MattheW Chapter 16
Memory verses for
this week: Mat 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,
last week’s lesson, Christ rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for
finding fault with the disciples due to them not washing their hands
before they ate bread. Christ pointed out that they broke no law in
doing this, but only a tradition. He went on to point out that they
made the laws of God of none effect due to their honoring the
traditions more than the commandments. In the latter part of the
chapter, we saw Christ healing the sick and later feeding the 4,000
with a few fish and seven loaves of bread.
I. Jesus Rebukes the Blind Pharisees and Sadducees
Mat 16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting
desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.
Mat 16:2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye
say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
Mat 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for
the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face
of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
The Pharisees ask Christ for a sign from heaven. This was an
insult when you think of all the wonders Christ had done in the land.
They had seen countless numbers of signs from heaven, and they had
ignored them all. There were so many, and they were adequate to
prove beyond any shadow of doubt that Christ as the son of God and the
promised Messiah that had been prophesied to come. It is hard to know
what they wanted… perhaps an audible voice speaking out of the
clouds. God had already spoken when Christ was baptized and said
that Christ was His beloved son in whom he was well pleased.
Mat 3:16 And Jesus,
when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo,
the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God
descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Mat 3:17 And lo a
voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well
Jesus replies that their unbelief is not due to lack of
evidence, but to a lack of spiritual discernment. The difficulty was
not with the character of Christ’s proofs, but with the state of their
hearts. (which was far from the Lord.) Jesus tells them that they
were wise enough to see the indications of the weather when they
looked at the sky. With all the miracles Jesus had performed, they
were too stupid to see the signs of His royalty and the nearness of
Mat 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.
Jesus declares that a wicked and adulterous generation seeks
after a sign. But there was not to be another sign, but the signs of
the prophets. Jonas and all the old testament prophets had told of
the one to come, and Jesus came according to all of those scriptures.
The resurrection of Christ would be the final sign to this world.
Remember what Christ had said about Jonah.
Mat 12:40 For as
Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall
the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the
The resurrection would be the final proof of the claims
Christ had made. All other founders of religions are dead and in the
grave today except for ours. Jesus is alive and seated at the right
hand of God today. And one day very soon, He is coming again to take
us to be with Him.
II. Jesus Interprets
the Symbol of Leaven
Mat 16:5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they
had forgotten to take bread.
Mat 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the
leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Mat 16:7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because
we have taken no bread.
Mat 16:8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of
little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought
As Jesus and the disciples cross the lake, Christ warns them
to beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He uses
leaven as a symbol of false doctrine. The Pharisees were a leading
religious group in their day. They were wrapped up in the law and
could literally quote from memory many of the books of the bible.
They believed in angels and the resurrection. The Sadducees did not
believe in either thing and were a strict sect of their own. The
doctrine of both were false. The Pharisees did believe in a few
truths, but most all of their doctrine was patterned after the
traditions of men. The Pharisees were the formalists of the day.
They wanted to be seen of men, and they had a large system of
ceremonies and regarded the rituals as more important that the moral
law. The disciples don’t comprehend what Christ means when he says to
beware of the “leaven of the Pharisees.” They thought He was rebuking
them for failing to bring bread to eat. Jesus had to eat to survive
during this time like any other man, but eating was not a high
priority in his life. Jesus reminds them of the miracles of the
loaves and the feeding of the multitudes beginning in verse 9.
Mat 16:9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five
loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
Mat 16:10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how
many baskets ye took up?
Mat 16:11 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?
Mat 16:12 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
Matthew Henry said this about the disciples lack of
reproves their distrust of his ability and readiness to supply them in
this strait (v. 8); "O ye of little faith, why are ye in such
perplexity because ye have taken no bread, that ye can mind nothing
else, that ye think your Master is as full of it as you, and apply
every thing he saith to that?’’ He does not chide them for their
little forecast, as they expected he would. Note, Parents and masters
must not be angry at the forgetfulness of their children and servants,
more than is necessary to make them take more heed another time; we
are all apt to be forgetful of our duty. This should serve to excuse a
fault, Peradventure it was an oversight. See how easily Christ forgave
his disciples’ carelessness, though it was in such a material point as
taking bread; and do likewise. But that which he chides them for is
their little faith.
