Between the Lines: Pentecost 10: Proper 16- August 21, 2011

Text: Matthew 16:13-20

“. . . on this rock I will build my church”

The encounter at Caesarea Philippi appears in all three synoptic gospels, but only Matthew includes this response to Peter. It is only in Matthew that the word ekklesia, translated as church, is found in the gospel tradition. Before it became associated specifically with the Christians, ekklesia referred to any assembly or gathering of people. What does his use of this word suggest about Matthew’s understanding of the story? His purposes in writing it this way? How he understood the emerging Christian community and how it should be organized and governed?

Compare how the three gospels end the story:

    And he charged them to tell no one about him. [Mark 8:30]

    Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. [Matthew 16:20]

    But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one. . . [Luke 9:21]

What might Matthew be trying to tell us in the way he handles this encounter between Jesus and his followers?

– Andy Kille

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