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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Matthew 16

Verses 1-20

The Rejection of the Miracles of Jesus - In Matthew 16:1-20 emphasis is placed upon the rejection by the Pharisees of the miracles of Jesus Christ and the acknowledgement of Him by the disciples as the Son of God.

Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Jews Seek After a Sign Matthew 16:1-4

2. Jesus Warns Leaven of the Pharisees Matthew 16:5-12

3. Peter’s Confession of Christ’s Deity Matthew 16:13-20

Matthew 16:1-4 The Jews Seek After a Sign (Mark 8:11-13 , Luke 12:54-56 ) Matthew 16:1-4 records the story of how the Pharisees and Sadducees tested Jesus by seeking a sign from Him in order to find fault. Jesus Christ replied by telling the Pharisees that they could discern the natural sunlight and heavenly signs so as to determine the weather, but that they could not discern the divine light (Matthew 16:1-4). The sun bears witness to the divine light of God the Creator since sunlight works in a similar way to God’s divine creative light. Because of sin, mankind has been blinded from the recognition of this divine light (2 Corinthians 4:4).

2 Corinthians 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

Matthew 16:5-12 Jesus Warns His Disciples of the Leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees (Mark 8:14-21 ) The story in Matthew 16:5-12 of how Jesus warns His disciples about the leaven, or false doctrines, of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees naturally follows His rebuke to them in the previous passage. Jesus often spoke with the spiritual words while His disciples were initially trying to apply it to the situation around them. The emphasis upon false doctrine in this narrative material is because the theme of this passage is about offences because of false doctrines in the Kingdom of God. These offences are not coming from the multitudes but from those who appear to be within the Kingdom of God, that is, the religious leaders.

Matthew 16:13-20 Peter’s Confession of Christ’s Deity at Caesarea Philippi (Mark 8:27-30 , Luke 9:18-21 ) Matthew 16:13-20 records the confession of Peter when he acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The importance of this confession is that when Jesus saw that His disciples had received the divine revelation of who He was, His focus was immediately turned to the Cross (note Matthew 16:21).

The doctrine of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundational doctrine of the New Testament Church. Upon this foundation the Church is built. Therefore, at Peter’s confession, the “Church” is established upon the earth. This is why we have the first use in the New Testament of the word “church” within this passage (Matthew 16:18). No earthly thing is able to shake this foundation once it is established upon the earth. This is why Jesus replies to Peter’s confession by saying, “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We can see Satan fighting against this great revelation and its results as Peter is immediately tempted by Satan to rebuke Jesus (Matthew 16:22-23).

Once this foundation was laid, Jesus had no more need to stay any longer upon the earth. His need was to complete the work of redemption on Calvary’s Cross and return to Heaven so that He could send the Holy Spirit to strength Peter and those who were in agreement with his confession.

Matthew 16:13 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?

Matthew 16:13 Comments Jesus already knew what people were calling Him. He wanted to know what his disciples believed about Him.

1. God, the Father had spoke from heaven, calling Him His Son:

At His baptism: Luke 3:22, “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”

At His transfiguration: Luke 9:35, “And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.”

2. Those in Nazareth called him Joseph's son:

Psalms 127:5, “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

3. The demons knew Him, and Jesus for bade them to reveal Him:

Matthew 8:29, “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”

4. The Pharisees called Him one who worked by Beelzebub, the prince of devils:

Matthew 12:24, “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. “

5. Many people called Him the son of David:

Matthew 12:23, “And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? “

6. Herod, the tetrarch, called Him John the Baptist:

Matthew 14:1-2, “At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.”

7. Some of His disciples knew him as He truly was, as the Son of God:

Matthew 14:33, “Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. “

8. His true identity was the main issue at His trial:

Matthew 26:63, “But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.”

Matthew 27:11, “And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.”

Matthew 27:37, “And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Matthew 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

Matthew 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

Matthew 16:15 Comments Jesus knew what they had already said in the storm at sea (Matthew 14:33).

Matthew 14:33, “Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”

Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Matthew 16:17 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.

Matthew 16:17 Comments In Matthew 16:17 Jesus called Peter by the name “Simon Barjona,” a term used only once again on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (John 21:15-17). Simon Peter was the son of Jonah. Jesus told Peter that this revelation of the Son of the living God did not proceed from men, but from the Father in Heaven, as if to make a clear contrast between the fleshly and the heavenly, between spiritual bonds and fleshly bonds. Peter had left his father, forsaken all and followed Jesus. Now Peter could understand the important of His more important relationship with Jesus and God the Father, a relationship that provided divine revelation and insight into the heavenly realm, a revelation that Peter and the other apostles would dedicate their lives proclaiming to the world.

