "the poor in spirit" in the Beatitudes (contrast again Luke and his reference to "you who are poor"), and Joseph of Arimathea being specifically mentioned as "a rich man." There's also the bit about storing treasure not on earth but in heaven.


#12

[quote="NHInsider, post:8, topic:330395"]
I have often wondered, too, whether this reflects something of Peter's self-deprecating recollection of the time before the crucifixion? Since Mark is traditionally Peter's version, and since Peter may well have wanted to emphasize to second-generation Christians that the marvelous works of the apostles were in fact the evidence of God's grace, not some kind of personal power.

Sally

[/quote]

Peter in Mark is really this interesting figure. In fact he's the first and the last disciple to be named in the gospel (if one considers Mark to end at 16:8).

A scholar named Mary Ann Tolbert had proposed that Mark's parable of the sower lays out the various traits of the different characters in the drama - Mark's Peter (and the disciples) in particular exemplify the seed on rocky ground. (Peter = rock, get it? ;)) In fact I had a thread on that a while ago: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=577010


#13

Another point of difference between Mark and Matthew is their respective portrayals of Jesus. In contrast to the somewhat more ambiguous portrait found in Mark, Matthew - true to his hard and fast black and white worldview - has a slightly higher Christology, presenting Jesus in a more unambiguously positive light. Take for example the following pericopes:

(Mark 1:40-44) And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity or “moved with anger”], he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

(Matthew 8:1-4) When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

The bit about Jesus sending away (the Greek word used here is exebalen, which could have a harsh connotation - it is also the word used when Jesus ‘casts out’ demons) and sternly warning the ex-leper could be potentially interpreted as Jesus somehow being cruel towards the man (something which could be furthered by the fact that some manuscripts of Mark read orgistheis “moved with anger” instead of splagchniteis “moved with compassion”).

Matthew also either omits most incidents in Mark which could be read as opening the possibility for the interpretation that Jesus is not as powerful or knowledgeable or expressing emotions such as annoyance or anger, or softens them somewhat. For instance, the pericope where Jesus heals the blind man of Bethsaida (8:22-26) is not found in Matthew - presumably because it might suggest that Jesus’ healing power does not always work. Compare also the rejection at Nazareth: while Mark has “And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.” (6:5-6), Matthew has “And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.” (13:58)


#14

I've always taken the fact that Jesus could perform no mighty deed in some places because He allows His power to rely on the faith of the person He is healing. He says several times that the individuals faith has healed or saved them. This coincides perfectly with the fact that, though He is God almighty, Jesus cannot force us to believe in or ask of His mercy. He cannot do anything for an unrepentant heart.


#15

[quote="patrick457, post:13, topic:330395"]
Another point of difference between Mark and Matthew is their respective portrayals of Jesus. In contrast to the somewhat more ambiguous portrait found in Mark, Matthew - true to his hard and fast black and white worldview - has a slightly higher Christology, presenting Jesus in a more unambiguously positive light. Take for example the following pericopes:

(Mark 1:40-44) And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity or "moved with anger"], he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

(Matthew 8:1-4) When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

The bit about Jesus sending away (the Greek word used here is exebalen, which could have a harsh connotation - it is also the word used when Jesus 'casts out' demons) and sternly warning the ex-leper could be potentially interpreted as Jesus somehow being cruel towards the man (something which could be furthered by the fact that some manuscripts of Mark read orgistheis "moved with anger" instead of splagchniteis "moved with compassion").

Matthew also either omits most incidents in Mark which could be read as opening the possibility for the interpretation that Jesus is not as powerful or knowledgeable or expressing emotions such as annoyance or anger, or softens them somewhat. For instance, the pericope where Jesus heals the blind man of Bethsaida (8:22-26) is not found in Matthew - presumably because it might suggest that Jesus' healing power does not always work. Compare also the rejection at Nazareth: while Mark has "And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief." (6:5-6), Matthew has "And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief." (13:58)

[/quote]

That should be splagchnisteis. ;)

Another example would be the pericope of the rich young ruler.

