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THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
SIGNS, LEAVEN, A ROCK, A REBUKE,
[“Who Am I?”]
(Key word: Congregation)
Matthew 16:1-4 – The Signs of the Times
|| Mark 8:11-13; Luke 12:54-56
MT16:1 Here in Magadan the Pharisees and Sadducees approached Jesus to tempt him, requesting some display as a sign from heaven.954
A sign from heaven: Compare notes on Matthew 12:38.
Jesus answered them, saying,
“When evening comes you say, ‘The red sky means955 fair weather.’
Red sky means: The ancient sailors saying: “Red sky at night – sailor’s [shepherd’s] delight; red sky in the morning – sailor take warning.” [א, B, Syc,s, Arm omit verses 2, 3]
MT16:3And at dawn, ‘Gloomy winter for the sky is red.’ Surely you know how to distinguish the face of the sky but signs of the times956 you are unable.
Signs of the times: The only occurrence of the phrase and generally rendered as it is. Luke 12:56 puts it, “how
to examine this particular time.” (NWT)
MT16:4A wicked and adulterous generation seeks a sign957 and no sign will be given it save the sign of Jonah.”958
With that Jesus departed leaving them behind.
Generation seeks a sign: Compare Mark 8:12. Without prophetic support the
opposers of Jesus wanted some sign from God proving the Nazarene was a prophet. One wonders how much more they wanted to prove the carpenter was the Messiah. Of the four Gospels it is John who uses the word “signs” the most. Compare John 2:11, 23; 3:2; 4:48; 6:2, 14, 26; 7:31; 9:16; 11:47; 12:37; 20:30. Jesus does not perform signs merely because someone or a group demands this of him. In the end the signs did not move most people. Some agreed that Messiah could not perform more signs.
Sign of Jonah: See notes on Matthew 12:39.
Matthew 16:5-12 – Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching
|| Mark 8:14-21; Luke 12:1
MT16:5 Now the disciples arrived on the other side of the lake and they forgot to bring loaves of bread with them.
MT16:6 So, Jesus told them,
“Watch and pay attention regarding the leaven959 of the Pharisees
Leaven: Compare Mark 8:15 where Jesus includes the party followers of Herod; and, Luke 12:1 where “hypocrisy”
is included. See notes on Matthew 13:33.
MT16:7 The disciples now carried on a dialogue among themselves, “We brought no loaves of bread.”
MT16:8 Realizing what they were talking about, Jesus said to them,
“Men of very small faith,960 why are you having this dialogue just because you did not bring loaves of bread?
Men of very small faith: See notes on Matthew 8:26.
MT16:9Do you not perceive961 or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and
how many surplus baskets you gathered?
Do you not perceive: One gets the feeling that the miracle of feeding the crowds was more of an object lesson for the apostles.
MT16:10Or the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many surplus baskets you gathered?MT16:11Why do you not realize that I was not speaking about loaves of bread? Rather, be alert regarding962 the ‘leaven’ of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Be alert regarding: Jesus believed in Biblical Truth and made no effort to compromise his teachings with others. He wanted
his disciples to pay close attention to what others taught and view as ‘leaven’ (or corrupt doctrines) those teachings or manners which did not line up with his own teachings.
the disciples finally got the point that Jesus was not talking about the leaven of loaves but rather the teaching of963
the Pharisees and Sadducees.
The teaching of: Jesus has mentioned three groups in this context. Regarding the Pharisees
(self-righteous conservatives) Josephus records: “And so great is (the Pharisees’) influence with the masses that even when they speak against a king or high priest, they immediately gain credence.” [Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 288
(x, 5)] “They believe that souls have power to survive death and that there are rewards and punishments under the earth for those who have led lives of virtue or vice: eternal imprisonment is the lot of evil souls, while the good souls receive an easy
passage to a new life.” (Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 14 [i, 3]) “Every soul, they maintain, is imperishable, but the soul of the good alone passes into another body, while the souls of the wicked suffer eternal punishment.… [The Pharisees]
attribute everything to Fate and to God; they hold that to act rightly or otherwise rests, indeed, for the most part with men, but that in each action Fate co-operates.” [The Jewish War, II, 162, 163 (viii, 14)] Sadducees (liberal free-thinkers) ‘denied the workings of fate, maintaining that an individual, by his own actions, was solely responsible for what befell him.’ [Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 172, 173 (v, 9)] They ‘rejected the
many oral traditions observed by the Pharisees and also Pharisaic belief in the immortality of the soul and in punishments or rewards after death. In their dealings with one another, the Sadducees were somewhat rough. They were said to be disputatious. According
to Josephus, their teachings appealed to the wealthy.’ [Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 298 (x, 6); XVIII, 16, 17 (i, 4); The Jewish War, II, 162-166 (viii, 14)] Herodians (political) are unknown in secular history but much involved in the politics of Jesus’ homeland. Compare Matthew 12:9-14; Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 20:21-26.
