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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
Jesus continues the conflict with the Pharisees and Sadducees; He calls for a confession from His disciples, and Peter speaks for the group. Jesus speaks to them for the first time abouit the church, His death and His Resurrection.
The Pharisees and Sadducees were Jewish religious leaders of two different parties, and their views were diametrically opposed on many issues. The Pharisees carefully followed their religious rules and traditions, believing that this was the way to God. They also believed in the authority of all Scripture and in the resurrection of the dead.
The Sadducees accepted only the books of Moses as Scripture and did not believe in life after death. In Jesus, however, these two groups had a common enemy, and they joined forces to try to kill him. This is the first and only time that the Pharisees and Sadducees are mentioned as acting together against Jesus. Their extreme jealousy toward each other, and the very different grounds on which they were opposed to Jesus, rendered agreement almost impossible. The main cause for which the Pharisees opposed, was His disregard of their traditions; and in this the Sadducees was supportive of Jesus, because they also denied the authority of tradition. But, in regard to His miracles they were on common ground, thus their agreement in asking for a sign from Heaven. What they really wanted was to test the extent of His miraculous power, because they simply could not deny the miracles which He had done, they were sure that there were some miracles which He could not do. Once before a similar demand had been made of Him (Mat.12:38) and His refusal then, motivated them with yet greater boldness in making the demand again. Thus, with their cleverness truly from the devil, they hunted for a visible advantage over Him before the people. They did NOT get what they were after.
The Pharisees And Sadducees Ask For A Sign (Matthew 16:1-4)
For the second time the Pharisees and Sadducees ask for a sign from heaven, and again they are referred to Jonah (Mat.12:38-39).
Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. (KJV)
The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came . . . not from Jerusalem, as in Matthew 15:1, but from the neighboring places. The Sadducees and Pharisees sects could not agree on many things, yet they united here against Christ, to whom they bore a relentless hatred.
And tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven . . . they came NOT to be taught by Him, or learn anything from Him. What they wanted was to trap Him, and expose Him to the people. Thus, they pretended dissatisfaction with the miracles He had done, and they ask Him to produce a sign from Heaven, since He supposedly came from there, and His being the Son of God, and supposedly the true Messiah. It seems what they wanted was a sign as the standing still of the sun and moon, in the times of Joshua (Josh.10:12-13); and as raining manna (Ps.78:24), in the times of Moses; or of the appearance of thunder and lightning at the giving of the law (Ex.19:16), the appearance of the rainbow (Gen.9:13), etc.
Some very unusual and uncommon sights in the heavens, was what these men asked of Christ in proof of His mission from God. The Pharisees and Sadducees demanded a sign "from Heaven." They tried to explain away Jesus' other miracles as sleight of hand, coincidence, or use of evil power, but they believed that only God could do a sign in the sky. This, they were sure, would be a feat beyond Jesus' power. Although Jesus could have very easily impressed them, He refused. He knew that even a miracle in the sky would not convince them He was the Messiah (Lk.16:31), because they had already decided NOT to believe in Him.
Matthew 16:2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. (KJV)
He answered and said unto them . . . He knew full well their opinions, and since He had done sufficient miracles to confirm His Messiahship, He saw no reason to give them more.
When it is evening, ye say, it will be fair weather, for the sky is red . . . if the sky is red through the rays of the sun; which show the clouds to be thin and will soon waste away, and as a result good weather must follow. “Red sky at night, sailors delight.”
Matthew 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? (KJV)
And in the morning, It will be foul weather today . . . it is a usual thing to say, it is like to be windy or rainy weather today,
For the sky is red and lowring . . . the clouds are so thick that the sun cannot pierce through them, and its face cannot be seen; so it is reasonably concluded they will issue in rain, or wind or both. “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”
O ye hypocrites . . . Beware, this is left out of some versions. "Hypocrites" is a usual label, bestowed very justly by Christ, on these men; who pretended to be the guides of the people. Hypocrites: (Mat.6:16; 15:7; 16:3; 22:13,14,15; 23:25,27,29; Lk.11:44; 12:56).
Ye can discern the face of the sky . . . they make probable guesses and conclusions of what will follow, good weather or bad.
But can ye not discern the signs of the times? . . . the times of the Messiah, and the miraculous evidence and proofs which He had given that they were right in front of their eyes, as plainly to be seen as the clouds at sunrise and sunset, but the Pharisees and Sadducees were completely blind to the Truth all around them, just like so many people today! Yes! We still have “hypocrites” today!
Matthew 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. (KJV)
A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas . . . Our Lord had provided them with many signs, but they would NOT accept them. For the second time He predicts the sign of Jonah. "Jonas" is the Greek for Jonah. In Mat.12:40, Jesus said: "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." These determined enemies of Jesus were not going to accept that as a sign.
In this chapter we will see three viewpoints concerning Jesus. The Pharisees and Sadducees consider Him an imposter and do not believe that He is the Messiah. The multitude thinks He is John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or another of the prophets. In this, they were complimentary, although they missed the mark completely. His disciples present the third viewpoint. They believe that Jesus is the Messiah (Christ), the Son of the living God. The Pharisees and Sadducees were asking for a sign. Jesus said that no sign would be given them but the sign of the prophet Jonah. He says the same things here, as He did to the Pharisees on another occasion (Mat.12:39).
And he left them and departed . . . there is a note of finality in His action as He turns and walks away from them, for they were hardened, perverse and incurable, and unworthy to be conversed with. Then He warns His disciples of the leaven of these religious rulers.
