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Bible Commentaries

Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 16

Introduction

  1. Introduction:
    1. Read Jonah 1:15-2:1, 10 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. 17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 2:1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, 10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
      1. Chapter 16 introduces numerous notable things including the first mention by Jesus of the Church; as well, Jesus introduces the concept of His death and resurrection to His disciples.
        1. This chapter shows us 4 types of Faith:
          1. v. 1-4 ”No Faith”;
          2. v. 5-12 ”Little Faith”;
          3. v. 13-20 ”Confessing/Saving Faith”;
          4. v. 21-28 “Serving Faith”.

Verses 1-4

  1. Pharisees and the Sadducees: No Faith
    Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.
    1. The Pharisees and the Sadducees
      1. Odd phrase
        1. Now together; almost never together / Almost always opposed / Enemies
      2. Pharisees
        1. Very Conservative (Theologically)
        2. Lived according to the traditions of the oral law
          1. This meant that the “ADDED” to the Law of Moses
        3. Believed in the spiritual world
          1. Angels / demons / Resurrection
      1. Sadducees
        1. Very Liberal (Theologically)
        2. Rejected the oral law
        3. Did NOT believe in the spiritual world
          1. ​​​​​​​No angels / no demons / No resurrection
          2. This meant that the “TOOK AWAY FROM” the Law of Moses
      2. Paul before the Sanhedrin
        1. ​​​​​​​Acts 23:6-7 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. 7 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
      3. Agreed on their hatred of Jesus—both groups wanted Him dead
      4. They asked him for a sign from heaven:
        1. ​​​​​​​ἐκ; ek - out of
        2. Something they could see in the sky as dramatic and miraculous
    1. Signs of the Times
      Matthew 16:2-3 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
      1. Mariners saying: "Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning; red sky at night sailor's delight"
      2. Jesus “was” the sign
        1. Simeon in the temple: "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against" (Luke 2:34)
        2. Sent from the Father to the earth / Predicted by the prophets
        3. “Lamb of God” slain before the foundation of the World.
        4. Jesus is the demonstration of God’s love for mankind – He’s the sin payment for the world -- “IF” they will receive Him as their Lord and Savior!
          1. John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
      3. Jesus said they were “Good” at seeing the natural; but “Lousy” at seeing the supernatural
        1. Restored limbs / Made blind see / Made deaf hear – Not ENOUGH!
      4. Signs of the “Times”
        Matt 16:3b O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
        1. Because of their unwillingness to acknowledge the obvious, Jesus called them “Hypocrites”!
        2. “You cannot discern the signs of the Times”, Times is Not “chromos” - chronological time, or a sequence of time
        3. RATHER, Times IS kairos- eras, seasons
        4. In God's redemptive history, this IS the season of Messiah on earth
          1. Jesus held them responsible
          2. As “Good” Bible students, they should have known
        5. Today
          1. ​​​​​​​ Pinpoint weather forecast
          2. Economic forecast
          3. Fashion trends
          4. BUT, the world is Ignorant of God's redemptive history
          5. We must see that it is Almost the end of the times!
            1. ​​​​​​​Israel on May 14, 1948 was re-gathered “against all odds”
            2. Hebrew is now spoken in Israel “against all odds”
            3. Coalition between Russian and Iran against Israel
            4. ​​​​​​​We see the Saudi troops massed at the border of Jordan planning on attacking Syria.
            5. We see Syria massing at the border of Israel preparing to attack them.
            6. We see our own government and economy imploding upon ourselves.
            7. Our military is drawing down in a big way and we will soon have no means of quickly helping our allies.
            8. We will all be being taxed for insurance we either can’t afford or don’t want.
            9. The Love of the Most is grown cold –we are going to be forced to fund abortion and birth-control and socialized medicine which will lead to geriatric euthanasia.
            10. We have people in society eating other people and we’re more interested in animal rights and than human rights.
            11. Think about how quickly our society will turn their eyes from the abomination of homosexuality but will condemn someone who prays in school.
      5. Warning: be aware of the times
        1. ​​​​​​​We must see for ourselves the kairos- eras or seasons
        2. Matthew 24:3-8 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
        3. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
        4. ​​​​​​​2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
      6. Wicked and adulterous generation
        Matthew 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
        1. Wicked - exceedingly sinful
        2. Adulterous - spiritual infidelity
          1. Israel referred to as the wife of God
          2. Married to systems of liberalism and legalism
      7. Sign of the prophet Jonah
        1. "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40)
        2. Picture of the Resurrection
        3. Jesus IS THE SIGN!
        4. Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Verses 5-12

  1. The Disciples: Little Faith (v. 5-12)
    1. Bread
      Matthew 16:5-7
      And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
      1. Left in a hurry, didn't take much bread
      2. Took one loaf (see Mark 8:14)
      3. People of this day and age had to prepare food in advance
      4. The Disciple’s minds were on the physical: Disciples like us – comfort for us failures!
      5. Leaven - yeast; fermented dough influences and corrupts
    2. Ye of Little Faith
      Matthew 16:8-12
      Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
      1. Nicodemus: "'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?'" (John 3:3-4)
      2. Samaritan woman at the well: "'Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.'" The woman said to Him, 'Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw'" (John 4:13-15)
      3. Jesus miraculously fed the 4000 and the 5000, He can provide, they need to tune into HIS WAVELENGTH…
    3. Doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees
      1. Διδαχή; didaché - doctrine, teaching
      2. Pharisee's doctrine: legalism…in fact they “added” to the scripture w/ traditions
      3. Sadducee's doctrine: liberalism…they “took away” from scripture: resurrection, angels
      4. Both legalism and liberalism can corrupt the church
        1. Lives destroyed
        2. Spiritual walks ruined
      5. Bible never treats false doctrine lightly
        1. ​​​​​​​"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence" (Matthew 23:25)
        2. Jude 1:20-23 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
          1. Save people out of false doctrines
          2. Don't linger or entertain it
        3. Beware of what you allow yourself to listen to or watch that it doesn’t “hinder your faith”

