Lectionary Calendar
Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 16

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-5

21 Compare Mar_7:24-30 .

21 The incident of the Canaanitish woman is of surpassing interest to us, for it shows clearly what was the status of the nations in our Lord's ministry. Her very mistakes are instructive. The nations have no part in the Son of David. He is Israel's King. No matter how much she may implore the Son of David, He answers her not a word. Let no one suppose that His heart was not touched or that He did not wish to be gracious. She has come to the wrong door. Yet He will not dismiss her. Finally, He tells why He cannot help. The Son of David, the character she approached, has no commission outside the nation of Israel. An oriental king is considered the father of his people. They are his children. The Canaanitish woman had no claim on His bounty. This is the key to Christ's earthly mission. He was a Servant of the Circumcision, not of the Uncircumcision ( Rom_15:8 ). During His ministry the nations did not even have the place they received in the Pentecostal era. When, after much preparation, the apostles were taught that proselytes, such as Cornelius, could share a little of Israel's spiritual blessings (Acts.10). Later, at Pisidian Antioch, the door was opened by Paul, to some who were not proselytes ( Act_13:46-47 ). But it was not until the end of the Acts era that the salvation of God is sent directly to the nations ( Act_28:29 ). The latter half of the second chapter of ( Eph_2:11-22 ) is an elaborate statement showing that, in the present administration of God's grace, the nations are no longer in the inferior position accorded them in Paul's earlier ministry. Christ is Lord of all ( Act_10:36 ). Under this title even the Canaanitish woman was within His jurisdiction. She worships and calls for help. Yet even thus, she is by no means on an equal footing with the favored nation. Only the scraps are for her. If she will take the place of a cur, she can have a little of the leavings. This is the place we gentiles have in the ministry of Christ. Our position was improved in the succeeding Pentecostal era. But it was not until Paul's imprisonment that we were brought nigh and enter the family of God ( Eph_2:18-19 ). Until then we were still guests at Israel's table, if not puppies under it.

29-31 Compare Mar_7:31-27 .

32-39 Compare Mar_8:1-10

32 The feeding of the four thousand on this occasion is the complement of His previous miracle, when five thousand were satisfied ( Mat_14:16 ). There are two great lessons to be learned from it which can only be discerned by carefully comparing the two. As a sign, the seven cakes, added to the five, make twelve, which corresponds with the spiritual provision for Israel during their stay in the wilderness or before they enter the kingdom. The five cakes are for Israel in the past, being the first three accounts of our Lord's life, Acts and Hebrews. John's account was probably written later and is for the kingdom itself. The interval between the two miracles indicates the period of Israel's dispersion. The seven cakes are the seven epistles provided for their sustenance at the end of this eon. James, first and second Peter, the three epistles of John, and Jude will be their manna in the time of the end. The need was much greater on this occasion, for the throng had been three days without food. They were faint and in danger of collapse. These conditions will be repeated in Israel in the time to come. Then the believers will be glad to avail themselves of the Circumcision epistles which meet their needs and minister to their wants. It is sheer robbery for us to take this provision from God's covenant people. Should we purloin their spiritual provision it will not, indeed, diminish their store, but it will reduce our own enjoyment of the superabounding sufficiency supplied to us in Paul's epistles, for we cannot appreciate our own riches while we filch from them.

1-4 Compare Mar_8:11-13 . See Mat_12:38-40 ; Luk_12:54-56 ; 1Co_1:22 .

1 Blind mouths! What was the feeding of the four thousand but a sign from heaven? But if they cannot read a sign from above, He will see that they provide themselves with a sign from beneath. Undoubtedly these very Pharisees and Sadducees were instrumental in putting Him into the heart of the earth. His death and burial and resurrection constituted the great sign to the unbelieving nation. Jonah was a type of their disobedience as well as of His passage through death and of blessing to the nations through Israel.

5-12 Compare Mar_8:14-21 .