Jesus Warns His Disciples (Matthew 16:5-12)
Matthew 16:5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. (KJV)
When his disciples were come to the other side . . . the conversation with the Pharisees and Sadducees had been on the east of the Sea of Galilee. They crossed from that side again to the west.
That they had forgotten to take bread . . . having just one loaf, as Mark says (Mk.8:14). The seven baskets of fragments being either had been eaten or given to the poor. It seems, it was usual for the disciples to buy food to carry with them, since Jesus often went into deserts and mountain places, where provisions could not be had. Their forgetfulness might have been from their being intent upon Christ's conversation with the Pharisees and Sadducees, or from the suddenness of Christ's departure.
Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (KJV)
Then Jesus said unto them . . . it is not certain why Jesus said what He did next. It was either from the disciples forgetting to take bread with them, or what passed between Him and the Pharisees and Sadducees. ;
Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees . . . He gave this advice to His apostles. We too should pay close attention! By "the leaven" is meant their doctrine, as appears from verse 12. The doctrines the Pharisees taught were the commandments and inventions of men (Mat.15:9), the traditions of the elders, free will, and justification by the works of the law. The doctrine of the Sadducees was, that there was no resurrection of the dead, no angels, no spirits. False teachers tried secretly and artfully to infuse their notions into the minds of men; which when taken in, spread their infection, and made men hateful, rigid and ill natured and swelled and puffed up with pride and vanity. Jesus compares them to leaven; and advises His disciples to be on their guard, lest they should be infected with them. BEWARE! It is rampant all around us today!
Matthew 16:7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. (KJV)
And they reasoned among themselves . . . they wondered what Jesus meant by His cautioning them about “leaven.”
Saying, because we have taken no bread . . . the disciples did not understand Him as referring to the Pharisees’ doctrine, because the word leaven was not often used among the Jews to mean doctrines. The Jews had many special rules about the leaven which might be used in making bread. Many held that it was not lawful to eat bread made by the Gentiles; and the disciples, perhaps, supposed that He was cautioning them not to obtain a supply from the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Leaven: (Mat.13:33; 16:6,11,12; Mk.8:15; Lk.12:1; 13:21; 1 Cor.5:6-8; Gal.5:9).
IF it were a matter of physical bread, the disciples should have remembered the two prior miracles of His . . . providing food for the five thousand and the four thousand. BUT . . . it was NOT a matter of bodily bread. Leaven, according to our Lord's interpretation, is false doctrine, which is evil. Any time someone speaks about the "leaven of the gospel," they are using a contradiction and inconsistency of terms. Leaven is NEVER associated with the Gospel of Christ, is NEVER a picture of the TRUE Gospel. Leaven ALWAYS is symbolic of evil. If you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, you must accept Him as an Authority on giving us the Truth in all things. This should clarify once and for all what leaven represents.
Matthew 16:8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? (KJV)
Which when Jesus perceived . . . by His omniscience. He knew the doubts and unbelief, and anxious concern of their minds, as well as their private reasoning one with another. Passages on Jesus' Omniscience: (Mat.12:25; 22:18; 27:18; Mk.2:8; Mk.5:30; Mk.11:2; Luke 5:4-6; 6:8; 8:46; 19:30; 22:10; John 2:24-25; 6:6; 13:3; 16:30; 19:28; 21:17; Acts 1:24; Rev.2:23; 3:1,8).
He said unto them, O ye of little faith . . . Jesus rebukes them for being anxious about the supply of their wants. They should have believed, after the marvelous miracles that He had done in feeding so many, with so little, that He would be more than able to provide bread for their food. It really was wrong for them to reason about a thing like that. They should have known that He referred to something more important. The miracles had been full proof that He could supply all their needs. Matthew 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (KJV) . . . What about OUR faith? Do we “worry” (Phil.4:6), about things over which we have no control? Do we not trust the Lord to take care of our “needs”? (Phil.4:19). Do we not give it all over to the Lord in prayer, then grab it back because we think He cannot handle it? We too should be sharply rebuked for our lack of faith.
Why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?. . . they were probably blaming one another for their negligence and forgetfulness, distressing their minds, as if they were famished and starved, because they had not brought enough bread.
Matthew 16:9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? (KJV)
Do ye not understand . . . meaning either the advice He had now given; or His almighty power displayed in the two miracles of feeding five thousand at one time, and four thousand at another, with a very small amount of food.
Neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? . . . have you forgotten so quickly what was recently done, the feeding five thousand men, besides women and children, with five loaves and two fishes, and when they were filled and satisfied, took up twelve baskets of left overs? It seems strange that they could distrust His awesome power in taking care of them. He had fed so many with so little, did they think that He was not able to feed the twelve of them? Again, what about us? What about our faith? We do not need anxious thoughts and carnal ways of thinking. We should simply trust the Lord in all things, so He will not chastise us with: “O ye of little faith.”
Matthew 16:10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? (KJV)
Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand . . . Jesus asks them, have you forgotten also the other miracle, feeding four thousand men, beside women and children, with seven loaves and a few small fishes? How soon they (and we) forget God’s power.
And how many baskets ye took up? . . . and after they all were filled, you gathered seven large baskets full of left overs? Jesus scolds them, “Do you think that I am not able to provide for you?” Jesus is saying; Do not distress yourselves about this, because it will give way to unbelief. Beware, for you are arguing with much stupidity and thoughtlessness.