Matthew 16:18 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.

Matthew 16:18 “and upon this rock I will build my church” Word Study on “rock” Strong and Vine says the Greek word πέτρα (G4073) means, “a (mass of) rock.” The TDNT says πέτρα is primarily used in Classical literature to refer to “a large and solid rock,” and it is used literally in the LXX to mean, “rock, cliff.” In contrast, the Greek word πέτρος (G4074) means, “a piece of rock.” Vine says it means, “a detached stone or boulder.” Some examples of the literal use of πέτρα in the New Testament are:

Matthew 7:24, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock :”

Mark 15:46, “And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock , and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.”

Luke 6:48, “He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock : and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock .”

Luke 8:6, “And some fell upon a rock ; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.”

Luke 8:13, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”

The Greek word πέτρα is used metaphorically in the Scriptures to indicate Christ.

Romans 9:33, “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

1 Corinthians 10:4, “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”

1 Peter 2:8, “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”

Comments - Jesus is the foundation:

1 Corinthians 3:11, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

We, the believers, are living stones ( λίθος ):

1 Peter 2:5, “Ye also, as lively stones , are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

Comments - Note that the Church has a foundation.

Ephesians 2:20, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;”

Revelation 21:14, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations , and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

Matthew 16:18 “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” - Comments - Note:

NET, “and the gates of Hades will not overpower it .”

NLT, “and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”

Scripture References - Note:

Job 38:17, “Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?”

Psalms 9:13, “Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death :”

Psalms 107:18, “Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death .”

Psalms 127:5, “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate .”

Isaiah 38:10, “I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave : I am deprived of the residue of my years.”

Matthew 16:18 Comments In the ancient world an army besieged a city by surrounding it; yet, the army could not prevail against it until they broke through the entrance gates of the city. The “gates of Hell” is a phrase that symbolizes those bound in sin and under the power of the devil. The Church will be called forth in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) to storm the “gates of Hell,” break through, and rescue men’s souls from the grips of Hell. The way this divine warfare is conducted is through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When a soul comes to the revelation and confession of the deity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God that Peter has just made in Matthew 16:16, he is able to break free from the gates of Hell and is rescued by God. He is set free from every aspect of Satan’s realm that brings sin, sickness, disease upon mankind. The power of the Gospel to free mankind from the gates of Hell is the atonement of Jesus Christ. Peter will write in his first epistle that the atonement is two-fold: forgiveness of sins and healing for man’s body (1 Peter 2:24). The atonement was full and complete for mankind, spirit, soul, and body.

1 Peter 2:24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

Jesus’ declaration in Matthew 16:18 that upon this rock Jesus would build His Church alludes to the work of Peter in the early years of the Church recorded in the book of Acts when Peter’s sermon brought thousands of Jews into the Faith.

Origen speaks of this verse in the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius, who refers to Peter as being the rock upon whom the Church of Christ is built.

“And Peter, on whom the Church of Christ is built, 'against which the gates of hell shall not prevail,' has left one acknowledged epistle; perhaps also a second, but this is doubtful.” ( Ecclesiastical History 6.25.8)

Thus, the word “rock” is believed to be a reference to Peter himself, according to Origen.

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.

Matthew 16:19 “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven” Comments - There are several interpretations to the meaning of the word “keys.” When Matthew 16:19 uses the phrase “keys of the kingdom of heaven,” he is using it in a figurative sense. We know that in a literal sense keys are devices or instruments that allow us to enter into a particular home or a domain and partake of its benefits. In the figurative sense, Jesus is telling us that there are divine principles, or truths, that we as believers can walk in so that we partake of the benefits of the kingdom of God. The rest of this verse refers to our ability to bind and loose, which refer to things that we set in motion by our confessions of faith. Peter has just made one of those confessions of faith. The context of this passage emphasized the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The name of “Jesus” is certainly a key into the kingdom of God and a key to prayer and walking in authority as believers. However, it is what's in that name that is the key. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and living a life of faith in that name offers mankind the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven to fulfill the divine commission of Matthew 28:18-20.

Scripture References - Note other verses in the Scriptures that use the word “key”:

Isaiah 22:22, “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”

Luke 11:52, “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge : ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.”

