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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 16

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 1

Pharisees-Sadducees ; opposite sects among the Jews. Chap Matthew 3:7 .

Tempting ; trying him, in order to get something against him.

Sign from heaven ; some miracle in the skies besides those he had wrought upon the earth, and which they pretended would more clearly show his real character.

Verse 3

Hypocrites ; pretending to one thing, while they sought another.

Signs of the times ; these had been numerous and decisive. They were far more convincing than many on which they daily acted with regard to this life. The sceptre had departed from Judah, and the lawgiver from between his feet; that is, the government of the country had departed from the tribe of Judah, and was then in the hands of the Romans, which Jacob, in blessing his sons, said should not be till Shiloh, or the Messiah, should come. Genesis 49:10 . John, the predicted messenger and forerunner of Christ, had come, chap Matthew 3:3 ; Isaiah 40:3 ; Malachi 3:1 ; Malachi 4:5 ; the Holy Ghost had descended from heaven visibly upon Jesus, and the Father had declared him to be his beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased. Chap Matthew 3:16-17 . He had wrought many incontestable miracles, and many predictions and promises of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah had been fulfilled in him, proving, most abundantly and conclusively, that he was the Christ. Yet they rejected all, and pretended that they wanted more evidence that he was the Messiah; while what they really wanted was, to put him to death, lest, as the Messiah, the people should believe in him. Evidence which fully satisfies men, and on which they readily act, with regard to this world, often fails to satisfy them in religion.

Verse 6

Leaven of the Pharisees ; their doctrines, verse Matthew 15:12 , in which is included also their spirit of hypocrisy and vain-glory. Compare Luke 12:1

Verse 8

No displays of the power and love of Christ in times past, will of themselves lead his people rightly to trust in him for the future. In order to this, they must have his present teaching; and for this, as well as other things, they should pray "Give us this day our daily bread."

Verse 17

Bar - jona ; son of Jonah; bar ; being a Syriac word for son.

Flesh and blood ; man. In order rightly to apprehend divine truth, and suitably to regard it, men must be taught it, not merely by their fellow-men, but by their Father in heaven.

Verse 18

Thou art Peter ; in the Greek, Petros , the same as Cephas-from the Aramaean, or Hebrew of our Lord’s day-and meaning, rock.

And upon this rock ; in the Greek, petra , that is, rock. The less usual form, Petros , differs from petra in taking the masculine form, because it is given to a man as his epithet. The words "upon this rock I will build my church," have been differently interpreted among Protestants. First, "upon this rock," that is, upon thee, Peter, with allusion to the name "rock," which Christ had given him upon his first interview with him, John 1:42 . According to this interpretation, Peter is called a rock only in a lower sense, as an eminent instrument to be employed by Christ in building up his church, just as he is afterwards said to receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven in a lower sense; for in the high sense, Christ alone is the rock on which the church is built, and he alone has the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Isaiah 28:16 ; 1Pe 2:6 ; 1 Corinthians 3:11 ; Ephesians 2:20 ; Revelation 1:18 ; Revelation 3:7 . Secondly, "upon this rock," that is, upon the confession thou hast just made of me; or rather, upon the great truth contained in that confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God". According to either of the above interpretations, Christ alone is the true foundation of the church. As it is written of him, "Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste," Isaiah 28:16 . The apostle Peter says same, 1 Peter 2:6 . Paul also, in Ephesians 2:20 , speaks of the church as "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone." Thus, according to the prophet Isaiah and the apostles Peter and Paul, writing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the foundation of the church, and of the hopes of all true believers, is, not Peter, or Paul, or any creature, but "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever." Gates of hell ; the counsels of the powers of evil. The gates of cities were anciently the places in which deliberations were held and plans formed.

Verse 19

The keys of the kingdom of heaven ; keys are a symbol of power and authority.

Bind-loose ; the same gift is elsewhere bestowed on all the apostles and the disciples generally. Chap Matthew 18:18 . The words of this verse may be understood, first, of the authority which Christ bestowed upon the inspired teachers and guides of his primitive church to settle all questions respecting her. For eminent examples of the exercise of this power, see the decisions concerning gentile converts, Acts 11:1-18 ; Acts 15:1-29 . In this sense, the power ceased with inspiration. Secondly, the words may be understood of the common power conferred by Christ on his churches to regulate their own affairs, to administer discipline, and to admit to or exclude from their communion. In this sense this power continues in the visible church, and is valid so far as it is exercised in accordance with Christ’s word. Apostles, in making known the will of God, and recording it in words which the Holy Ghost taught them, and faithful ministers in proclaiming it, allow or condemn on earth what God allows or condemns in heaven. Churches, when they act in accordance with his truth, bind or loose, that is, allow or disallow on earth what will br bound or loosed, allowed or disallowed, in heaven. Chap Matthew 18:18 .

Verse 20

Tell no man ; the time had not come to proclaim him publicly as the Messiah. He must first die for the sins of men, according to the Scriptures, and rise again for their justification. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 . The publication of the whole truth would at some times be very improper. It would prevent much good, and occasion much evil. Very much of a person’s usefulness on earth depends on his doing right things at the right time, and in the right way, as well as for the right end.

Verse 21

To show ; that is, plainly. Before this, he had only given obscure intimations of his approaching death.

Verse 22

Rebuke him ; this showed the self-sufficiency of Peter, his forwardness to express his opinion, and his liability to err.

Shall not be ; this was in direct opposition to what Christ had said should be, and what was essential to the salvation of men; showing that Peter was not infallible, but was often wrong. "As with a hammer of iron, Christ here crushes carnal prudence in Peter." We have infallible evidence of the fallibility of Peter, and that he was not, in character, conduct, or authority, above the other apostles.

Verse 23

Get thee behind me ; a similar expression to what Christ had before used with regard to Satan, the great adversary of God and man.

Thou savorest not ; thinkest not. Peter did not coincide in his views with God, but with men in opposition to God. God caused this evidence to be placed upon a permanent record, that all might know that such as exalt Peter above his fellow-apostles, in this savor not the things that be of God, but those that be of men, and expose themselves to the rebuke of the Saviour, "Get thee behind me."

Verse 24

Come after me ; follow my directions.

Deny himself ; abstain from all indulgences which stand in the way of duty.

Take up his cross ; resist the pleadings of carnal policy and appetite, and submit to whatever may be needful, in order to obey God. The life of disciples of Christ is one of self-denial. They must make sacrifices, and it is wise to do so, for it is the way to avoid the greatest loss and obtain the greatest gain.

Verse 25

Whosoever will save his life-lose his life ; whosoever shall save his temporal life by renouncing the Saviour, shall lose his eternal life; and whosoever shall lose his temporal life by following the Saviour, shall secure his eternal life.

Verse 27

The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father ; the splendors of the godhead at the day of judgment, when those who have suffered for him on earth will reign with him in heaven.

Verse 28

Not taste of death ; not die.

Coming in his kingdom ; coming to set up, extend, and render efficacious his reign over his people on earth, in preparation for their everlasting reign with him in heaven. There seems to be here a special reference to the awful manifestation of his presence and power in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish state, by which was shadowed forth his final coming to judge the world.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 16". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/matthew-16.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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