Matthew 16:11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? (KJV)
How is it that ye do not understand . . . they should not be so senseless and void of thought, after such instances of Jesus’ awesome power
That I spake it not to you concerning bread . . . they did not realize that He was not speaking of bread to eat, but instead was speaking symbolically.
That ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the Sadducees . . . it just did not make any sense at all that Jesus was speaking of the leaven taken in a literal sense, but of the false doctrines the Pharisees and Sadducees were spouting, just like today my friend! BEWARE!! False teachers abound in every direction! http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_false_doctrines.1.htm http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_1_false_teachers.1.htm http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_apostate_world.htm http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_cults.htm
Matthew 16:12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (KJV)
Then understood they . . . it took a while, but they finally saw what Jesus meant.
How that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread . . . they first thought Jesus was speaking of literal bread, and the leaven in it.
But of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducee . . . yeast (leaven) is put into bread to make it rise. It takes just a tiny bit to affect a whole batch of dough. Jesus used leaven as an example of just how a very small amount of evil can affect a very large group of people. The wrong teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees of that day were leading many people astray, and my friend, it has not stopped since that time. False teachers and their damnable heresies (2 Pet.2:1), are in nearly every church in this country and in the world! BEWARE!! And beware of the tendency to say, "How can such a tiny bit of wrong possibly affect anyone?" BUT, it has! False doctrine is leading people straight to Hell! Some will say: “Oh, that isn’t so bad.” But it continues . . . on and on! For instance: abortion, adultery, alternative lifestyles, blasphemy, covetousness, booze, drugs, greed, homosexuality, living together without being married, pride, etc. etc. . . . I could go on and on, but you know what I mean. This situation worsens day by day. Many who claim to be “evangelical Christians” now say it is OK to abort babies in the womb. They also claim that homosexuality is OK. THAT is NOT what the Bible says! Homosexuality, an abomination to God: (Gen.19:4-5; Lev.18:22; 20:13; Rom.1:26; 1 Cor.6:9-11; Jude 1:7). . . . . . . . . http://www.hisservants.org/tl_this_life_h_s.html
Jesus Calls For Them To Confess Him (Matthew 16:13-20)
Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (KJV)
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying . . . Caesarea Philippi is located to the north of the Sea of Galilee. The Lord Jesus is in the north, and He is going to turn and begin directly toward Jerusalem and the Cross. Before He begins that journey, there are two things that must settle in the minds of His apostles: #1. Who He is, and #2. What He is going to do. My dear friend, these are the two things that ALL of us have to clearly realize in order to be Christians. We MUST know WHO He is, and we MUST know WHAT He did, and WHY He did it! We MUST know these things so that we might exercise our faith and be saved. While Christ and His apostles were in the way to these parts; and, as Luke says, when He had been praying alone with them (Lk.9:18).
He asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? . . . (Mk.8:27; Lk.9:18). He calls Himself "the son of man" (Ps.80:17; Dan.7:13), because He really was a Man. Christ Jesus speaks here of Himself, according to His outward appearance, and the existing opinion of men concerning Him; that He looked to be just a man, born as other men were; and was a son of man, and no more. That is why He asks this question of the apostles. He is NOT asking what kind of a Man He was . . . was He a good, holy man, or not, or was He the Messiah, or not . . . His question is, what do men in general, be they high or low, rich or poor, learned or unlearned, say of Him? "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" This is the same question that He is still asking today. He is still is the most controversial Person who has ever lived on this Earth, and people are still very confused about Him. Who do men say . . . This is the world's greatest question! Who is Jesus? The Nazarenes had said that He was only the son of the carpenter; yet they acknowledged that on this supposition they could not account for His wisdom and His mighty works. In other parts of Galilee they thought that He was something more, but WHAT He was more than, was a matter of dispute . . . then, and it still is today.
Matthew 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. (KJV)
And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist . . . some of the Jews said that He was John the Baptist risen from the dead. This idea spread rapidly, and prevailed in Herod's court, and even Herod himself thought so (Mat.14:2).
Some, Elias . . . Elijah, the Tishbite, who was to come in his power and spirit before the great day of the Lord (Rev.11:3-11); and it being a prevailing belief with the Jews, that Elias was to come before the Messiah (Jn.1:19-27). Some concluded that He was now come. See Matthew 11:14.
And others Jeremias . . . this is omitted both by Mark and Luke. The reason why he is mentioned here, is not because of what is said of Him, in (Jer.1:5,10), but because the Jews thought He was that Prophet spoken of in (Deut.18:15,18; 34:10), that should be raised up from among them, like unto Moses.
Or one of the prophets . . . such as Hosea or Isaiah, or some other one. They could not come up with a particular Old Testament person who they thought was risen from the dead, and did these wondrous works among them. There were many different opinions as to WHO He was, depending on the circumstances of the men who spoke them and partly by the different characteristics presented in the work of Jesus. The opinion that He was John the Baptist raised from the dead, arose from the superstition of the people, and was adopted by Herod, as a natural result of his guilty fears. Some thought that He was the prophet Elijah returned again to Earth, because of the boldness with which He denounced the sins of the age; while this characteristic, combined with the sorrowful tone of His speech, suggested to others that He was Jeremiah. Others, unable to decide which prophet He resembled most, thought that he was "one of the prophets." ALL were inexcusable for not accepting the account which He gave of Himself. Their UNBELIEF on this point was the result of specific opinions as to the character and lifestyle of the Messiah, which they held stubbornly.