Revelation 1:18, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death .”

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;”

Matthew 16:19 Illustrations - Illustrations of the authority of the church:

1. Matthew 18:18 (verse 15-20) - The church judges sin.

2. Acts 5:1-11 - Ananias and Sapphira.

3. 1 Corinthians 5:1-8 - Purging sin in the church.

4. John 20:23 - Authority to forgive sin or not.

5. 2 Corinthians 2:4-11 - Authority to forgive and restore others.

Matthew 16:20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Verses 1-28

Handling Offences and Persecutions in the Kingdom of God Matthew 13:54 to Matthew 18:35 emphasizes the theme of how God’s children are to handle offences and persecutions over doctrinal issues within the Kingdom of Heaven. [468] The narrative passage of Matthew 13:54 to Matthew 17:27 emphasizes the many occasions when offences came into Jesus’ ministry from the Jewish leaders and shows us how Jesus responded to offences. This narrative material builds upon the theme of the previous narrative material found in Matthew 11:2 to Matthew 12:50 regarding man’s reactions to the King. [469] This is because persecutions will come from those who adhere to false doctrines when we preach the Gospel and we must learn how to handle these offences. In this fourth narrative section, Jesus also explains to His disciples the dangers of offending others. Thus, the fourth discourse (Matthew 18:1-35) teaches the disciples how to properly deal with these offences within the Church, which Jesus experiences in the preceding narrative passage.

[468] Benjamin Bacon identifies the theme of 13:54 to 18:35 as church government and the problems of church unity. He says, “Because of this unmistakable interest dominating the whole structure of Division B (Matthew 18:0) we naturally expect from previous experience of our evangelist's use of his material that Division A will lead up to this Discourse on church government with narrative selections of corresponding character. In reality such is the case…” See Benjamin W. Bacon, Studies in Matthew (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1930), 397, 410.

[469] Craig Blomberg says two major themes are carried over from the previous narrative material, which are the increased intensity of the rejection of Jesus Christ and His message, and the progressive, Christological revelation of His identity to the Twelve. He says the development of these two themes create “sharper lines of demarcation between insiders and outsiders.” See Craig L. Blomberg, Matthew, in The New American Commentary, vol. 22 (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992), 226. David Turner describes the two leading themes in the fourth narrative section as “increased oppition and conflict” and the works and teachings of Jesus intended to increase the faith of His disciples. See David L. Turner, Matthew, in Baker Evangelical Commentary on the New Testament, eds. Robert Yarbrough and Robert H. Stein (Ada, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 358.

The one Old Testament prophecy of this division in Matthew’s Gospel is Matthew 15:7-9, which quotes Isaiah 29:13 and simply prophecies how God’s own people would rejected the Gospel, reflecting the theme of this division of Matthew on persecutions from within.

Matthew 15:7-9, “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

Isaiah 29:13, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”

In the fourth major discourse (Matthew 18:1-35) that immediately follows the narrative material Jesus lays down principles for His disciples to follow when dealing with offences. He quotes Deuteronomy 19:15 as a guideline for His disciples to use when dealing with offences.

Deuteronomy 19:15, “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”

We may compares this major division of material to the General Epistles of 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John and Jude in that they also emphasize persecutions that come from those who hold fast to false doctrines.

The section of Matthew emphasizing sanctification through perseverance from persecutions within (Matthew 13:54 to Matthew 18:35) closes with a transitional sentence that concludes each of the five discourses, telling us that Jesus had ended His teaching (Matthew 19:1).

Matthew 19:1, “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;”

Literary Evidence of a Common Theme between the Fourth Narrative Section and the Discourse that Follows There is literary evidence that connects the third narrative-discourse section with the fourth narrative-discourse section. While these two macro structures share the same theme of perseverance in the faith for the child of God, there is literary evidence to confirm this connection. [470] For example, the fourth narrative section is related in retrospect to the third discourse in the fact that the Greek word συνίημι is used nine times in the Gospel of Matthew, with six uses in the third discourse (Matthew 13:13-15; Matthew 13:19; Matthew 13:23; Matthew 13:51) and three uses in the fourth narrative (Matthew 15:10; Matthew 16:12; Matthew 17:13). This literary evidence reflects the common theme of the servant of God’s need to persevere in the faith in the midst of offenses by hold fast to one’s understanding and confession of faith in God’s eternal Word. In addition, the fourth narrative section shares a common theme with the fourth discourse that follows in the use of the Greek words σκανδαλι ́ ζω and σκα ́ νδαλον , key words Jesus uses four times in the course of the fourth narrative (Matthew 13:57; Matthew 15:12; Matthew 16:23; Matthew 17:27), as well as six times during the fourth discourse (Matthew 18:6-7 [three], 8, 9). Note that this key word opens and closes the fourth narrative section (Matthew 13:57; Matthew 17:27).