Verses 6-27

6 Leaven stands for corrupt doctrine (12). Our Lord was concerned that the disciples should not be tainted by digesting the teaching of His enemies. But all that they were concerned about was the possible lack of a meal! And this just after seeing Him feed such a multitude! Even if they had no bread, a little calculation in highest mathematics would show them how well provided they were with Him on board. Leaving out of our reckoning the women and children, our Lord satisfied each man of the first five thousand with one-thousandth part of a cake, with a remainder of twelve packed panniers ( Mat_14:20 ). Now He distributes seven cakes among four thousand. Each man would get nearly two-thousandths, or twice as much as on the former occasion. Surely we may expect a much larger surplus! Not so. There are only seven hampers, probably not half as much as before! The more He had to work with, the less there is left! The less He had, the greater the surplus! If we develop these equations to their limits, there would have been no left-overs if they had bought the bread. But, on the other hand, no one can limit the amount of food remaining, if they had not found a single crumb for Him to bless! This is a form of infinitesimal calculus which our mathematicians cannot grasp, yet is well within the range of an infant in the school of God. God needs our lack to display the plenitude of His provision.

6 See Luk_12:1 ; Act_23:8 .

9-10 See Mat_14:17-21 ; Mat_15:34-38 .

13-20 Compare Mar_8:27-30 ; Luk_9:18-21 .

14 See Mat_14:1-2 ; Luk_9:7-9 .

16 See Joh_6:69 1Jn_4:15 .

17 See Mat_11:25-27 ; Gal_1:15-16

17 We have come to the climax of our Lord's proclamation of the kingdom. The people know Him not. Only a few, led by Peter, recognize Israel's Messiah. These are the new ecclesia, called out from the nation, and separated from them by loyalty to Him. Our Lord's ministry commenced with the descent of the spirit in form as a dove. Peter is inaugurated into his new office by being named the “Son of a Dove”. Then our Lord plays on the meaning of “Peter,” which is “rock.” As such this new ecclesia would be built on him. The forms Petros and petra differ only in gender. In the new Jerusalem the twelve will be associated with him in the foundation ( Rev_21:14 ). But he alone is the foundation in this ecclesia. He took this place in the Pentecostal era. This is the same ecclesia which will pass through the terrors of the end time, for whom Peter's epistles are especially intended. Then the great dragon and his hosts will not prevail against this ecclesia. Peter used the keys on the day of Pentecost to open the kingdom to Israel. From Peter's confession forward the doors into the kingdom were shut and the Lord no longer proclaimed it. As He would not be present when they were to be opened again, He gave Peter the keys. Peter's dealings with Ananias and Sapphira show the power he possessed. None of this has any connection with the present ecclesia, the body of Christ. We are not built on Peter. None of his teaching is for us. We are associated with Paul. Peter's keys would not be any service to us, for we do not enter that kingdom. Before the powers of the unseen hurl themselves against that ecclesia, we will be safely at home with our Lord ( 1Th_4:17 ).

20 The proclamation of the kingdom is definitely postponed, to be taken up again by Peter on the day of Pentecost.

21-28 Compare Mar_8:31-38 ; Luk_9:27 ; Luk_9:22

Peter was doubtless elated at his wonderful honors, but his spiritual enduement had not yet enabled him to sympathize in his Lord's sufferings. Indeed, he would not hear of them. Herein he was imitating the very tactics of Satan, who proposed to give Christ the kingdom without the suffering. Hence Peter is called a satan, which is Hebrew for adversary. Our Lord now proclaims the evangel of suffering. Those who shirk-these will save their souls in the meantime, but lose them in the kingdom. Those who suffer-these will reign. There is much in common between the interval reaching from our Lord's rejection to His crucifixion and the present administration. In both the kingdom proclamation gives place to the evangel of His sufferings. In both service is associated with suffering and rejection with reigning. It is never said that the successful servant will reign, but, if we are enduring, we shall also be reigning together ( 2Ti_2:12 ).