Matthew 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (KJV)
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? . . . now, another question! Jesus did not make any comments on the different opinions of men concerning Him, but instead, He asks this question to His apostles, in a little different form, leaving out the phrase, the Son of Man, because they knew that He was much more than a Man. They had believed in Him, became His apostles, and were willing followers of Him. BUT . . . since it is not enough just to believe in Him, they must confess Him, because BOTH are necessary. Romans 10:8-10 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (KJV) . . . Believe in Him in your heart, THEN confess Him with your mouth! Do NOT ever be ashamed of Him! Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (KJV) . . . IF you do not confess Jesus with your mouth, you are ashamed of Him! This is the first time that Jesus asked His apostles this question. He had kept it back until He had given them the knowledge and wisdom of forming a mature judgment.
Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (KJV)
And Simon Peter answered and said . . . Peter was a warm, zealous and very forward man, who dearly loved the Lord Jesus, truly believed in Him and was more than ready to make a confession of Him.
Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God . . . a short but a very full confession of faith! Peter believed that there is a God, that there is just one God; that He is the living God, that He has life in Himself and is the Fountain of Life to others; that Jesus is the Christ, the Christ of God, the TRUE Messiah, that was promised by God, prophesied of by all the prophets, from the beginning of the world, and expected by the people of God. Peter believed that His character includes all His offices: Prophet, Priest and King, to which He is anointed by God the Father! Was Peter the mouth of the rest of the apostles? Did he speak in their name and with their consent? Peter was always first to speak, and usually answers for the whole company. His answer contains two facts: #1. that Jesus was the Christ; #2. that Jesus was the Son of the living God. This was a very intelligent confession of the complete Truth concerning the personality of Jesus.
Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (KJV)
And Jesus answered and said unto him . . . Jesus did not wait for any other declaration from the others, but seems to be taking this to be the sense of them all. He said,
Blessed art thou Simon Barjona . . . (Jn.1:42; 21:15). Peter’s father's name was Jonah.
For flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee . . . Simon was blessed because the Truth which he had expressed and which he believed, was his source of happiness, both temporal and eternal. The statement that flesh and blood had not revealed it to him, but God, is proof that Peter was indeed blessed. It was a revelation from God, NOT a discovery made by human reason, was proof that it was a blessing from Heaven. God had revealed it through the works and words of Jesus.
But my Father which is in heaven . . . from Whom only, BOTH the external and internal revelation of such Truths come. Neither the Gospel, nor any part of it, is a human device or discovery. It is far above the most exalted and refined reasoning of men. The Gospel has in it what the eye cannot see, nor the ear can hear, and only it can enter into the heart of man to allow him to see that its Truths are the deep things of God, which the Spirit of God searches and reveals to us. We must embrace it as coming from God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, especially the deity, Sonship, and Messiahship of Christ, for they are doctrines of true revelation: that there is a God, and that He is the living God, Who gives being, life and breath, and all things, to His creatures. The Gospel makes known to us that God has a Son, Who is of the same nature with Him, and equal to Him, The Son being the Messiah and the Saviour of lost sinners. None of this could ever have been found out by man’s concentration, because NO man knows the Son, but the Father, and he to whom He reveals Him. The Father bears witness of Him, and declares Him to be His Son, in whom He is well pleased. Well pleased: (Mat.3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mk.1:11; Lk.3:22; 2 Pet.1:17).
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (KJV)
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter . . . we must look at this verse carefully. There are some who say that the church was built on Simon Peter. I disagree. Some others say that Christ is building His church upon the confession that Simon Peter made. Again, I disagree.
And upon this rock will I build my church . . . on what ROCK did Jesus build His church? WHO is the Rock? The Rock is Christ. The church is built upon Christ. We have Simon Peter's own explanation of this. 1 Peter 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, (KJV) And what did Isaiah say? Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. (KJV) What did the apostle Paul say? 1 Cor. 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (KJV)
The church is built upon Christ; He is the Foundation, NOT Peter! Christ Jesus is the Stone, and He says on this Rock He will build His church. The church at that time was still in the future. There was NO church in the Old Testament because the church did not exist until after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, and the sending of the Holy Spirit. There could NOT have been a church until all of these things had taken place. "I will build my church" . . . this was future.
And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it . . . the "gates of hell" refers to death. The word used for Hell is the Greek word Hades, the Sheol of the Old Testament, which refers to the unseen world and means "death." The gates of death shall not prevail against Christ's church. One of these days the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout. That shout will be like the voice of an archangel and like a trumpet because the dead in Christ are to be raised.
