Matthew 16

Matthew 16:13-28

16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi [a Gentile region located about 25 miles northeast of the Sea of Galilee], he asked [began to question] his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man [this was Jesus’ favorite self description (cf. Dan. 7:13-14); a seldom used title for the Messiah; Jesus filled this title with meaning] is?”

16:14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist [executed by Herod Antipas who later thought Jesus was John raised from the dead (Matt. 14:1-2)]; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets [term falls short of who Jesus is].

16:15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16:16 Simon Peter answered [first clear confession of faith by disciples in Matthew’s Gospel], “You are the [use of the article defines Christ as the one promised in the OT] Christ [the Messiah, the anointed one], the Son of [Jesus had a unique relationship with the Father] the living God.”

16:17 Jesus replied, “Blessed [one to whom the Lord has shown favor] are you, Simon son of Jonah [like Peter, our origins are of the earth (“son of Jonah”) while Christ’s is of heaven (“Son of the living God,” v. 16)], for this was not revealed [to unveil] to you by man [result of human insight], but by my Father [indicates divine revelation] in heaven.

16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter [a small piece of rock], and on this rock I will build my [indicates that the church belongs to Jesus] church [first use of the word “church” in the Gospels; usage here refers to all God’s people rather than a local congregation of believers; a spiritual building made up of people of faith (1 Pet. 2:1-9)], and the gates of Hades [the underworld] will not overcome [to overpower, to gain mastery over] it.

16:19 I will give you the keys [“represent the responsibility of the church to provide opportunities for people to hear and respond to the good news” (R.J. Dean); the knowledge of the gospel] of the kingdom of heaven [the rule and reign of God]; whatever you bind on earth will be [“shall have been”] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

16:20 Then he warned [to order, to instruct, to seriously warn] his disciples not [until they fully comprehended His mission] to tell anyone that he was the Christ [many Jews expecting an earthly Messiah different than the kind of Messiah Jesus was (v. 21)].

16:21 From that time on [indicates a new stage in the self-revelation of Jesus had now been reached (Tasker)] Jesus began to explain [Jesus explained what kind of Messiah He was] to his disciples that he must [refers to a moral necessity] go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of [the following groups made up the Sanhedrin which later condemned and sent Jesus to Pilate to be crucified] the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life [cf. 1 Cor. 15:3-4].

16:22 Peter [still shared the false notion about an earthly Messiah; indicates disciples did not fully comprehend nature of Jesus’ mission as the Messiah] took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord! [or “God forbid it, Lord!”]” he said [an emotional response]. “This shall never happen to you!”

16:23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get [get away from] behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block [Gr. skandalon] to me; you do not have in mind [to be intent on] the things of God, but the things of men [Peter guilty of thinking like people of the world; any attempt to dissuade Jesus from His mission meant cooperation with Satan].”

16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after [follow] me, he must deny [in wholly unselfish manner; put God’s will before our own desires and wishes; means more than denying something for yourself] himself and take up his cross [means death to self and submission to God’s will; disciples familiar with this Roman practice of execution; Luke 9:23 adds “daily”] and follow [to follow like a disciple] me.

16:25 [a paradox] For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me [key words (“for me”) challenge us to consider to what or to whom we are giving our lives; for Christ’s sake] will find it.

16:26 What good [profit] will it be for a man if he gains [to win, to make a profit] the whole world, yet forfeits [to suffer loss, to suffer confiscation] his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come [“with rewards for those who gave their lives to and for Him and with judgment on those who refused to surrender their lives to Him” (Advanced Bible Study)] in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward [to give back, to repay] each person according to what he has done [deed, conduct, the sum of one’s doings including that self-denial, adherence to their faith and confession (Meyer)].

16:28 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming [possible meanings: the transfiguration (see Matt. 17:1-13), the resurrection, coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, the fall of Jerusalem] in his kingdom.”

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