Verse 28

28 See 2Pe_1:16-18 .

28 This prediction was fulfilled about a week later when He took His most intimate disciples with Him and they saw His power and presence and were spectators of His magnificence ( 2Pe_1:16 ). It is fitting that, at this juncture, there should be some plain intimation of the postponement of the kingdom. In the record the promise is immediately followed by its fulfillment, but there is a week's delay. Another cycle must run its course before the proper conditions reappear which precede the kingdom.

1-9 Compare Mar_9:2-10 Luk_9:28-36 .

1 This was not merely a transfiguration but a transformation. Satan is, at present, transfigured into a messenger of light ( 2Co_11:14 ). We should be transformed by the renewing of our minds ( Rom_12:2 ). Transfiguration deals with the temporary fashion. Transformation is the permanent appearance. The Lord's flesh was a veil or curtain, which hid His innate splendor. On the mount, the glory shone out so that it became visible to mortal eyes.

3 The mystery concerning Moses' body and the translation of Elijah explains their presence hero. While this is a glorious kingdom scene, it is also a preparation for the “exodus” which He was about to complete at Jerusalem ( Luk_9:31 ). The scene was glory but the theme was shame. So we do not see David on the holy mountain, but Moses, the great mediator, who led the exodus out of Egypt, and who wrote so much concerning His sacrifice, and we see Elijah, the premier prophet, who must come ere the kingdom is accomplished fact. These men sympathized with the sufferings which were before Him, but Peter has not yet learned the lesson. He wished to make this a permanent display and thus avoid the cross. But he foolishly places Moses and Elijah in the same class with our Lord. Just as Israel's unbelief dispelled the hope of the kingdom, so now his words draw down a cloud and the glory vanishes.

5 See Mar_1:11 ; 2Pe_1:16-18 ; Isa_42:1 .

9 Even during our Lord's ministry the kingdom could not be proclaimed because He had been rejected. He has once more been rejected by the nation, recorded in the book of Acts, hence the kingdom proclamation is once mere abeyance.

10 Though John the baptist was not Elijah, who will probably be one of the two witnesses at the time of the end ( Rev_11:3-12 ), he came in the spirit and power of Elijah ( Luk_1:17 ), and could have performed his mission if the people had been ready to receive him.

11 See Luk_1:16-17 ; Act_3:21 .

12-13 See Mat_14:3-10 ; Mat_11:14 .

12 John the baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah, but without his mighty deeds. He did not call down fire on his enemies nor lock heaven as Elijah did ( 1Ki_17:1 ) and as he will do again when he reappears as one of the two witnesses ( Rev_11:6 ). The prophetic testimony closes with the prediction that he must reappear “before the great and fearful day of Jehovah comes” ( Mal_4:5 ).

14-18 Compare Mar_9:14-27 ' Luk_9:37-42 .

16 Intimations abound in this period our Lord's ministry which point to a temporary failure of the kingdom testimony. When the disciples were left alone with epileptic Israel, in the Pentecostal era, they found it impossible to cure them, for lack of faith. The cure will not be effected until His return. If they had had a modicum of faith they could readily have removed the mountain of Roman supremacy far from them and put in its place the mountain of Jehovah. All the future fortunes of the kingdom were known to God, and, in His inimitable way, He is giving us a foreview of its history in the vale of unbelief, as well as a glimpse of its glory on the mountain top. These hidden hints, conveyed by His acts as well as by His words, are full of delightful food for reflection, and glorify the failures that follow.

19-21 Compare Mar_9:28-29 .

20 See Mat_21:21 ; Luk_17:5; Luk_17:-6 ; 1Co_12:9 ; 1Co_13:2 .

22-23 Compare Mar_9:30-32 ; Luk_9:43-45 .

22 The gloomy shadow of the cross lies athwart the pathway of our Lord throughout the second period of His ministry. More than that, His disciples were blind to it. As the Jews did not understand or accept Him as their King, so now His disciples refuse to entertain the revelation of Himself as their Priest and Sacrifice. So today His own saints turn from Him as the Saviour and seek to press His kingship, which is in abeyance.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Matthew 16". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/matthew-16.html. 1968.
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