The gates of death shall not prevail against His church. http://www.hisservants.org/hell_hades.htm
Christ does NOT say, upon thee Peter, but upon this rock, referring to something different from Peter; for although Peter’s name means a rock, or stone, and there may be some suggestion to it; for Peter is so called by the Lord because of his trust and confidence in the Lord, on Whom Peter was built (Eph.2:20); but NOT because Peter was the foundation on which any others, and especially the whole church, was built. It is true, Peter may be called the foundation, as were the rest of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev.21:14). Peter had NO preeminence over the rest of the apostles. He did not assume this, nor was it granted; nor would it ever have been planned by Christ, for He often showed His resentment at such a spirit and conduct, whenever there was any appearance of it in any of the apostles (Mat.18:1-3,20-28). True, Peter, James and John (Mat.17:1; Mk.5:37; 9:2; 13:3; 14:33; Lk.8:51; 9;28) had some particular favors bestowed on them by Christ; as to be at the raising of Jairus's daughter, and at the transfiguration of Christ on the mount, and with him in the garden; and Jesus appeared to Peter alone after His resurrection, before He was seen by the rest of the disciples (Lk.24:34) . . . BUT, in some things Peter was inferior to them, he alone denied his Lord and Master, they did not (Mat.26:75); and upon another account is called “Satan” by Jesus (Mat.16:23), which the others never were; not to mention other infirmities of his, which show he is not the solid rock after all. Peter, as an apostle, had NO successor in his office; neither was he the bishop of Rome; nor was he ever the pope of Rome. TRUE Christianity is based on the Christ as the Rock, Christ is a rock that is higher than they, where they (and we) find safety in times of distress, and the shadow of which is refreshing to them. The “church” was NOT in the Old Testament, but the ROCK was! Rock, Christ: (Ex.17:6; Num.20:8,11; Deut.32:4,15,18,30,31;1 Sam.2:2; 2 Sam.22:2-3,32,47; 23:3; Ps.18:2,31,46; 28:1; 31:2-3; 42:9; 61:2,6,7; 71:3; 78:35; 89:26; 92:15; 94:22; 95:1; Isa.8:14; 28:16; Mat.7:24-25; 16:18; Lk.6:48; Rom.9:33; 1 Cor.10:4; 1 Pet.2:8) 1 Cor 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (KJV)
Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (KJV)
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . the kingdom of heaven here is meant the Gospel, which comes from Heaven, declares the King Messiah to have come, speaks of things concerning His Kingdom. The Gospel sets it up, enlarges it, displays the abundant riches of God’s grace, tells us how to be citizens in this Kingdom (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8,15-16; 14:6; Acts 4:12) . . . how we have a right to it (Rom.3:24-26), and are fit for it (1 Cor.1:30; Rom.5:1,9). "The keys" of the Kingdom are abilities to open and explain the Truths of the Gospel. Jesus is speaking to Peter, and the Lord certainly gave him a mission to make use of those keys, first opening the door of faith, or preaching the Gospel first to the Jews (Acts 2:14-41), and then to the Gentiles, (Acts 10:1-47; 10:7-14). Peter was the first, but certainly not the last! Peter, along with the rest of the apostles, received an enlarged commission to preach the Gospel to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Lk.24:47). These keys belonged to all of them all alike. The keys and wisdom to use them, the use of them was not something that just Peter had the privilege of using. Here, keys are used in a symbolic way, for the opening and explaining the Truths of the Gospel, for which Peter had excellent gifts and abilities . . . but also the other apostles as well.
And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven . . . this too, is NOT to be understood of binding, or loosing men's sins, for only Almighty God can do that! This speaks only of doctrines, or declarations of what is lawful and unlawful, free, or prohibited to be practiced. The reasoning of these words is that Peter, and the rest of the apostles, would be empowered with authority from Jesus, and directed by His Holy Spirit, that whatever they bound, that is, declared to be forbidden, and unlawful, should be so: and that whatever they loosed, that is, declared to be lawful, and free of use, should be so. It seems that possibly they bound some things which before were loose, and loosed some things which before were bound. For instance, they bound, prohibited, or declared unlawful, the use of circumcision, which before, and until the death of Christ, was commanded to the natural seed of Abraham; but circumcision and all ceremonies, were abolished by the death of Christ. They declared it to be nothing, and of no avail, yea, hurtful and pernicious; that whoever was circumcised, Christ profited him nothing, and that he was a debtor to do the whole law: they affirmed, that the believing Gentiles were NOT to be burdened with it; that it was a yoke not fit to be put upon their necks (Gal.5:1,3,6; Acts 15:10,19), which they, and their fathers, were not able to bear. They bound, or forbid the observance of days, months, times, and years; the keeping holy days, new moons, and Sabbaths, which had been used in the Jewish church for ages past. They loosed, or declared lawful and free, both civil and religious conversation between Jews and Gentiles; whereas, before, the Jews had no dealings with the Gentiles, nor would not enter into their houses, nor keep company with them, would have no conversation with them; neither eat, nor drink with them; but now it was determined and declared, that no man should be called common, or unclean; and that in Christ Jesus, and in his church, there is no distinction of Jew and Gentile (Acts 10:28; 11:2-3,18; Gal.3:28-29). They also loosed, or declared lawful, the eating of any kind of food (Acts 10:11-13; 11:5-10; 1 Tim.4:4), even that which was before counted common and unclean, being persuaded by the Lord Jesus Christ, by the words He said: Matthew 15:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. (KJV)
Matthew 16:20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. (KJV)
Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ . . . (Mk.8:30; Lk.9:21). The reason seems to be that His time had not fully come; He was not willing to rouse the Jewish malice, and to endanger His life, by having it proclaimed that He was the Messiah. He did not want some persons, hearing of this, to rise and proclaim Him King of the Jews, who had the idea of the Messiah being a temporal prince: and moreover, because the apostles were to bear out the Truth of this after His resurrection. He chose, for the present, that the people would gather this from His own ministry and miracles, which really were sufficient to lead them into the knowledge of it, without any declarations of the apostles. Even though they were possessed with true faith in Him, for themselves, the apostles did not have the gifts and abilities to defend those doctrines respecting Christ's Person, and His offices, that they had after the Spirit was poured down upon them (Acts 2).
