Matthew 16

1 And the Pharisees and Sadducees, coming to [him], asked him, tempting [him], to shew them a sign out of heaven.
2 But he answering said to them, When evening is come, ye say, Fine weather, for the sky is red;
3 and in the morning, A storm to-day, for the sky is red [and] lowering; ye know [how] to discern the face of the sky, but ye cannot the signs of the times.
4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and a sign shall not be given to it save the sign of Jonas. And he left them and went away.
5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
6 And Jesus said to them, See and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, Because we have taken no bread.
8 And Jesus knowing [it], said, Why reason ye among yourselves, O ye of little faith, because ye have taken no bread?
9 Do ye not yet understand nor remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many hand-baskets ye took [up]?
10 nor the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took [up]?
11 How do ye not understand that [it was] not concerning bread I said to you, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees?
12 Then they comprehended that he did not speak of being beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
13 But when Jesus was come into the parts of Caesarea-Philippi, he demanded of his disciples, saying, Who do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some, John the baptist; and others, Elias; and others again, Jeremias or one of the prophets.
15 He says to them, But *ye*, who do ye say that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answering said, *Thou* art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answering said to him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed [it] to thee, but my Father who is in the heavens.
18 And *I* also, I say unto thee that *thou* art Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and hades' gates shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of the heavens; and whatsoever thou mayest bind upon the earth shall be bound in the heavens; and whatsoever thou mayest loose on the earth shall be loosed in the heavens.
20 Then he enjoined on his disciples that they should say to no man that he was the Christ.
21 From that time Jesus began to shew to his disciples that he must go away to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised.
22 And Peter taking him to [him] began to rebuke him, saying, God] be favourable to thee, Lord; this shall in no wise be unto thee.
23 But turning round, he said to Peter, Get away behind me, Satan; thou art an offence to me, for thy mind is not on the things that are of God, but on the things that are of men.
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, If any one desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25 For whosoever shall desire to save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what does a man profit, if he should gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
27 For the Son of man is about to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to each according to his doings.
28 Verily I say unto you, There are some of those standing here that shall not taste of death at all until they shall have seen the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

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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 14

  • [a]. To leave absolutely, as ch. 21.17; John 8.9; Heb. 11.27.
  • [b]. The Greek means, 'to fix one's mind on;' and the 'of' is 'because of,' 'in view of.' 'To attend so as to guard yourself from.' 'Beware of,' I believe, most nearly conveys it: so ver. 11.
  • [c]. A round-plaited hand-basket for a journey.
  • [d]. Larger than the 'hand-basket' in ver. 9. It is particularly a 'fish-basket.'
  • [e]. See chs. 14.20 and 15.37.
  • [f]. As ch. 15.21: see Note.
  • [g]. Or 'questioned;' erotao: see Note, John 14.16.
  • [h]. i.e. a 'different class.'
  • [i]. 'Son of Jonas.'
  • [j]. 'A stone.'
  • [k]. Or 'gates of hades.' These words are rather in a remarkable manner without the article, giving the character of the power rather than a particular object before the mind.
  • [l]. The word signifies both 'life' and 'soul.'
  • [m]. 'Who are such as:' see ch. 2.6. Or 'who indeed:' see Note, Luke 9.30.
  • [n]. 'Not at all:' a strengthened negative.

Matthew 16 Commentaries