Matthew 16:13-20 – Building a Hades-Proof Congregation
|| Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21
MT16:13 Upon arriving in the area of Caesarea Philippi964
Jesus asked his disciples,
“Whom do people say965 theSon of Humankind is?”
Caesarea Philippi: After 70 AD, General Titus held gladiatorial shows here. He used captured Jews as victims [The Jewish
War, VII, 23, 24 (ii, 1)]. The name was changed (after 70 AD) to its older name Paneas. In Arabic this became Banyas. The use of Caesar Philippi would argue the Gospel of Matthew would have had to be written before 70 AD. See the book The Jesus
Papyrus. Josephus describes a deep cave filled with still water that is the spring source of the Jordan river. It was turned into royal gardens.
Whom do people say: What is the talk or gossip among the crowds? The time has approached for Jesus to begin to declare himself more clearly to his disciples.
MT16:14 The disciples answered, “Some: John the Baptist;966
still others: Jeremiah968
or one of the prophets.”
John the Baptist: Compare Matthew 14:2 and Luke 9:7. Herod thought John so great he may well return from the dead.
Elijah: Jesus is to explain this later. Compare Malachi 4:5.
Jeremiah: Some Jews thought Jeremiah had taken the Ark of the Covenant and hid it on Mount Nebo. Tradition had it before Messiah appeared Jeremiah would return with the Ark (See 2 Maccabees 2:1-12; 2 Esdras 2:18).
MT16:15 Jesus asked them,
“But, you [disciples], who do you think me to be?”969
Who do you think me to be: After more than a year or two of association with Jesus he asks for their opinion as to his
identity. Peter speaks for the apostles.
MT16:16 Simon Peter responded, “You are
the Son of The Living God!”971
You are the Messiah: Or, the Christ, that is, The Christened (Anointed) One. Likely the original in Hebrew would
have been Ma·shi’ach. This designation is drawn from Psalm 2:1, Isaiah 61:1, and Daniel 9:26.
The Son of The Living God: Nowhere does Peter suspect that Jesus was God Himself. Everywhere he is the “Son of The God” – the same conclusion reached by John 20:31. Peter writes later about a further confirmation of the Sonship of Christ (2 Peter 1:17). The idea of God’s Son is drawn largely from Psalm 2:6, 7 and Psalm 89:26 (Compare 2 Samuel 7:14).
MT16:17 Jesus replied to Peter:
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jonah,972 because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you,973 rather it was my heavenly Father.
Simon Bar-jonah: Or, Son of Jonah. The “Bar” in place of “Ben” hints to an Aramaic original. Peter’s
full name in Aramaic. “Simon” is related to the Hebrew root “hear” or “listen.”
Reveal this to you: The Greek for “reveal” is APECALYPSEN. This could have been revealed to Peter by understanding, for example, Psalm 2:1, 7 (a text he later quotes in Acts 4:24f) where the Christ is also the Son of God. Additionally, he
had been eyewitness to the miracles of Jesus.
MT16:18And so I tell you: You are Peter974 and upon this rock975
I will build my Church976 and the gates of Hades977 will never triumph978 over it!
You are Peter: The Greek is the masculine “Rock.” Or, NEB: Peter, the Rock; TCNT: Peter, a rock.
This rock: Or, TCNT: Your name is Peter, a rock, and upon this Rock I will build my Church; WMS: your name from now on is to
be Peter, Rock, and on a massive rock like this I will build my Church; MON: you are Petros (a rock), and on this petra (rock) I will build my church. The Greek has PETRA here, the feminine of Petros. Some view this as Peter (Barclay), other’s
Christ (Augustine). The Catholic view is that the Church would be built upon the rock Peter. Some Protestants make much of the masculine and feminine differences of the two words (PETROS, PETRA). However, the context seems directed at Peter in these verses;
and, the facts in Acts indicate Peter’s prominence in presenting the Evangel to first the Jews, then the Samaritans, and, finally, the Non-Jews (Galatians 2:7).
I will build my Church: The Greek ECCLESIA is recognizable throughout Europe as the word for a “church.” Some render it “congregation” or “assembly.” The word means EK(=out)KALEO(=call).
The old Scottish word “church” is from KIRK an Anglicization of the Greek KYRIOS (Lord).
The gates of Hades: Research the word HADES for details. Or, KJV: hell; GDSP: powers of death; LAM: doors of Sheol. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:50-55.
Never triumph: Or, KJV: no prevail; GDSP: not subdue; WMS: never overthrow; WEY: no triumph over.