Jesus Announces His Death And Resurrection (Matthew 16:21-28)
For the first time the Lord Jesus tells His apostles about His upcoming death and resurrection. The time was about six months before He was actually crucified. Why did He wait so long to make such an important announcement? Clearly, because His apostles were not ready for it, even then, judging from their reaction. He repeated five times the fact that He was going to Jerusalem to die (Mat.17:12,22-23; 20:18-19,28). In spite of His intensive instruction, the apostles failed to grasp the importance and the significance of it all, until after His resurrection.
Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (KJV)
From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples . . . from the time that Peter made the confession concerning Jesus, that He was the Messiah, and Son of God, which things were clear to all the apostles, He began to teach them more specifically, and to point out to them more clearly, and plainly, His soon to come sufferings and His death, more than He had done before. It seems He chose to do this now, because their faith in Him was well grounded and established, and they were better able to bear the things He told them. If He had done this before, it would have been more staggering and discouraging to them; and too, that being forewarned of these things, they would not be so shocked when they came to pass. I think too that He wanted to destroy all their expectations of a temporal kingdom.
How that he must go to Jerusalem . . . Jerusalem was where the great Sanhedrim sat, who only could make the charge of a false prophet, and condemn Him to death, and which therefore would be in the most public manner, adding to His reproach. The word "must" not only belongs to His going to Jerusalem, but also to His sufferings, His death, and His resurrection; all which MUST be, because of the immutable decree of God, the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23), the council, the covenant of grace and peace, the prophecies of the Old Testament, and the redemption and salvation of God's elect; these all were required and made them absolutely necessary.
And suffer many things of the elders, chief priests, and Scribes . . . all these were MUSTS in order for prophecies to be fulfilled by the Messiah. The elders, chief priests, and Scribes would lie in wait for Him, send persons to apprehend Him, insult, reproach and despitefully use Him; bring false charges, accusations and slander against Him, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked, scourged and crucified. And all this MUST be done to Him, NOT by the common people, but by the principal men of the city, by the Sanhedrim, which were the "elders" of the people, their rulers, for elders here does not mean age, but office and dignity. The "chief priests" were the greatest among them, who were the chosen members of the grand council. And "the Scribes" were men of high esteem for their learning and wisdom.
And be killed . . . Jesus is telling the apostles that He would not die a natural death, but that His life would be taken from Him in a cruel and violent way, without any consideration to law or justice. He would in fact, be murdered; but for the comfort of His apostles, so they would not be over stressed and cast down, at the hearing these things, Jesus adds,
And be raised again the third day . . . according to the Scriptures of the Old Testament (Ps.16:10), and as the type of Jonas (Mat.12:39; 16:4). This is what the Lord Jesus did for you and me. This is the Gospel . . . Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried and raised again. You MUST know WHO He is, and you MUST know WHAT He did for you. If you know these two things, and by faith believe and receive them, you are saved. The first time this was revealed, was to Nicodemus at the beginning of our Lord's ministry in John 3:1-16.
Matthew 16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. (KJV)
Then Peter took him . . . answered Jesus, or took him by the hand to admonish Him, and persuade Him against thinking and talking of any such things.
And began to rebuke him . . . reprove and scold Him. Peter did NOT do this out of ill will, but out of loving respect. Peter was still unaware of the end of Christ's Coming into the world, and redemption and salvation by His sufferings and death. I think all Peter could think of was that Jesus was going to die a terrible death and would be taken away from those who loved Him.
Saying, far be it from thee, Lord, this shall not be done unto thee . . . the real meaning of what Peter said was, "You are the Messiah; You are the Son of God. You cannot go to the cross!" Death on the cross, for their beloved Lord and Master, was NOT at all in the thinking of any of the apostles.
Matthew 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (KJV)
But he turned, and said unto Peter . . . when Jesus had turned away from Peter, and looked at His apostles, He rebuked Peter. It seems that Peter had taken Him aside, and was arguing privately with Jesus; but what Peter said was so offensive to Jesus, that He chose to reprove him publicly before the apostles. It could be that Jesus turned Himself from Peter to the apostles, in a way of resentment.
Get thee behind me, Satan . . . WOW! What a rebuke! Some take the word Satan, to be a general name for an adversary or enemy (2 Sam.19:22; 1 Ki.11:14), and think that Christ calls Peter by this name, because he was against Him, and opposed Him in this point; which decreases the harshness of the words. Others say it means the devil, who took the advantage of Peter's weakness and ignorance; and put him up to talking Christ out of suffering, for the salvation of His people. Another thing to consider, the word Satan is used by the, Jews to mean the corruption of nature (2 Cor.12:7). Peter’s interference was improper. His views and feelings stood in the way of the accomplishment of the Saviour's plans. Without a doubt, there is a rebuke in Jesus’ words; because the conduct of Peter was improper; but perhaps, implies a more severe and harsh rebuke than the Saviour intended. Thou art an offence unto me . . . that is, a stumbling-block. Peter’s advice and wishes opposed what MUST be done.
