Matthew 16


The Demand for a Sign

Jesus does miracles left and right until the leaders ask him to do it for show.  Then He stops.  Many people say, “If only I could see a miracle then I would believe.”  But the truth is that we could rationalize away any miracle.  All we need is already there is we really seek it.

 1The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

 2He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

 5When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

 7They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

 8Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter’s Confession of Christ

 13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

 14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

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

 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

 17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

That is the question we all must answer: Who do we say Jesus is?  Our Lord and Savior, or just a good teacher?  Good teachers don’t claim to be God and claim to forgive sins. 

Jesus Predicts His Death

 21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

 22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Poor Peter – he just got through being complimented for identifying Jesus as the Messiah, then he gets a stern rebuke. 

 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Jesus’ followers knew what it mean to take up one’s cross.  That was a symbol of dragging your cross on the way to being crucified by the Romans.  It was a final humiliation and warning to others. 

V. 26 is a famous and powerful line: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”  Anyone reading this is probably one of the wealthiest 2% of people who every walked the planet.  Yet all our wealth, education and success will mean nothing in eternity if we have forfeited our souls.

V. 28 sometimes  confounds people because they wonder why Jesus didn’t return before the disciples died.  The problem is solved by reading the passage in context.  This story is also told in Mark and in Luke, and every time it is followed by the story of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain (it was viewed by three of the Disciples).  That is most likely what He meant by saying that some of them would not taste death before seeing him coming in his kingdom.  Stick around for chapter 17 and you’ll see what I mean!

What passages stood out to you, and why?


2 Responses

  1. “deny yourself and take up your cross”
    aways a challange to us.

  2. “If only I could see a miracle then I would believe.”…(John 20:29 – Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.)

    peter…rock… In the Greek “Peter” is petros and “rock” is petra. The rock on which the church is built is Peter’s inspired confession of faith in Jesus the Messiah, “the Son of the Living God”, not Peter himself as some would think. (…I tell you that you are Petros and on this petra I will build my church.) The Greek petros (Peter), basically a pebble, is here distinguished from petra, a solid rock. Peter, with all his shortcomings, and the disciples (for whom he speaks in his confession) occupy a fundamental position in establishing the church. (Eph. 2:20)

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