After completing Jesus' sermon, Matthew begins recounting signs reported in Mark and some other source(s) Matthew shares with Luke. Matthew arranges these accounts about Jesus' authority in a special way. Many scholars count ten specific miracles in this section, some emphasizing the view that this points to the ten signs of a new Moses (Teeple 1957:82). Others emphasize the whole narrative's structure: because two of the miracles appear in one miracle story, Matthew narrates a total of nine miracle stories, which break into sets of three, separated by blocks of Jesus' teaching (Meier 1979:67 and 1980:80). Matthew 8:1-17 shows Jesus' authority over sickness; 8:23-28 shows his authority over nature, demons and paralysis; and 9:18-34 demonstrates his authority over disabilities and death.
Whereas these narratives demonstrate how much authority Jesus has in creation, the intervening paragraphs teach that we humans should also acknowledge Jesus' rightful authority over us (8:18-22; 9:9-17). The concluding summary of miracles (9:35) also contains another declaration of Christ's authority: we must ask the Lord to send out workers to demonstrate Jesus' authority over these needs (9:36-37). That final summary section (9:35-38), like the one preceding the Sermon on the Mount (4:23-25), could also be classified (with 10:1-5) as the narrative introduction for the discourse that follows in chapter 10.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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