1. Introduction to Chapter 16, which I have titled “Leaven, Keys, On to Jerusalem.” In chapter 16 there are three different but related subjects.
    • Jesus faces and answers the attack by the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:1-12).
    • Jesus asks his disciples who people say he is, and then asks Peter the same question (Matthew 16:13-20).
    • Jesus begins to direct himself, his teaching, and his disciples to his coming sacrificial death and out of this he teaches about single minded service for him (Matthew 16:21-28).
  2. Jesus faces and answers the attack by the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:1-12). Here we see the issue of negative volition. They had every reason to believe Jesus, but chose not to believe him. Signs simply strengthened faith or hardened unbelief.
    • This issue with the Pharisees and Sadducees is their willingness to believe Jesus. They are intelligent people. They understand signs, yet they refuse to believe what is right before their eyes and ears.
    • The Pharisees and Sadducees are self proclaimed enemies of Jesus. Note Acts 23:6-10 for an illustration of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Scribes.
    • The Pharisees and Sadducees were able to read the weather (Matthew 16:2-3), but were unwilling to read the Scripture accurately and read the life and messages of Jesus accurately. Jesus had given many signs, but they rejected signs he gave. They wanted more signs, but would not have believed whatever signs Jesus gave them. In Matthew 12:38 the Scribes and Pharisees asked for a sign, and in 1 Corinthians 1:22 Paul writes that the Jews seek signs. This in itself was not necessarily bad. But, the Jews rejected the clear signs that God gave. Apparently the Jews only wanted what they wanted—which at this time was probably the overthrow of Rome.
      • John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-12 with Isaiah 40:3; John 1:29; John 5:33).
      • Jesus’ works indicated he was the Messiah (Matth4ew 12:28; John 10:24-42; John 14:11; John 5:36).
      • God the Father witnessed that Jesus was the Messiah (John 5:39).
      • Moses witnessed to Jesus as the Messiah (John 5:46).
    • Jesus said that only the sign of Jonah would be given. That sign was resurrection. Note how much weight Jesus puts on resurrection as an authenticating sign of who he was and what his mission was. Jesus’ resurrection verifies and demonstrates that he is God and Savior and that the Bible is God’s inerrant word.
      • He has just fed 4000 men plus woman and children. That was a great miracle. The religious leadership rejected that sign. Why? The chose not to believe Jesus.
      • Because of their unbelief, Jesus turned away from the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:4). Jesus was rejected by the Jewish people (Matthew 13:53-58), by the religious Jews (Matthew 15:1-9 and 16:1-4), and by the Romans (Matthew 14:1-2).
    • Jesus took his disciples to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, and his disciples had forgotten to bring any bread with them. They probably complained about the lack of bread. Jesus used the no bread incident to teach a doctrinal point—leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:5-6).
      • The disciples simply thought that he was referring to physical bread that they had forgotten. This tells us how shallow the disciples were, even though they had seen Jesus do miracles and teach wonderful truths.
      • Before Jesus taught about leaven referring to false doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:11-12), he saw that the disciples needed another lesson on faith (Matthew 16:8-10). They had just seen him feed 5000 men plus women and children (Matthew 14:17-21) and 4000 men plus women and children (Matthew 15:34-38)—two different historical events. They did not think back. They did not try to relate the present need to what Jesus had done in the past. He calls them “you men of little faith” (Matthew 16:8).
      • If someone has the God ability to feed crowds of 4000 plus and 5000 plus from only a few loaves of bread and a few fish, he can surely take care of a few disciples. They did not remember, think, conclude, and apply what they had seen.
      • But, we often do the same thing. We are to learn so that we have a resource in our memory; we think about what we have learned so that the resource is clear, understandable, and certain; we then use or apply by faith what we have learned. We have studied this principle in Romans 6, Hebrews 5, and James 1. See the doctrine of learn, think, and apply. God provides for us, answers prayer, and blesses us in many ways. We ought to grow in our faith because of what he has done in our lives. Remember that a stronger faith is a faith that believes God more often and in harder circumstances.
      • Faith grows, becomes strong, and works when we remember and believe what God has done.
    • The point of doctrine for them to remember and use was that false teaching was all around them and it causes much trouble. He specifically was referring to the false teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees which rejected the Old Testament revelation about the coming Messiah. They wanted the Messiah to be according to their own plan.
      • False teaching is always present and believers need to know the truth in order to reject the false. Paul also addresses this in 1 Timothy 4. Peter addresses it in 2 Peter 2 and 3.
