Matthew 16

Demand for a sign

1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus. In order to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven.
2 But he replied, " At evening you say, ‘It will be nice weather because the sky is bright red.'
3 And in the morning you say, ‘There will be bad weather today because the sky is cloudy.' You know how to make sense of the sky's appearance. But you are unable to recognize the signs that point to what the time is.
4 An evil and unfaithful generation searches for a sign. But it won't receive any sign except Jonah's sign." Then he left them and went away.

Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

5 When the disciples arrived on the other side of the lake, they had forgotten to bring bread.
6 Jesus said to them, " Watch out and be on your guard for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
7 They discussed this among themselves and said, "We didn't bring any bread."
8 Jesus knew what they were discussing and said, " You people of weak faith! Why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you don't have any bread?
9 Don't you understand yet? Don't you remember the five loaves that fed the five thousand and how many baskets of leftovers you gathered?
10 And the seven loaves that fed the four thousand and how many large baskets of leftovers you gathered?
11 Don't you know that I wasn't talking about bread? But be on your guard for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
12 Then they understood that he wasn't telling them to be on their guard for yeast used in making bread. No, he was telling them to watch out for the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter’s declaration about Jesus

13 Now when Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, " Who do people say the Human One is?"
14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the other prophets."
15 He said, " And what about you? Who do you say that I am?"
16 Simon Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 Then Jesus replied, " Happy are you, Simon son of Jonah, because no human has shown this to you. Rather my Father who is in heaven has shown you.
18 I tell you that you are Peter. And I'll build my church on this rock. The gates of the underworld won't be able to stand against it.
19 I'll give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Anything you fasten on earth will be fastened in heaven. Anything you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven."
20 Then he ordered the disciples not to tell anybody that he was the Christ.

First prediction of Jesus’ death and resurrection

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and legal experts, and that he had to be killed and raised on the third day.
22 Then Peter took hold of Jesus and, scolding him, began to correct him: "God forbid, Lord! This won't happen to you."
23 But he turned to Peter and said, " Get behind me, Satan. You are a stone that could make me stumble, for you are not thinking God's thoughts but human thoughts."

Saving and losing life

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, " All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.
25 All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me will find them.
26 Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives? What will people give in exchange for their lives?
27 For the Human One is about to come with the majesty of his Father with his angels. And then he will repay each one for what that person has done.
28 I assure you that some standing here won't die before they see the Human One coming in his kingdom."

Images for Matthew 16

Matthew 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

The Pharisees and Sadducees ask a sign. (1-4) Jesus cautions against the doctrine of the Pharisees. (5-12) Peter's testimony that Jesus was the Christ. (13-20) Christ foretells his sufferings, and rebukes Peter. (21-23) The necessity of self-denial. (24-28)

Verses 1-4 The Pharisees and Sadducees were opposed to each other in principles and in conduct; yet they joined against Christ. But they desired a sign of their own choosing: they despised those signs which relieved the necessity of the sick and sorrowful, and called for something else which would gratify the curiosity of the proud. It is great hypocrisy, when we slight the signs of God's ordaining, to seek for signs of our own devising.

Verses 5-12 Christ speaks of spiritual things under a similitude, and the disciples misunderstand him of carnal things. He took it ill that they should think him as thoughtful about bread as they were; that they should be so little acquainted with his way of preaching. Then understood they what he meant. Christ teaches by the Spirit of wisdom in the heart, opening the understanding to the Spirit of revelation in the word.

Verses 13-20 Peter, for himself and his brethren, said that they were assured of our Lord's being the promised Messiah, the Son of the living God. This showed that they believed Jesus to be more than man. Our Lord declared Peter to be blessed, as the teaching of God made him differ from his unbelieving countrymen. Christ added that he had named him Peter, in allusion to his stability or firmness in professing the truth. The word translated "rock," is not the same word as Peter, but is of a similar meaning. Nothing can be more wrong than to suppose that Christ meant the person of Peter was the rock. Without doubt Christ himself is the Rock, the tried foundation of the church; and woe to him that attempts to lay any other! Peter's confession is this rock as to doctrine. If Jesus be not the Christ, those that own him are not of the church, but deceivers and deceived. Our Lord next declared the authority with which Peter would be invested. He spoke in the name of his brethren, and this related to them as well as to him. They had no certain knowledge of the characters of men, and were liable to mistakes and sins in their own conduct; but they were kept from error in stating the way of acceptance and salvation, the rule of obedience, the believer's character and experience, and the final doom of unbelievers and hypocrites. In such matters their decision was right, and it was confirmed in heaven. But all pretensions of any man, either to absolve or retain men's sins, are blasphemous and absurd. None can forgive sins but God only. And this binding and loosing, in the common language of the Jews, signified to forbid and to allow, or to teach what is lawful or unlawful.

Verses 21-23 Christ reveals his mind to his people gradually. From that time, when the apostles had made the full confession of Christ, that he was the Son of God, he began to show them of his sufferings. He spake this to set right the mistakes of his disciples about the outward pomp and power of his kingdom. Those that follow Christ, must not expect great or high things in this world. Peter would have Christ to dread suffering as much as he did; but we mistake, if we measure Christ's love and patience by our own. We do not read of any thing said or done by any of his disciples, at any time, that Christ resented so much as this. Whoever takes us from that which is good, and would make us fear to do too much for God, speaks Satan's language. Whatever appears to be a temptation to sin, must be resisted with abhorrence, and not be parleyed with. Those that decline suffering for Christ, savour more of the things of man than of the things of God.

Verses 24-28 A true disciple of Christ is one that does follow him in duty, and shall follow him to glory. He is one that walks in the same way Christ walked in, is led by his Spirit, and treads in his steps, whithersoever he goes. "Let him deny himself." If self-denial be a hard lesson, it is no more than what our Master learned and practised, to redeem us, and to teach us. "Let him take up his cross." The cross is here put for every trouble that befalls us. We are apt to think we could bear another's cross better than our own; but that is best which is appointed us, and we ought to make the best of it. We must not by our rashness and folly pull crosses down upon our own heads, but must take them up when they are in our way. If any man will have the name and credit of a disciple, let him follow Christ in the work and duty of a disciple. If all worldly things are worthless when compared with the life of the body, how forcible the same argument with respect to the soul and its state of never-ending happiness or misery! Thousands lose their souls for the most trifling gain, or the most worthless indulgence, nay, often from mere sloth and negligence. Whatever is the object for which men forsake Christ, that is the price at which Satan buys their souls. Yet one soul is worth more than all the world. This is Christ's judgment upon the matter; he knew the price of souls, for he redeemed them; nor would he underrate the world, for he made it. The dying transgressor cannot purchase one hour's respite to seek mercy for his perishing soul. Let us then learn rightly to value our souls, and Christ as the only Saviour of them.

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Matthew 16 Commentaries