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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 16

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"I Will Build My Church"

Matthew Sixteen

The Pharisees and Sadducees were very much opposed to each other in their conduct and doctrine. However, they joined against Christ to trap Him. They had not been satisfied with the signs that Jesus had given them to prove that He was the Messiah. They desired a sign of their own choosing. No such sign would be given.

The disciples were worried because they forgot to take bread as they went across the lake. Jesus reminded them of the feeding of the 4,000 and the 5,000 and how much was left over. When Jesus said, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" "He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." ( Mat_16:6 , Mat_16:12 )

Matthew sixteen contains the Lord's promise to build His church. Matthew is the only Gospel in which the word church appears. Following Peter's confession of Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus said, "That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." ( Mat_16:18 )

One purpose set forth in Matthew 16 was to provide a prediction of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. Matthew proved beyond doubt the Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. There was also a challenge to give up everything and follow Him. When one follows Jesus he lives a life that is defined by the will and way of God and shaped in the image of the Lord.

Verses 1-12

The danger of false doctrine Mat_16:1-12 : The Pharisees and Sadducees were seeking a sign from heaven. Hatred for Jesus had brought together this strange coalition. There were the Pharisees that believed in the resurrection, spirits and angels and the Sadducees that did not. They asked for a "sign from heaven." Those seeking a sign were "a wicked and adulterous" generation. The only sign they would receive was, "the sign of the prophet Jonah." In our day it is not unusual to see those in denominational error join forces against Christ, His church and His truth.

"Jesus said, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees" simply meant beware of their doctrine." ( Mat_16:12 ) The lack of physical bread was no problem for Him who could feed multitudes with only a small amount. But, false doctrine always poses a serious problem for those that would follow Jesus.

Verses 13-18

I will build My church Mat_16:13-18 : Jesus promised to build His church. It is still true, "Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it..." ( Psa_127:1 ) Jesus was not John, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Those that thought Him to be so were wrong. Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." ( Mat_16:16 )

Jesus promised to build His church. Observe: (1) The foundation -- "upon this rock", (2) The certainty -- "I will build My church", (3) The owner -- "I will build My church", (4) The nature of it -- "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it", (5) The authority involved -- "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven." Jesus kept His promise and built His church. (Acts 2) He is both foundation and chief corner stone for His church.

It was God's eternal purpose that men should serve Him in the one church that Jesus built. Both Jew and Gentile are reconciled unto God in one body or one church. ( Eph_2:16 ) There is only one true church for all nations. ( Eph_1:22-23 , Eph_4:4 ) This one body is also called the church in Col_1:18 . The one true church was purchased by the blood of Jesus. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." ( Act_20:28 ) The church began on the Pentecost Day following the resurrection of Christ. On that day sinners were told to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. ( Act_2:38 ) Three thousand people gladly received the word and were baptized. These people were added by the Lord to His church. ( Act_2:47 ) Today you can be a part of that same church that Christ built!

Verses 21-23

A prediction of suffering, death and resurrection Mat_16:21-23 : There was no way for Jesus or His disciples but the way of the cross. "From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day." ( Mat_16:21 )

Peter rebuked Jesus for talking about suffering, dying, and being resurrected. Jesus called him "Satan." "...Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." ( Mat_16:23 ) Satan was using Peter to speak a message to Jesus. Satan uses many voices today to have his message heard.

We must understand the necessity of the cross if we are to understand Christianity. Christianity would make no sense apart from the sacrifice of Jesus. What a shock it must have been to the disciples when Jesus told them that (1) He would suffer at Jerusalem, (2) that He would suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, (3) that He would be killed, and (4) That He would be raised again the third day. Jerusalem was the city of sacrifices where our Passover Lamb died for our sins. ( 1Co_5:7 ) John the Baptist had said "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." ( Joh_1:29 )

Verses 24-28

A challenge for a lifetime commitment Mat_16:24-28 : The challenge was simple "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." ( Mat_16:24 ) To deny self is to say no to self and yes to God. To deny oneself means to deny one's own idea and accept God's word as the only absolute truth. To follow Jesus means to learn of Him. To follow Jesus means to learn His lifestyle and to imitate it.

The greatest challenge of a lifetime is not the highest mountain or the fastest speed. The greatest challenge of life is to follow Jesus. This means that real sacrifices will be made for God. ( Mat_16:25 ) A true disciple gladly gives up all that he has in exchange for an unending life of joy and happiness with God. God expects you to give yourself. Anything less would mean the lose of your soul. ( Mat_16:26 ) But those that live for the glory of God will live forever and will receive that everlasting reward, eternal life.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Matthew 16". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/matthew-16.html. 2014.
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