  3. The scene moves from the Sea of Galilee to around Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13). This town was in northern Palestine about 120 miles from Jerusalem and about 30 miles from Tyre and at the foot of Mt Hermon. Find Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee and go almost straight north to near Mt Hermon. In this section Jesus asks his disciples who people say he is (Matthew 16:13-14). After their answers, he then asks Peter the same question (Matthew 16:15-19).
    • The question that he asks is recorded in verse 13-14, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” In the context the Son of Man is Jesus. Various answers are given: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or another prophet. The people were not clear about the Old Testament teaching. Apparently Jesus had similarities with these men.
  4. In verse 16, Jesus asked Peter, and he answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Do you realize what Peter just said? Christ means the Messiah. The son of the living God means that Jesus is God and that Israel’s God is alive, he is not some idol or fanciful deity that comes from man’s mind. Peter’s answer is on the target.
  5. In verse 17 Jesus said that Peter was blessed—fortunate—because he stated correctly who Jesus was and because the source of his knowledge was God the Father, not “cleverly devised tales” as Peter will mention later in 2 Peter 1:16. Peter got it from God’s revelation through the Old Testament and the Holy Spirit. Andrew (John 1:41), Philip (John 1:45), and Nathanael (John 1:49) came to the same conclusion earlier, but apparently either had forgotten or Peter jumped in ahead of them.
  6. In verse 18 Jesus identifies Peter’s statement of faith with the coming church. Jesus will build his church himself, as presented correctly by Peter in his confession. The church, therefore, was built on God’s revelation about Jesus, the doctrine of Christology, not on Peter the person. I refer you to the doctrine, “Peter was not a pope.”
    • There are two main and opposing interpretations for these verses about whom the church, the future body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27; Colossians 1:18, 24) will be built upon. One is that the church will be built upon Peter. The other, and much more likely, is that the church will be built on Peter’s confession about Jesus Christ.
    • Peter is Petros, a masculine singular word.  Petros the name for Peter. The word means stone. It is translated Peter 155 times in the NASB.
    • The word “rock” is petra, a feminine singular word. Petra is different from petros. Petra bedrock or massive stone. It is used for the rock in which a tomb is made, for rocky ground, for the foundation for a house, for the rocks from which Moses got water, and for the spiritual rock of 1 Corinthians 10:4. It is also used for stone in parallel with lithos in Romans 9:33 and 1 Peter 2:8. The word rock in verse 18 does not refer to Peter. It refers to something else in context. It refers back to Peter’s statement in verse 16 about Christ. Ephesians 2:20 says that the church is built upon Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone. All the apostles and prophets are the foundation that connects to the cornerstone.
    • The stone image for the Messiah is also used In Isaiah 28:16. It is also used in Psalm 118:22 and quoted in Matthew 21:42-44, Acts 4:11, and 1 Peter 2:7.  Daniel 2:34, 35, 45 use the stone image for the messiah’s kingdom, of which Jesus is the king.
    • All of this indicates that the “petra” rock or stone refers not to Peter but to Jesus Christ according to Peter’s statement.
    • Matthew 16:18 mentions the gates of Hades. Hades is the place where the dead reside. The gates of Hades are the entrance to Hades. Jesus is saying that dying and the grave will not defeat the future church. In fact, Jesus will himself die, but he will arise from the dead. Death cannot defeat or destroy the church. Instead, Jesus’ death and resurrection will bring about the birth of Christ’s church.
    • In summary, Jesus Christ will build his church upon Peter’s Christological statement, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” Neither historically, linguistically, nor theologically did Jesus build his church upon Peter (Matthew 16:18). Jesus told Peter that he was correct and that Jesus would build his church on himself (Jesus Christ), the doctrine of which was embodied in Peter’s statement “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.”
  7. Jesus, in Matthew 16:19, honors Peter for his correct response. The meaning turns on what is meant by “kingdom of heaven.”  If, in keeping with common usage in Matthew, Jesus meant the future messianic kingdom, then it refers to authority that Jesus has just delegated to Peter for use in that coming kingdom. In the messianic kingdom, the disciples will rule under King Jesus and under David.
    • The binding and loosing have been taken various ways by interpreters. If the context and usage of “kingdom of heaven” holds, and we have no reason to change the meaning here, then binding and loosing follow up on the keys. They refer to Peter’s delegated authority in the messianic kingdom, not in the apostolic age. He will be carrying out leadership in the kingdom. See Matthew 19:27-28 where Jesus says that the disciples will have great authority in the coming kingdom.  Peter will rule subordinate to Jesus and David (Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Hosea 3:5) and along with the other apostles to Israel (Matthew 19:25). This is the most consistent interpretative answer.