[470] The thematic scheme of perseverance connects third and fourth narrative-discourse sections. Scholars acknowledge the connection of these sections. For example, A. G. van Aarde says, “ Matthew 13:53-17:27, the fourth micronarrative, in an associative manner relates retrospectively to the third discourse (13:1-52) and prospectively to the fourth discourse (18:1-35), while correlating concentrically with the corresponding third micronarrative (11:2-12:50).” He again says, “the “structural interrelatedness of chapters 13, 14-17 and 18 fits into the concentric and progressive structure of the Gospel of Matthew as a whole.” See A. G. van Aarde, “Matthew’s Portrayal of the Disciples and the Structure of Matthew 13:53-17:27,” Neotestamentica 16 (1982): 21, 22.

Sanctification: Perseverance - Numbers Versus Fourth Discourse which Deals with Persecutions from Within - We see in the book of Numbers the establishment of the journey of perseverance that the children of Israel endured during the forty-year wilderness journey. In a similar way the fourth discourse on church discipline establishes the perseverance of the Church that every believer must endure.

The narrative passage of Matthew 13:54 to Matthew 17:27 emphasizes the many occasions when offences came into Jesus’ ministry from the Jewish leaders. In this passage, Jesus explained to His disciples the dangers of offending others. Thus, the fourth discourse (Matthew 18:1-35) teaches the disciples how to properly deal with these offences within the Church, which Jesus experiences in the preceding narrative passage.

In summary, the fact that Matthew 11-18 deals with obstacles and persecutions along the journey as a servant of the Lord is a clear reminder of how the children of Israel wandered in the desert facing similar challenges in the book of Numbers.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Narrative: Examples of Offences Matthew 13:54 to Matthew 17:27

Verses 1-28

Handling Offences and Persecutions in the Kingdom of God Matthew 13:54 to Matthew 18:35 emphasizes the theme of how God’s children are to handle offences and persecutions over doctrinal issues within the Kingdom of Heaven. [468] The narrative passage of Matthew 13:54 to Matthew 17:27 emphasizes the many occasions when offences came into Jesus’ ministry from the Jewish leaders and shows us how Jesus responded to offences. This narrative material builds upon the theme of the previous narrative material found in Matthew 11:2 to Matthew 12:50 regarding man’s reactions to the King. [469] This is because persecutions will come from those who adhere to false doctrines when we preach the Gospel and we must learn how to handle these offences. In this fourth narrative section, Jesus also explains to His disciples the dangers of offending others. Thus, the fourth discourse (Matthew 18:1-35) teaches the disciples how to properly deal with these offences within the Church, which Jesus experiences in the preceding narrative passage.

[468] Benjamin Bacon identifies the theme of 13:54 to 18:35 as church government and the problems of church unity. He says, “Because of this unmistakable interest dominating the whole structure of Division B (Matthew 18:0) we naturally expect from previous experience of our evangelist's use of his material that Division A will lead up to this Discourse on church government with narrative selections of corresponding character. In reality such is the case…” See Benjamin W. Bacon, Studies in Matthew (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1930), 397, 410.

[469] Craig Blomberg says two major themes are carried over from the previous narrative material, which are the increased intensity of the rejection of Jesus Christ and His message, and the progressive, Christological revelation of His identity to the Twelve. He says the development of these two themes create “sharper lines of demarcation between insiders and outsiders.” See Craig L. Blomberg, Matthew, in The New American Commentary, vol. 22 (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992), 226. David Turner describes the two leading themes in the fourth narrative section as “increased oppition and conflict” and the works and teachings of Jesus intended to increase the faith of His disciples. See David L. Turner, Matthew, in Baker Evangelical Commentary on the New Testament, eds. Robert Yarbrough and Robert H. Stein (Ada, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 358.

The one Old Testament prophecy of this division in Matthew’s Gospel is Matthew 15:7-9, which quotes Isaiah 29:13 and simply prophecies how God’s own people would rejected the Gospel, reflecting the theme of this division of Matthew on persecutions from within.

