Matthew 16

The Yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees

1 The Pharisees and Sadducees approached, and as a test, asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.
2 He answered them: "When evening comes you say, 'It will be good weather because the sky is red.'
3 And in the morning, 'Today will be stormy because the sky is red and threatening.' You [a] know how to read the appearance of the sky, but you can't read the signs of the times. [b]
4 An evil and adulterous generation wants a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of [c] Jonah." Then He left them and went away.
5 The disciples reached the other shore,[d] and they had forgotten to take bread.
6 Then Jesus told them, "Watch out and beware of the yeast [e] of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
7 And they discussed among themselves, "We didn't bring any bread."
8 Aware of this, Jesus said, "You of little faith! Why are you discussing among yourselves that you do not have bread?
9 Don't you understand yet? Don't you remember the five loaves for the 5,000 and how many baskets you collected?
10 Or the seven loaves for the 4,000 and how many large baskets you collected?
11 Why is it you don't understand that when I told you, 'Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees,' it wasn't about bread?"
12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the yeast in bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter's Confession of the Messiah

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi,[f] He asked His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" [g]
14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15 "But you," He asked them, "who do you say that I am?"
16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!"
17 And Jesus responded, "Simon son of Jonah, [h] you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven.
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth is already bound [i] in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed [j] in heaven."
20 And He gave the disciples orders to tell no one that He was[k] the Messiah.

His Death and Resurrection Predicted

21 From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.
22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, "Oh no,[l] Lord! This will never happen to You!"
23 But He turned and told Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me because you're not thinking about God's concerns, [m] but man's."

Take Up Your Cross

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.
25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.
26 What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?
27 For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will reward each according to what he has done.
28 I assure you: There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man 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.

Footnotes 16

  • [a]. Other mss read Hypocrites! You
  • [b]. Other mss omit When (v. 2) through end of v. 3
  • [c]. Other mss add the prophet
  • [d]. Lit disciples went to the other side
  • [e]. Or leaven
  • [f]. A town north of Galilee at the base of Mount Hermon
  • [g]. Other mss read that I, the Son of Man, am
  • [h]. Or son of John
  • [i]. Peter (Gk Petros) = a specific stone or rock
  • [j]. Rock (Gk petra) = a rocky crag or bedrock
  • [k]. Lit gates
  • [l]. Or earth will be bound
  • [m]. Or earth will be loosed
  • [n]. Other mss add Jesus
  • [o]. Lit Mercy to You May God have mercy on You
  • [p]. Lit about the things of God

Matthew 16 Commentaries