  8. Note that Peter will not have original and determinate authority to bind and loose. The verbs “shall have been bound” and “shall have been loosed” are both perfect periphrastics. The verbs indicate that the action shall have already been decided upon in heaven. Peter will simply act and declare according to what has already been decided in heaven.
  9. Matthew 16:20 ends this section with Jesus’ command that they not tell the community that he was the Christ. Why? As the text has shown, Jewish people and Jewish leadership have by now rejected the Messiah and his offer of the biblically promised kingdom. The people mainly wanted freedom from Rome. Their misguided understanding of the Messiah was that he would, at that time, bring this freedom about. This was, of course, a false understanding. The Messiah would first die for mankind’s sins. Later, he would return in glory and power to rule as king of Israel and king over the earth. Peter, himself, heard of this return in Acts 1, and he wrote about this in 1 Peter 1:10-11. Jesus would bring this promised kingdom into existence at the right time. A man made revolution would do nothing but cause great suffering and death of many people. Jesus did not want this to happen.
  10. Jesus begins to direct himself, his teaching, and his disciples to his coming sacrificial death and out of this he teaches that disciples ought to single mindedly serve him (Matthew 16:21-28).
  11. In Matthew 16:21-23 we have a battle of human worldview and desire and God’s worldview and will.
    • Matthew 16:21 records that Jesus now taught his disciples more specifically that he must go to Jerusalem, suffer from the Jewish religious leaders, be killed, and the be raised from physical death. Note the precise sequence and accurate predictions of Jesus’ near future. Jerusalem, the great Jewish city; rejections by those who should receive him; crucifixion, and the resurrection. Did Jesus know why he became man and what he must face? Certainly.
    • Peter pulled Jesus aside and objected to what he said (Matthew 16:22). Either Peter did not know about Isaiah 53 and had forgotten what John the Baptist has said about Jesus, or he had an emotion caused lapse of memory. We can do that too. We get so involved in something that we forget the doctrine that we should apply. Whatever, Peter did not apply his just made confession.
    • In verse 23 Jesus pointed out the two worldviews. There is the human viewpoint and there is God’s viewpoint. Satan wanted to stop Jesus from becoming the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Peter was acting as Satan’s pawn by stating the pagan worldview.
  12. Matthew 16:24-28 records Jesus instructing his disciples about what it means to be his disciple. Living as a disciple ought to live will bring great pressure and suffering, but also unmatched blessing and reward in time now and in eternity. To come after me means to follow in his footsteps.
    • Verse 24 has three requirements.
      • Deny himself. Identify with Jesus, the messiah. This does not mean a disciple may not have any worldly goods. It does not mean he is deny himself things. To deny himself means that God and God’s son must take precedent over human desires. When there is a choice between promoting oneself and promoting the Lord, the choice must be for the Lord.
      • Take up his cross does not necessarily mean to die. Take the Father’s will for himself. The cross was the will of the Father for Jesus. The Father’s will for Jesus was to go to the cross as die as our substitute. The cross for each disciple was the Father’s will for each disciple. It may eventually be death, but it means to accept the Father’s plan and will for each day.
      • “Follow me” means that each disciple was required to accept Jesus as his leader, general, and Lord, and to do what he did and go where he went. We see this in Hebrews 12:2. Greek is akoloutew akoloutew to come afterwards, to accompany, to follow as a disciple, to obey. Here the best meaning is to follow as a disciple.
    • Verses 25-26 instruct about the value of one’s life and how to get the best value out of life now and then in the coming kingdom. Service and meaningful life at the present time and in the future kingdom. The application for us is that for the best life with the most value, we serve and benefit now, and in heaven we gain rewards. The best life now and the maximum value in life now and in eternity come with following Jesus Christ as Lord. These verses are really talking about rewards in time and in eternity as verse 27 explains. Dr. John Walvoord has said, “For the world, there is immediate gain but ultimate loss: for the disciple, there is immediate loss but ultimate gain.” Life (2x) in verse 25 and life (2x) in verse 26 are the Greek word psuche. Both are good translations, but in context it refers to the life of a person (man in 26). See Matthew 10:39, James 1:21, and 5:20 for a similar meaning.