For thou savourest not the things that be of God . . . that is, you are not thinking properly. What Peter wanted opposed God’s plans for His only begotten Son. It could be that Peter thought of nothing but worldly grandeur in the kingdom of the Messiah, as a temporal Prince and Saviour; and of the continuance of Christ's natural life, for his own carnal and worldly advantage. If so, this showed Peter to be, at this time, greatly under the influence of a corrupt nature controlled by Satan (Rom.8:5). If Satan could get to Peter, he can get to us too! We must be careful! Consider: It is satanic for anyone to deny the facts of the Gospel: Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead. It is satanic when a man in the pulpit will deny these truths and teach “another gospel” (Gal.1:6-7) and “another Jesus” (2 Cor.11:4). The substitutionary death of Christ is the only thing that can save us. Later, when Peter came to his senses, he wrote: 1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (KJV) . . . What a transformation had taken place in the mind of Peter!
Our Lord said to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan." Consider this: A warning to all of us: Here is Peter by whom the Spirit of God could say that Jesus was the Son of God, and yet he could in the next moment let Satan deceive him! We too are SO vulnerable to the tricks of the devil. None of us are safe from his deception. BEWARE!
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (KJV)
Then said Jesus unto his disciples . . . Jesus knew that all the apostles had the same idea of a temporal kingdom, with Him as King; and were expecting glory and honor. Jesus took this opportunity of preaching the doctrine of the cross to them, and of letting them know, that they MUST prepare themselves for persecutions, sufferings, and death; which they must expect to come, as well as He, if they were to be His apostles.
If any man will come after me . . . meaning IF anyone wants to be a disciple and follower of Jesus, it is usual for the Master to go before, and the disciple to follow after Him. Rich or poor, learned or unlearned, young or old, male or female, Jew or Gentile (Gal.3:26-29), that have any desire to follow Jesus, ALL are welcome . . . BUT . . . there is something you must do . . .
Let him deny himself . . . deny his sinful self, deny ungodliness, deny worldly lusts; leave behind former sinful companions, which were as a part of himself:; deny righteous self, and renounce all his own works of righteousness . . . for NONE of these have anything at all to do with justification (Rom.3:24-25; 5:1) and salvation (Lk.12:8; Jn.3:16; Rom.10:9-11). The hardest person in the world to deny is yourself. To deny self is to put self completely out of the picture and to put Christ in the place of self.
Take up his cross . . . gladly receive and patiently bear every affliction and evil (1 Thes.5:18), no matter how shameful and painful it may be, for we always have One to help us. We are to quietly submit, and carry our cross (denial of self), totally accepting the will of God, as we imitate our Lord. We do not to take up Christ's Cross but our own cross. There absolutely IS a cross for you and a cross for me . . . IF we are sincere in our desire to follow Him.
And follow me . . . following Jesus is an exercise of grace, humility, zeal, patience and self-denial. No more ME, ME, ME! Following Jesus is all about Jesus! Following Jesus is to surrender to God your will, affections, body and soul. Following Jesus is NOT to seek your own happiness as the supreme object, but be willing to renounce all, and lay down your life, if that is what is required. See: Matthew 10:38.
Matthew 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (KJV)
For whosoever will save his life . . . anyone who wants to preserve himself (save his life) from troubles, reproaches, persecutions, and death; and does so by forsaking Christ, denying His Gospel, and conjuring up favors with men, in order to obtain for himself worldly honor, peace, pleasure and life,
Shall lose it . . . anyone who will not assume the risks involved in becoming a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ will, in the long run, lose his life eternally, for he exposes himself to the wrath of God, to everlasting punishment, the destruction of soul and body in Hell, which is the second death and will be his portion (Rev.20:11-15). The opposite is also true. At Christ's Second Coming all accounts will be settled and everyone will receive their proper rewards (1 Cor.3:12-15)
And whosoever will lose his life for my sake . . . meaning whoever is willing to forego all the pleasures and comforts of life, and be subject to poverty and distress, and to lay down life itself, for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, rather than deny Him, and Truth.
Shall find it . . . eternal life (Jn.3:15-16; 14:2-3; 1 Pet.1:3-5), in the bliss of Heaven, he shall enjoy an endless and eternal life, free from all troubles, uneasiness and affliction, and full of everlasting joys and pleasures.
Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (KJV)
For what is a man profited . . . the somber truth stated here was fitting in this matter, because Peter's opposition to his Lord's death was inspired chiefly by his expectation that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom and conquer the whole world. But, Jesus is teaching that something far more valuable than the whole world is to be gained by following Him, even IF it should involve the loss of physical life.
If he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? . . . (Mk.8:36; Lk.9:25). IF a man makes it in the present world, acquiring its various forms of riches, honors and pleasures, which is the object of supreme pursuit by millions upon millions of people . . . he gains the whole world . . . but along with it he forfeits his own soul . . . is that good? NO! When a person by giving himself entirely up to the world, he gains the whole world. BUT, if he gains all the temporary treasures, what happens to his soul? It goes to an everlasting Hell. What is he profited? "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (KJV) . . . He will render back to that man his own treatment, disowning him before the most impressive of all assemblies, and putting him to "shame and everlasting contempt" (Dan.12:2; Jer.6:15). But when Christ and "His words" are unpopular, the same natural desire to stand with others brings on the temptation to be ashamed of Him which only the expulsive power of a higher affection can effectually counteract.