Matthew 15:7-9, “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

Isaiah 29:13, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”

In the fourth major discourse (Matthew 18:1-35) that immediately follows the narrative material Jesus lays down principles for His disciples to follow when dealing with offences. He quotes Deuteronomy 19:15 as a guideline for His disciples to use when dealing with offences.

Deuteronomy 19:15, “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”

We may compares this major division of material to the General Epistles of 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 John and Jude in that they also emphasize persecutions that come from those who hold fast to false doctrines.

The section of Matthew emphasizing sanctification through perseverance from persecutions within (Matthew 13:54 to Matthew 18:35) closes with a transitional sentence that concludes each of the five discourses, telling us that Jesus had ended His teaching (Matthew 19:1).

Matthew 19:1, “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;”

Literary Evidence of a Common Theme between the Fourth Narrative Section and the Discourse that Follows There is literary evidence that connects the third narrative-discourse section with the fourth narrative-discourse section. While these two macro structures share the same theme of perseverance in the faith for the child of God, there is literary evidence to confirm this connection. [470] For example, the fourth narrative section is related in retrospect to the third discourse in the fact that the Greek word συνίημι is used nine times in the Gospel of Matthew, with six uses in the third discourse (Matthew 13:13-15; Matthew 13:19; Matthew 13:23; Matthew 13:51) and three uses in the fourth narrative (Matthew 15:10; Matthew 16:12; Matthew 17:13). This literary evidence reflects the common theme of the servant of God’s need to persevere in the faith in the midst of offenses by hold fast to one’s understanding and confession of faith in God’s eternal Word. In addition, the fourth narrative section shares a common theme with the fourth discourse that follows in the use of the Greek words σκανδαλι ́ ζω and σκα ́ νδαλον , key words Jesus uses four times in the course of the fourth narrative (Matthew 13:57; Matthew 15:12; Matthew 16:23; Matthew 17:27), as well as six times during the fourth discourse (Matthew 18:6-7 [three], 8, 9). Note that this key word opens and closes the fourth narrative section (Matthew 13:57; Matthew 17:27).

[470] The thematic scheme of perseverance connects third and fourth narrative-discourse sections. Scholars acknowledge the connection of these sections. For example, A. G. van Aarde says, “ Matthew 13:53-17:27, the fourth micronarrative, in an associative manner relates retrospectively to the third discourse (13:1-52) and prospectively to the fourth discourse (18:1-35), while correlating concentrically with the corresponding third micronarrative (11:2-12:50).” He again says, “the “structural interrelatedness of chapters 13, 14-17 and 18 fits into the concentric and progressive structure of the Gospel of Matthew as a whole.” See A. G. van Aarde, “Matthew’s Portrayal of the Disciples and the Structure of Matthew 13:53-17:27,” Neotestamentica 16 (1982): 21, 22.

Sanctification: Perseverance - Numbers Versus Fourth Discourse which Deals with Persecutions from Within - We see in the book of Numbers the establishment of the journey of perseverance that the children of Israel endured during the forty-year wilderness journey. In a similar way the fourth discourse on church discipline establishes the perseverance of the Church that every believer must endure.

The narrative passage of Matthew 13:54 to Matthew 17:27 emphasizes the many occasions when offences came into Jesus’ ministry from the Jewish leaders. In this passage, Jesus explained to His disciples the dangers of offending others. Thus, the fourth discourse (Matthew 18:1-35) teaches the disciples how to properly deal with these offences within the Church, which Jesus experiences in the preceding narrative passage.

In summary, the fact that Matthew 11-18 deals with obstacles and persecutions along the journey as a servant of the Lord is a clear reminder of how the children of Israel wandered in the desert facing similar challenges in the book of Numbers.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Narrative: Examples of Offences Matthew 13:54 to Matthew 17:27

Verses 21-28

The Revelation of the Atonement of Jesus Christ With the Jewish leaders having rejected the doctrine of Jesus Christ and of John the Baptist, of the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 15:1-39), and of His miracles (Matthew 16:1-20), Jesus now begins to reveal various aspects of His atonement to those disciples who have faithfully followed Him (Matthew 16:21 to Matthew 17:27). This passage of Scripture is structured as a triplicate set of revelations followed by explanations. In other words, Jesus will offer a revelation of Himself followed by an explanation of the requirements of discipleship in light of His Atonement.

Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Revelation of Cost of the Atonement and Discipleship Matthew 16:21-28

2. The Revelation of Divine Authority of Jesus & Church Matthew 17:1-21

3. The Revelation of the Divine Provisions Matthew 17:22-27

Verses 21-28

The Revelation of the Atonement of Jesus Christ With the Jewish leaders having rejected the doctrine of Jesus Christ and of John the Baptist, of the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 15:1-39), and of His miracles (Matthew 16:1-20), Jesus now begins to reveal various aspects of His atonement to those disciples who have faithfully followed Him (Matthew 16:21 to Matthew 17:27). This passage of Scripture is structured as a triplicate set of revelations followed by explanations. In other words, Jesus will offer a revelation of Himself followed by an explanation of the requirements of discipleship in light of His Atonement.

Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Revelation of Cost of the Atonement and Discipleship Matthew 16:21-28

2. The Revelation of Divine Authority of Jesus & Church Matthew 17:1-21

3. The Revelation of the Divine Provisions Matthew 17:22-27

Verses 24-28

The Cost of Discipleship Having revealed the cost that Jesus was about to pay for the atonement of mankind, Jesus immediately followed with an explanation of the role of the disciples in light of His atonement, which was the cost of one’s life to follow Him.

Matthew 16:24 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.

Matthew 16:24 Comments - In Matthew 16:24 Jesus asks His disciples to take up their cross and to follow Him. The world sorrows for the loss of earthly possessions and gain. Jesus is asking His disciples to take up the sorrow that God bears for a lost and dying world. When we open our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God indwells us and allows us to feel the heart of God. As God pours His love into us, we respond by making sacrifices to win a lost world to Christ, and we experience suffering, because much of the world rejects the Gospel.

Arthur Blessitt tells a wonderful illustration of Jesus’ commandment to take up our cross and follow Him. His ten year old son, Joshua, joined him for the first time as Blessitt carried the wooden cross on his back through the nations of the earth. On this first outing with his son Blessitt made a smaller cross for his son to carry, complete with a wheel on the bottom. While walking Blessitt noticed that something was wrong with his son and he said, “Son, is something wrong?” Joshua quickly replied, “No, nothing.” His father asked him again and got the same response from his son. So, they continued to walk and Blessitt finally said, “Joshua, take off your shoes,” to which his son replied, “No, I don’t want to.” Blessitt asked him again with a little strong voice to take off his shoes. His son again said, “No.” Blessitt then said, “Either you take off your shoes or I am going to take them off.” Then, his son responded and took them off. To his father’s surprise his son’s socks were bloody from broken blisters while walking. Tears filled Blessitt’s eyes as he realized that his son had been in much pain as a result of following in the footsteps of his dad. Yet, his ten-year old son did not want to stop following his father. He rather chose to endure the pain. It moved his father’s heart to tears. [488]

[488] Arthur Blessitt, interviewed on Praise the Lord, on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

Our Heavenly Father responds the same way when we take up our cross daily and follow Him. God is touched with our sacrifices and gives us the grace each day to endure hardships.

Matthew 16:26 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?

Matthew 16:26 Comments - Today my uncle died. I am not sure if he ever gave his life to the Lord. I think of what a man would be saying in Hell as he begs for his soul. What would a man be willing to give in exchange for his soul being delivered from Hell? He would give any and everything at that point. (May 27, 2004)

Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Matthew 16:28 Comments - In Matthew 16:28 Jesus was referring to the event of the Kingdom of Heaven being established upon this earth. He preached and taught that the Kingdom was at hand. This refers especially to the event of Jesus’ resurrection and to the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was sent from Heaven upon earth. Myles Munroe explains the coming of the Kingdom in this way. He was born in the Bahamas, which was under the rule of Britain until independence in 1973. Before its independence this island was ruled by a governor. Before it was ruled by a governor, it was conquered by a king. After the initial conquest, the king returned to his homeland and sent a governor. His job was to speak the words of the king (or queen) of England and to make the Bahamas like England. When the Bahamas gained their independence, this governor was recalled back to his homeland from which he came. In a similar way, the Holy Spirit withdrew from this earth when man declared his independence from God. When Jesus came and conquered sin, death and the grave, He took dominion on earth over the powers of Satan and delegated this power to the people of His kingdom. The Holy Spirit serves the role as a governor, who is sent to speak the words of the King and to bring about the will of the King upon this earth. Thus, Jesus established the Kingdom of God with authority on this earth and He sent the Holy Spirit from Heaven after His ascension to govern His kingdom.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Matthew 16". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/matthew-16.html. 2013.