      • In verse 25, note the contrasts: whoever wishes to save his life will lose it. If a person pursues life without Jesus Christ, that one will lose life in the sense that he will miss what God’s kind of life has for him and will still die and have nothing. The other side of this is that if one loses his life for Christ, he will find the best kind of life in time and in eternity.
        • The purpose of living is what is at stake. If the purpose is simply survival, that person loses big time. If the purpose is to serve Jesus Christ, that person wins big time. The believer who follows Jesus Christ will have the best life in time and in eternity, even though the life had much suffering. Recognized value and purpose counts more than monetary gain or fame. Think of all the people today who have money and fame, yet not value and no purpose.
      • In verse 26, we have profiting, forfeiting, and exchanging. Life is still the subject. The first sentence refers to accumulating wealth of the world. In doing so, he forfeits (zhmiow, to injure, damage, forfeit, punish) his own life and blessings from God. He gains nothing and loses everything he could have had. Why? Wrong motivation, self-centeredness, contesting the will and blessings of God. Exchange (antallagma, to exchange for something), indicates that one can make a very bad deal—exchange God’s blessings in life for human gain. The human gain does not last long and cannot pass through death. God’s blessings are lasting and fulfilling in time and continue on after death.
      • Verses 25 and 26 do not just mean to die. It means to lose ones life or give ones life to another cause, to give yourself to another cause.
    • Matthew 16:27 concludes this lesson. The word “for” indicates we now have an explanation coming. When Christ returns in his glory at the second coming to earth he will reward those who faithfully served him, even though they may have died serving him and most had gained very little of the worlds wealth, but had experienced God’s blessings in time and now will gain rewards in the kingdom.
  13. Verse 28 is a transition to chapter 17. He finished verse 27 with his coming in glory. In verse 28 Jesus says that some of the disciples will live to see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. This refers to a preview of the son of man coming in glory, and the preview will be the transfiguration of Chapter 17.    
  14. Summary for application
    • Here we see the issue of negative volition (Matthew 16:1-4). They had every reason to believe Jesus, but chose not to believe him. Signs simply strengthened faith or hardened unbelief. This is quite common. People who say no to God too many times become hardened to God and his revelation. You can think of the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Ephesians 4:17-20 speaks of it.
    • Jesus’ resurrection verifies and demonstrates that he is God and Savior and that the Bible is God’s inerrant word. He made a point that his resurrection pointed to his persona and his mission (Matthew 16:4). Rely on this when people attack your faith.
    • Faith grows, becomes strong, and works when we remember and believe what God has done (Matthew 16:8-12). The reverse is also true. When we ignore God and his revelation, we forget him and his promises and his will and the complete life that we have and can experience in him.
    • The church was built Jesus Christ. Peter expressed God’s revelation about Jesus, the doctrine of Christology (Matthew 16:16-19). The church was not founded on Peter the person. Jesus Christ will build his church upon Peter’s Christological statement, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” Neither historically, linguistically, nor theologically did Jesus build his church upon Peter.
    • Jesus would bring this promised kingdom into existence at the right time (Matthew 16:20). A man made revolution would do nothing but cause great suffering and death of many people. Jesus did not want this to happen. Today religious political alignments only bring repression, suffering, distortion of God’s truth, and death.
    • There is the human viewpoint and there is God’s viewpoint (Matthew 16:21-23). Satan wanted to stop Jesus from dying as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Peter was acting as Satan’s pawn by stating the pagan worldview. Rejection of the substitutionary work of Christ is a crowning creed of paganism. Every non-biblical religious system denies the completed work of Christ on the cross. Research that and you will see it is true.
    • Living as a disciple ought to live will bring great pressure and suffering, but also unmatched blessing and reward in time and in eternity. The best life and the maximum value in life and in eternity come with following Jesus Christ as Lord (Matthew 16:24-27). People cannot live without meaning, value, and purpose to life. Those only come in the true and highest sense when one lives in relationship with God whom one understands and knows, and lives according to what God has revealed, and lives for God’s purposes and glory. Plays, movies, novels, reflect the lack of meaning and purpose in life. The drug culture is a direct result of meaninglessness. Post modernism reflects the rejection of God, God’s word, and God’s purpose for life. How do each of us relate to following Jesus Christ?
    • Human gain and honors do not last long and cannot pass through death’s door. God’s blessings are lasting and fulfilling in time and continue on after death. Dr. John Walvoord has said, “For the world, there is immediate gain but ultimate loss: for the disciple, there is immediate loss but ultimate gain.” What is important to each of us? What are we spending our lives for?