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? . . . when someone does not know Christ, they make huge decisions as though there were no afterlife. The FACT is, this life on Earth is just the place where we decide to spend eternity; is just the introduction to eternity. How we live this brief life determines our eternal state. What we accumulate on Earth has absolutely NO value whatsoever in gaining eternal life. Even the highest social or civic honors CANNOT earn us entrance into Heaven (Eph.2:8-9). We must evaluate our lifestyle from an eternal perspective, because our soul is eternal.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (KJV)
For the son of man shall come in the glory of his Father . . . Christ Jesus has been given the authority to judge all the Earth (Acts 10:42; Rom.2:16; 2 Tim.4:1; 1 Pet.4:5).
Although His judgment is already working in our lives, there shall be a future, final judgment when Christ returns (Mat.25:31-46), when everyone's life will be reviewed and evaluated. Books opened: (Ps. 69:28; Dan.7:10; 12:1-2; Lk.10:20; Jn.5:28-29; 11:25-26; Acts 24:15; Rom.14:10-12; 1 Cor.3:13-15; 4:5; 15:21-23; 2 Cor.5:10; Phil.4:3; 1 Thes.4:15-17; Rev.3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12; 21:27). This will not be just for unbelievers; Christians, too, will face a judgment. Their eternal destiny is secure, but Jesus will look at how they handled gifts, opportunities and responsibilities in order to determine their heavenly rewards. At the time of judgment, God will deliver the righteous and condemn the wicked. Condemnation: (Pro.8:36; Mk.16:16; Jn.3:18-19,36; 8:24; 12:47-48; Acts 4:12; 2 Thes.1:8-9; 2:12; Heb.2:3; 10:26-29; 12:25; 1 Jn.5:10; Rev.20:15; 21:8).
We should NEVER judge the salvation of others. THAT is God's work! Judge of the world, all power given to Christ: (Mat.11:27; 28:18; Ps.2:6-9; 89:19,27; 110:1-3; Isa.9:6-7; Dan.7:14; Lk.1:32-33; 10:22; Jn.3:35; 13:3; 17:2; Acts 2:36; 10:36; Rom.14:9; 1 Cor.15:27; Eph.1:20-22; Phil;.2:9-11; Col.1:16-19; Heb.1:2; 2:8; 1 Pet.3:22; Rev.11:15; 17:14; 19:16).
And then he shall reward every man according to his works . . . the fact stated here gives proof of the previous remarks concerning the loss and gain of life. If men are to be finally rewarded according to their works, all the prior remarks must be true. That the final Coming of Christ is the Coming mentioned here is clear from the three facts: that it is a Coming "in the glory of his Father;" it is to be "with his holy angels; "and He is then to "reward every man according to his works." Judged according to his works: (Job 34:11; Ps.28:4; 62:12; Pro.24:12,29;Jer.25:14; 32:19; 50:29; Lam.3:64; Mat.16:27; 2 Cor.11:15; 2 Tim.4:14; 1 Pet.1:17; Rev.2:23; 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12).
Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. (KJV)
Verily I say unto you . . . listen to Me, Jesus says, the following is a forceful statement of truth.
There be some standing here . . . Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (KJV) . . . It is clear that the people were called unto Him with His disciples, when He said these words.
Which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom . . . there are several thoughts on this statement. #1. Because all the disciples died before Christ's Return, many believe that Jesus' Words were fulfilled at the Transfiguration when Peter, James and John saw His glory (Mat.17:1-3). #2. Others say this statement refers to the Resurrection (Mat.28; Mk.16; Lk.24; Jn.20) and Ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:9-11). #3. Still others believe that the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and the beginning of Christ's church fulfilled Jesus' Words. In any of the above, there were certain apostles and most likely, some of the people that were eyewitnesses to the power and glory of Christ's Kingdom. I must go along with #1. I think that this verse belongs with chapter 17 because the account of the transfiguration of Jesus explains what He meant when He made this statement.
A TRUE disciple of Christ is one that follows Jesus in loving duty, and shall follow Him to glory. A TRUE disciple is one that walks the same way that Christ Jesus walked, being led by His Spirit (Rom.8:9), and walks in His steps, where ever he goes. A TRUE disciple denies self, which is a most difficult lesson indeed, but IF we are to imitate out Lord and Master, we must do what He did, and Jesus certainly did deny self! We are to take up our cross, meaning the troubles that befalls us. Each of us have our own particular cross, we are not to think that we could bear another's cross better than our own. Our cross has been appointed to us, and we must make the best of it. We are NEVER alone in carrying this cross! He is always just a prayer away! We must always remember this.
If we will take on the name and credit of a disciple of Christ Jesus (Christian), we must follow Christ in the work and duty of a disciple, if we are to be worthy of Him. We must remember that all worldly things are worthless when compared with eternal life, so we must cast off all lusts of the body. Thousands upon thousands lose their souls for the smallest gain or the most worthless indulgence, and worse, often from mere laziness and negligence. Consider this: Whatever it is that men forsake Christ for, that is the price for which Satan buys their souls. My dear friend, one lone soul is worth more than all the world has to offer! Christ Jesus knew the price of souls, for it is He that redeemed them. Christ would never underrate the world, for He made it. Christ, Creator: (Jn. 1:3,10; Gen.1:1,26; Ps.33:6; 102:25; Isa.45:12,18; Eph.3:9; Col.1:16-17; Heb. 1:2-3,10-12; 3:3-4; Rev.4:11). .
The dying transgressor CANNOT purchase one hour's delay to seek mercy for his perishing soul. Let us be aware of the value of our souls, and know that Christ and Christ alone is the only Saviour of them.
1 John 2:16-17 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (KJV)
Gospel of Matthew
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