(Mark 10:17-19) And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments:

‘Do not murder,
Do not commit adultery,
Do not steal,
Do not bear false witness,
Do not defraud,
Honor your father and mother.’”

(Matthew 19:16-19) And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said,

“You shall not murder,
You shall not commit adultery,
You shall not steal,
You shall not bear false witness,
Honor your father and mother,
and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Yet another example is the pericope of the woman with the issue of blood.

(Mark 5:25-34) And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

(Matthew 9:20-22) And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.

The brief pericope in Mark where Jesus' family or companions try to restrain Him because they thought He was mad (3:20-21) is also omitted by Matthew.


#16

Since I've talked about the differing characterizations of the disciples in Mark and Matthew, here's a pericope which shows both of the differences we're discussing:

(Mark 4:10-13) And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that

“they may indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.”

And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?”

(Matthew 13:10-17) Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
For this people's heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’

But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Mark at this point introduces two types of people: the 'insiders' who have access to "the mystery of the kingdom of God," and the 'outsiders' who only get taught cryptic stories. As mentioned however Mark blurs this characterization as the narrative progresses: the disciples in his gospel are so blind, so idiotic that they are ultimately not better off than "those outside." He somewhat lampshades it by having Jesus ask immediately: "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?" (The implied answers here are 'no', and that they would not.) One can almost hear the exasperation in Jesus' voice here.

In Matthew, however, the disciples are better off: they are praised by Jesus. Since they are the ones who handed down Jesus' teaching, as I mentioned it is crucial for Matthew to present the disciples as hearing and understanding correctly what they have been taught. Matthew has killed two birds with one stone here: he has somewhat avoided Mark's picture of a Jesus showing a negative emotion (i.e. annoyance with His disciples' lack of comprehension), and at the same time showed the disciples as worthy keepers of Tradition.


#17

Matthew also sometimes amplifies things in order to emphasize the greatness of Jesus. When Mark states that "he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons," (1:34) Matthew goes all the way: "That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick." (8:34)

Going back to the characterizations of the disciples, I should note that there are some exceptions to Matthew's portrayal of the disciples as positive figures. Matthew also has his version of the failure of the disciples, which often comes across as being more harsher than Mark's - precisely because he has a more positive view of them. This harsher treatment serves ultimately to also amplify the power of Jesus.

Let's quote again the pericope of the walking on water - this time I'll highlight a different part of the story:

(Mark 6:45-52) Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

(Matthew 14:22-33) Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew's version has more impact here - because he shows Peter failing to walk on water due to his insufficient faith. But out of this failure comes something positive: Jesus' power over creation is highlighted.


#18

Just bumping, not that there's anything worth seeing here.


#19

Regarding Matthew’s fondness for twos, it is interesting that Mark is the one who records: “And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Mark 14:30).


#20

[quote="QNDNNDQDCE, post:19, topic:330395"]
Regarding Matthew's fondness for twos, it is interesting that Mark is the one who records: "And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice" (Mark 14:30).

[/quote]

Mark likes this literary motif called intercalation, where one story is sandwiched between another, usually to show the audience that the two story strands are related in some way and to underline an important theme or point. Look for example at his version of the withering of the fig tree - Mark puts the cleansing of the Temple in between Jesus cursing the tree and the discovery that it died, or that of Jesus sending the disciples out - which wraps the story of John the Baptist's execution. In fact the pericope of Peter's denial itself sandwiches that of Jesus' trial before the high priest and the subsequent mockery.

I should note however that 14:68b ("And the rooster crowed") is a textual variant: some manuscripts have it, others (including a few important ones) don't. Internally however the phrase is a good fit in the context (but is not absolutely necessary) - so it is perhaps possible that some copyists intentionally omitted this to harmonize the text with Matthew's and Luke's versions. In fact a few went all the way and deleted any reference to the rooster crowing twice. But OTOH it is also possible that the sentence was added in order to make clear when the rooster crowed the first time.


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