Jesus points out that if it was physical bread to eat that he
was concerned about, he could supply that by speaking it into
existence. But he was concerned about a much greater bread… the
spiritual food that they were being supplied. Christ was thinking of
the false teaching to which His disciples would be exposed. We need
to learn from this too… we may not have Pharisees and Sadducees by
name around us, but false doctrine is abounding today all over the
world. If you check the total doctrine being taught, I’m afraid that
there is more false doctrine being taught today than there is true
doctrine. And the only way we can know this is to become students of
the word of God and know what God has said about each thing. Then no
one can mislead us. A few weeks ago, I met Brother Frank Johnson,
the recently retired pastor of a Baptist church in Midland, Texas.
He told me that in his 38 years of being a pastor at that church, he
never spent one hour teaching his flock about the false sects in
America. He said “I always believed that if I trained my people to
know the truth of the Word of God, then no matter who tries to mislead
them, they will not be tricked.” How are we in our spiritual
maturity? Can we spot false teachers for what they are? We should
be able to do that.
Heb 5:11 Of whom we
have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of
Heb 5:12 For when
for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you
again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are
become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Heb 5:13 For every
one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he
is a babe.
Heb 5:14 But strong
meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason
of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Mat 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?
Mat 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist:
some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ,
the Son of the living God.
After Christ and the disciples arrive in Caesarea Philippi,
he poses the question as to who He really was. His exact question
was “Whom do men say that I am?” Man has been giving an answer for
over 2,000 years as to who Christ is. I had several people email me
this week about that box they found somewhere there in middle east
that was inscribed “James, the brother of Jesus”. It is as if
something like this has to be found for people to believe that Jesus
was who he said he was. We don’t need a box, a burial cloth, or the
ark itself to show up to know that Jesus is true. Read the word of
God, talk to people who have been eternally changed by Jesus coming
into their lives. There are dozens of books out by men and women who
set out to prove Jesus was a false prophet, and by the time they did
their research, the vast majority have become Christians. The facts
speak for themselves. Man’s answer may be important to us, but
believe me, God’s answer is the one that counts. The bible says to
know God is true. He can not lie.
Rom 3:4 God forbid:
yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That
thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when
thou art judged.
Men said the Christ was perhaps John the Baptist, Jeremiah,
or one of the prophets. In this, they were saying that Jesus was no
ordinary man. If Christ was one of the prophets, that would mean that
God had to raise him from the dead. But the second question was a
more direct one… he says to Peter, “Whom do ye say that I am?” Every
man and woman will one day have to admit who Christ is. How much
greater and rewarding to come to know Christ in this life, and be
Peter says “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living
God.” Peter may have had his problems from time to time, but he got
this answer right.
Mat 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.
Jesus tells Peter that if was not some man (flesh and blood)
that revealed this to him, but it was the God of heaven who had
revealed it. Thank the Lord for revealing the deeper things of the
Word of God to us that seek after Him.
James 1:5 If any of
you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,
and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
James 1:6 But let
him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a
wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
James 1:7 For let
not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
Mat 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.
Jesus declares that He will build His church upon
Himself…Jesus is the chief corner stone that the Jews rejected. Some
have misinterpreted verse 18 to say that Jesus was going to build his
church on Peter. As we know, if he had done that, it would have been
a very flimsy foundation. No matter how much faith we have, none of
us would make a good foundation. But Jesus is the foundation that is
both sure and proven. When we build on Him, we have something to be
proud of. It glorifies the Heavenly Father.