MT16:19I will give you979 [Peter] the keys of the Realm980 of Heaven. What ever you [Peter] bind on earth981 will be bound982 in heaven, and whatever you release983 upon earth will be released in heaven.”
I will give you: The Greek “you” is singular and refers to Peter. Note the immediate context is the rock upon
which Jesus will build his Church.
The keys of the Realm: Not the keys of heaven as in the mistaken
traditional picture. Rather, it refers to the door into the Church, or the realm of profession. Some take these keys as three in number and reference their use in Acts chapters 2, 8, and 10 – the Jews, Samaritans, and Non-Jews as the first members of
the church or kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13).
What ever you [Peter] bind on earth: An example
of this is seen in the cases of the lying materialists Ananias and Sapphira (Acts chapter 5).
Release: Or, KJV: loose; RIEU: allow; MOF: permit;
TCNT: allow. Compare John 20:23 and Matthew 18:18.
MT16:20 Then Jesus gave the disciples a rebuke984
so that they would tell no one that he was the Messiah.985
A rebuke: Or, KJV: strictly charged; KNX: strictly forbade; BECK: warned; NEB: strict orders. It is not a mere suggestion. Another rebuke, even more stern, is about to happen.
Tell no one that he was the Messiah: Though the disciples understand the fundamental truth that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God they still do not comprehend other prophetic truths which will now be explained. The Nazarene wanted people to arrive at their own conclusions without a public proclamation. The disciples were not yet ready to explain all that being the Messiah meant as the account goes on to demonstrate in Peter’s case. Jesus gives this warning several times (Matthew 8:4; Mark 7:36; 8:30; 9:9; Luke 5:14; 8:56; 9:21)..
Matthew 16:21-23 – Think God’s Thoughts
|| Mark 8:31-33
MT16:21 Beginning at this moment Jesus Christ986
to his disciples that it was a necessity he go to Jerusalem and suffer very much because of the [Jewish] elders, chief priests and scribes – to be killed and raised up the third day.988
Jesus Christ: The full name and title of the Nazarene is rare in the Gospels. Compare Matthew 1:1; Matthew 1:18; Mark 1:1; John 1:17; John 17:3.
Started revealing: Or, KJV: shew; RIEU: began to make it clear; WMS: first time clearly taught; TCNT: began to explain; BECK: kept point out. There is now a prophetic drive toward destiny in Jerusalem.
Third day: The first use of “third day” though the strong inference has been made earlier. See notes on Matthew 12:40. In the Gospel of John Jesus the subject early without the disciples understanding it (John 2:20).
MT16:22 But, Peter confronted Jesus989
and began giving him a rebuke,990
Master, that will not happen to you!”
Peter confronted Jesus: Or, KJV: Peter took him; RHM: taking him aside; NEB: took him by the arm. Our imaginations are
stirred by exactly what happened.
Rebuke: Or, KNX: remonstrating; WMS: chide; NOR: protestingly
said; BECK: started to correct him; MON: reprove him. The very thought startles us. Peter has just confessed the Nazarene to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, and he feel emboldened to correct Jesus. On the other hand it may tell us more about Jesus:
that Peter would even feel he could approach his Lord with words of concern and courage. Surely, Jesus is approachable.
Courage: The Greek is HILEOS. Or, KJV: be it far from thee; RHM: mercy on thee; RSV: God forbid; RIEU: heaven save you; KIT: propitious; WMS: heaven shield you; GDSP: God bless you. We see Peter’s impetuous grasp of his Master at what he has just
heard as though he were at once holding him back and at the same time moving him out of range of the others.
MT16:23 Now Jesus turned away [from Peter]992
“Get away from me, Satan!993 You are scandalous to me994 because you are not minding the things of The God995 but human [thoughts]!”
Jesus turned away [from Peter]: Or, RIEU: turned his back on him; PME: turned around. He must release himself from Peter’s panicked grasp.
Get away from me, Satan: KJV: get thee behind me, Satan; PME: out of my way; NEB: away with you, Satan; TCNT: get out of my way, you Satan. The words are surely curt and firm. They are not a slip of the tongue,
but thought out for Peter has a serious flaw in his character. This will manifest itself later. Jesus has already said this once before at Matthew 4:10. There it was directed to the real Satan in person. Here it is an unwilling instrument whose suggestion resists the will of God. See notes also at Matthew 12:26. Compare Mark 8:33.
You are scandalous to me: The Greek is SCANDALON. Or, KJV: offense; ASV: stumbling-block; KNX: a stone in my path; RIEU: a snare in my path; TCNT: hindrance; BECK: tempting me to sin.
