By Fr. Felix (African Times Guest Writer)
The parables were explained by the
phenomenon that the prophecies had foretold,
that Israel would ‘look and look but never
perceive’, and they are followed by two
passages which show this in action, first the
rejection of Jesus at Nazareth, and then the
rejection of John the Baptist by Herod.
Matthew takes over from Mark the story of
Jesus at Nazareth making only minor changes.
The first is a change which could be described
(especially after v. 52) as scribal: he makes a
neat chiasmus or envelope-structure: own
country – Where? – is not – are not – Where? –
The centre and main point is formed by the two
incredulous questions about the family of
The second change is theologically more
significant: instead of Mark’s ‘he could do no
work of power there’ Matthew has ‘he did not do
many works of power there’ because of their
lack of faith.
Thus in Matthew the lack of works of power is
Jesus’ own decision because of their lack of
faith, rather than any limitation of his power.
Matthew frequently stresses that faith is a pre-
condition for Jesus’ works of power, and in this
Gospel Jesus often says to those whom he has
healed, ‘Your faith has won this for you’.
Faith is increased by these works, but there
must first be some faith in Jesus on the part of
the person to be healed.