1 Cor 3:11 For other
foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 3:12 Now if
any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones,
wood, hay, stubble;
1 Cor 3:13 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.
1 Cor 3:14 If any
man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a
1 Cor 3:15 If any
man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall
be saved; yet so as by fire.
1 Pet 2:3 If so be
ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1 Pet 2:4 To whom
coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen
of God, and precious,
1 Pet 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.
1 Pet 2:6 Wherefore
also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief
corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not
1 Pet 2:7 Unto you
therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be
disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made
the head of the corner,
1 Pet 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.
1 Pet 2:9 But ye are
a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar
people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called
you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
1 Pet 2:10 Which in
time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had
not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
I liked what J. Vernon McGee said about verse 18.
Let us look at this verse
carefully. On what rock did Jesus build His church? There are those
who say that it was built on Simon Peter. Well, obviously it was not,
because there is a play upon words here. In the original Greek it is,
little piece of rock], and upon this
[bedrock] I will build my church.” There are others who hold that
Christ is building His church upon the confession that Simon Peter
made. I don’t agree with that at all.
Who is the Rock? The Rock is Christ. The church is built upon
Christ. We have Simon Peter’s own explanation of this. In 1 Peter 2:4,
referring to Christ, he writes, “To whom coming, as unto a living
stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious.” And
he remembers Isaiah 28:16, “… Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner
stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be
confounded” (1 Pet. 2:6). The church is built upon Christ; He is the
foundation. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid,
which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). Christ is the stone, and He says
on this rock He will build His church.
Mat 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
Mat 16:20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no
man that he was Jesus the Christ.
The word ‘key’ here means authority. Christ is declaring
that He will give His church the authority to take the gospel into all
the world. There is one and only one key that opens the entrance
into the kingdom of God, and that is the glorious gospel of Jesus
Christ. We have been given the ability to bind and loose things here
on earth. An example of this is when the church sets a time to
worship. If we know we are to come at that time and worship, and we
fail to do so, we are guilty when we do not come. If the church has
to exclude a member due to unwillingness to turn from sin, you not
only lose fellowship with the church but also with the Lord. Jesus
warns in verse 20 for the disciples to not tell others what had been
revealed to them at this time. The multitudes were not yet ready to
hear the truth. Unfortunately, some never come to the time when they
will accept the truth of the gospel and wind up going into eternity
unprepared to meet God. This is such a tragedy… Jesus paid the price
and will take all who will come.
IV. Christ Foretells
His Death and Resurrection
Mat 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to show 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.
Mat 16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be
it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
Mat 16:23 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.
From this time forward, Jesus began to teach His disciples
about His death and resurrection. This was a difficult doctrine for
the disciples to hear and understand. What they failed to understand
was that this HAD to happen for us to have eternal salvation. Peter
was one quick to speak, and he stands and rebukes Christ… He did it
out of love, but he was wrong. Peter tells Jesus that it should not
happen. Jesus would not let anyone stop Him from His mission to go
and die on Calvary. Christ speaks in harsh terms when He says “Get
thee behind me Satan”. Anything that keeps us from the will of God
is sin, and Jesus would have nothing to do with it. Peter was
thinking in man’s way of thinking… Jesus was doing the VERY will of
God in His life.
Mat 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.
Mat 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and
whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Mat 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
Mat 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
Mat 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
To truly follow Christ, we must learn to deny ourselves and
die to the physical man each day. When we do that, we can be true
disciples of the Lord. Taking up the cross speaks of death, and that
is what we need to do to the old man. We need to let the new man
(Spiritual man) take control of our lives. I am looking forward to
that morning (or night) when Christ splits that eastern sky.
1 Th 4:16 For the
Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of
the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall
1 Th 4:17 Then we
which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in
the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with
1 Th 4:18 Wherefore
comfort one another with these words.
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4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect day.
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Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will be
Matthew, Matthew Henry’s
Commentary on the Bible,
(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.
Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible
commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System,
(Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.