Matthew 16

Listen to Matthew 16

The Pharisees and Sadducees Demand Signs

1 1And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and 2to test him 3they asked him to show them 4a sign from heaven.
2 He answered them,[a] 5"When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.'
3 And in the morning, 'It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.'6You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret 7the signs of the times.
4 8An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah." So 9he left them and departed.

The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees

5 When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread.
6 Jesus said to them, "Watch and 10beware of 11the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
7 And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, "We brought no bread."
8 But 12Jesus, aware of this, said, 13"O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?
9 14Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember 15the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?
10 Or 16the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?
11 How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? 17Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
12 18Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of 19the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

13 20Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
14 And they said, "Some say 21John the Baptist, others say 22Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
16 Simon Peter replied, 23"You are 24the Christ, 25the Son of 26the living God."
17 And Jesus answered him, 27"Blessed are you, 28Simon Bar-Jonah! For 29flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, 30but my Father who is in heaven.
18 And I tell you, 31you are Peter, and 32on this rock[b] I will build my church, and 33the gates of 34hell[c] shall not prevail against it.
19 I will give you 35the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and 36whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[d] in heaven."
20 37Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

21 38From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that 39he must go to Jerusalem and 40suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on 41the third day be raised.
22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord![e] This shall never happen to you."
23 But he turned and said to Peter, 42"Get behind me, Satan! You are 43a hindrance[f] to me. For you 44are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him 45deny himself and 46take up his cross and follow me.
25 For 47whoever would save his life[g] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
26 For 48what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or 49what shall a man give in return for his soul?
27 50For the Son of Man is going to come with 51his angels in the glory of his Father, and 52then he will repay each person according to what he has done.
28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not 53taste death 54until they see the Son of Man 55coming 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.

Cross References 55

  • 1. For ver. 1-12, see Mark 8:11-21
  • 2. John 8:6
  • 3. 1 Corinthians 1:22; See Matthew 12:38
  • 4. Luke 11:16; Luke 21:11
  • 5. [Luke 12:54, 55]
  • 6. Luke 12:56
  • 7. [Matthew 12:28; Luke 19:44]
  • 8. See Matthew 12:39
  • 9. Matthew 4:13; Matthew 21:17
  • 10. Luke 12:1
  • 11. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians 5:9
  • 12. Matthew 26:10
  • 13. See Matthew 6:30
  • 14. Matthew 15:16
  • 15. Matthew 14:17-21
  • 16. Matthew 15:34-38
  • 17. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 18. Matthew 17:13
  • 19. [Matthew 5:20; Matthew 23:3]
  • 20. For ver. 13-16, see Mark 8:27-29; Luke 9:18-20
  • 21. Matthew 14:2; Mark 6:14; Luke 9:7
  • 22. Mark 6:15; Luke 9:8; [Matthew 17:10; Mark 9:11; John 1:21]
  • 23. John 11:27
  • 24. See Matthew 1:17
  • 25. See Matthew 14:33
  • 26. Deuteronomy 5:26; Joshua 3:10; Psalms 42:2; Jeremiah 10:10; Daniel 6:20; Hosea 1:10; Acts 14:15; 2 Corinthians 3:3; 1 Timothy 4:10
  • 27. [Matthew 13:16]
  • 28. [John 1:42; John 21:15-17]
  • 29. 1 Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 1:16(Gk.); Ephesians 6:12; Hebrews 2:14
  • 30. 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; [Matthew 11:25; John 6:45]
  • 31. [Matthew 10:2; John 1:42]
  • 32. Ephesians 2:20; Revelation 21:14; [Matthew 7:24]
  • 33. Job 38:17; Isaiah 38:10
  • 34. See Matthew 11:23
  • 35. [Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 1:18; Revelation 3:7]
  • 36. [Matthew 18:18; John 20:23]
  • 37. Mark 8:30; Luke 9:21; [Matthew 17:9]; See Matthew 12:16
  • 38. For ver. 21-28, see Mark 8:31 - 9:1; Luke 9:22-27; [Matthew 17:12, 22, 23; Matthew 20:17-19]
  • 39. Matthew 20:18; [Luke 13:33]
  • 40. Matthew 17:12, 22, 23; Luke 24:7
  • 41. See Matthew 27:63; John 2:19
  • 42. [Matthew 4:10]
  • 43. See Matthew 13:41
  • 44. Romans 8:5; Philippians 3:19; Colossians 3:2; [Philippians 2:5]
  • 45. [2 Timothy 2:12, 13]
  • 46. See Matthew 10:38, 39
  • 47. [See ver. 24 above]
  • 48. [Luke 12:20]
  • 49. [Psalms 49:7, 8]
  • 50. Matthew 24:30; Matthew 25:31; Matthew 26:64; Daniel 7:10, 13; Zechariah 14:5; John 1:51; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 14; Revelation 1:7; [Deuteronomy 33:2]
  • 51. Matthew 13:41
  • 52. Romans 2:6; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27; 1 Peter 1:17; Revelation 2:23; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 22:12; See Acts 10:42; 1 Corinthians 3:8
  • 53. John 8:52; Hebrews 2:9
  • 54. [Matthew 10:23; Matthew 23:36; Matthew 24:34]
  • 55. Luke 23:42

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Some manuscripts omit the following words to the end of verse 3
  • [b]. The Greek words for Peter and rock sound similar
  • [c]. Greek the gates of Hades
  • [d]. Or shall have been bound... shall have been loosed
  • [e]. Or "[May God be] merciful to you, Lord!"
  • [f]. Greek stumbling block
  • [g]. The same Greek word can mean either soul or life, depending on the context; twice in this verse and twice in verse 26

Matthew 16 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.