Verses 13-17

  1. Confessing/Saving Faith (v. 13-20)
    Matthew 16:13-17 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
    1. Training the disciples
      1. 2 ½ years / Telling, training, teaching About Himself & About the truth
        1. Do they understand?
      2. Setting
        1. Away from the crowd; a private place in Caesarea Philippi / 25 miles NNE of Galilee
        2. Headwaters of the Jordan River / Feeds life to Israel /Stops at the Dead Sea / Called Living Water
    2. Jesus' two simple questions
      1. "Who do men say I, the Son of Man, am?" (v.13)
        1. He knew; wanted to contrast what people said with what they knew Him to be
        2. Son of Man: Used 100 times in the gospels / Jesus indentifying with mankind
        3. John the Baptist
          1. Herod Antipas worried John the Baptist was raised from the dead (see Matthew 14:2)
          2. As John was bold and uncompromising, so was Jesus (see Matthew 3:7)
        4. Elijah (Dead 900 years)
          1. "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse" (Malachi 4:5-6)
        5. Jeremiah
          1. The weeping prophet
          2. Jesus—a Man of deep emotion, filled with compassion, will weep over Jerusalem
      2. "Who do you say that I am?" (v. 16)
        1. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (v. 16)
        2. Christ not His last name
        3. Yeshua Ben Yosef; Jesus son of Joseph
        4. χριστὸς; Christos – Christ / מָשִׁ֫יח; mashiach - Messiah, anointed one
        5. Son of God – (“He IS GOD”) / Essence and nature of the Father

Verses 15-20

  1. Saving Faith (v. 13-20)
    1. Jesus' two simple questions
      1. "Who do men say I, the Son of Man, am?" (v.13)
        1. John the Baptist / Elijah / Jeremiah
      2. "Who do you say that I am?" (v. 16)
        1. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (v. 16)
        2. I asked the question, “WHO do YOU think HE is?”
    2. On this Rock
      Matthew 16:17-18
      And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
      1. Catholic church teaches the primacy of Peter
        1. Peter the first pope
        2. Vicar of Christ; (“Replacement for Christ”) He is the Bishop of Rome
          1. His position is to be passed down through apostolic succession
        3. Peter, himself, doesn’t see this…
          1. ​​​​​​​1 Peter 2:6 Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
      2. Church not built on Peter
        1. ​​​​​​​It would be a weak church, if it were built upon man’s shoulders!
        2. This was not the understanding of the apostles
          1. ​​​​​​​Peter not in charge of early church…James was and Peter submitted to him
      3. Play on words
        1. ​​​​​​​Πέτρος; petros – pebbles or a piece of a rock
        2. πέτρᾳ; petra – (feminine) mass of rock
        3. "You are a little pebble but upon this massive stone I will build my church"
        4. "I'm not building my church on you, pebble, but on what you said
          1. ​​​​​​​Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
          2. He’s building the church on Himself…
        5. Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
        6. 1 Corinthians 3:11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ
    3. Build My Church
      - Original: ἐκκλησία / Transliteration: Ekklesia / a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly
      1. ​​​​​​​True Church: Matthew 12:47-50 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
    4. ​​​​​​​Gates of Hell
      Matt 16:18c and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
      “Hell” is hades, the holding place of the dead. This verse speaks to the fact that the strategies of Satan will not prevail against the church (in the bigger picture).
    5. Keys of the Kingdom
      Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
      1. Keys were an implement of authority
      2. If you have the keys, you have control; you are in the position of a steward
      3. Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
      4. Peter acted as steward of the kingdom
        1. ​​​​​​​ Opened the doors wide on Pentecost when 3000 were saved (Acts 2:38-39)
        2. Opened the door of faith for the Gentiles with Cornelius (Acts 10:34-44)
    6. ​​​​​​​Binding and Loosing
      Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
      1. Peter - and the other apostles - would be able to set the boundaries authoritatively for the New Covenant community. This was the authority given to the apostles and prophets to build a foundation based upon Christ Jesus (Eph_2:20). i.e. fornication vs. coffee

Verses 21-28

  1. Serving Faith
    1. Where’s Our Heart?
      Matthew 16:21-23 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
      1. We move from “Saving Faith” to “Serving Faith” …serving Jesus Christ!
      2. Thou Savourest” – He’s saying to PETER, your interests are in the things that are NOT of God! You are interested in the things of this world!
      3. Matthew 15:7-8 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
      4. 1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
    2. Following Jesus
      Matthew 16:24-26 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
      1. Begins with the “right” heart…we must “want” to: it’s a “get to”, not a “got to”
      2. Become “selfless” – that’s what Jesus did!
        1. Mark 10:42-45 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
      3. Love Unconditionally & Sacrificially
        1. John 15:12-13 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
        2. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
      4. Giving
        1. Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
        2. Matthew 25:31-40 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
    3. Our Reward
      Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
      1. 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
      2. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
      3. Romans 14:7-11 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
Copyright Statement
Brown's Commentary on the New Testament is reproduced by permission of author. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Matthew 16". "Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnc/matthew-16.html. 2017.