You are not minding the things of The God: Or, KJV: though savourest; RHM: not regarding; RSV: not on the side of; WEY: thoughts are not God’s thoughts; GDSP: you do not side with God; MON: no intent on what pleases God; TCNT: you look at things, not as God does. Compare 1 Corinthians 2:16. This could be rendered: You are ignorant of God’s mind but use human thinking.
Matthew 16:24-28 – A Disciple Must Disown Self
|| Mark 8:34-9:1; Luke 9:22-27
MT16:24 [Because of this] Jesus told his disciples:
“If anyone wishes to follow me996 they must disown ‘self,’997 heft a personal cross,998 and then keep following me constantly.
If anyone wishes to follow me: Or, KJV: if any man will come after me; KNX: has a mind to come my way; TCNT wishes to walk in my steps; RIEU: wishes to walk in my footsteps; NEB: wishes to be a follower of min; BER: to walk behind me. It is the call to discipleship. Compare 1 Peter 2:21; Revelation 14:4, 5.
They must disown ‘self’: Or, KJV: deny himself; TCNT: renounce self; NEB: leave self behind; GDSP: must disregard himself; WMS: must say ‘No’ to self. Compare the example of Jesus at Philippians 2:5-7.
Heft a personal cross: Or, KJV: take up his cross; WMS: put his cross on his shoulders. The Greek for “cross” is STAUROS and means a simple upright stake or pole. Jesus is yet to be nailed to a cross or stake so it is unlikely he predicts a particular type of cross. See notes on cross or stake elsewhere.
MT16:25For whoever wishes to preserve their soul999 will forfeit it; and, whoever forfeits the soul because of me1000 will find it.
Whoever wishes to preserve their soul: The Greek is PSUCHEN and appears over 1,000 times in the Greek Bible. The “soul”
is the life of a person or the person itself. The meaning here is like: “the person who tries to save their own skin…” Research the key word soul or PSYCHE. Or, KJV: whosoever will save his life; KNX: the man who tries
to save his life; NEB: whoever cares for his own safety is lost; WMS: whoever wants to save his higher life will have to give up his lower life (Compare the parable of the materialistic farmer in Luke chapter 12).
Forfeits the soul because of me: Or, KJV: whosoever will lose his life for my sake; NEB: if a man will let himself be lost for my sake,
he will find his true self. Compare Matthew 10:28.
MT16:26For how will a person benefit if upon gaining the entire cosmos1001 forfeits the soul?1002 Or, what will a person give in exchange for the soul?
If upon gaining the entire cosmos: The Greek is KOSMON. Or, KJV: gain the whole world; GDSP: gains the whole world at the cost of his life. Here the word “world” may mean whatever is the most important and all consuming in a person’s life: “music was his whole world.”
Forfeits the soul: Or, KJV: lose his own soul; KNX: at the cost of losing his own soul; NEB: at the cost of his true self.
MT16:27For theSon of Humankind is about to return into the glory of his Father1003 – all his angels with him.1004 Thereafter everyone will be compensated
according to their practices.1005
Is about to return into the glory of his Father: The word translated “return” is generally rendered “coming”
and gives the wrong impression based on the root verse it is drawn from (Daniel 7:13). The idea is more like John 6:62 where the Son of Humankind returns (or, ascends) to is previous position and place in heaven (John 17:5). Or, KJV: the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; BER: is about to come. See commentary on Daniel 7:13 in Nazarene Apocalypse.
Angels with him: Compare Daniel 7:13, 14 with Acts 1:9-11.
Everyone will be compensated according to their practices: The phrase is nearly identical to 2 Corinthians 5:10. Or, KJV: shall reward every man according to his works; RHM: give back to… according to his practice; RSV: he will repay every man for what he has done; TCNT: then he will give to every man what his actions deserve. Compare Matthew 12:36 and research the words judgment and judgment day (Revelation 20:13).
MT16:28I tell you this truth: It is very likely that some of you standing right here will not taste death1006 before they see theSon of Humankind returning1007 into his kingdom.”
Some of you standing right here will not taste death: This will occur within their life times. Or, WMS: will live to see. Compare Matthew 10:23 and Matthew 26:64. The disciples would live to see the fulfillment of Daniel 7:13.
Returning: The Greek is ERCHOMENON, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #2064 and is also defined as “1a1) to come from one place to another, and used both of persons arriving and of those RETURNING.” This thought is missed by most. The language of the Nazarene is drawn from Daniel 7:13 where “a son of man” (Jerome LATIN hominid) is seen returning or ascending to the Presence of the Ancient of Days – Daniel’s visionary location in heaven. The Aramaic (Hebrew) of Daniel 7:13’s “came” is athah (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance ##858) and may also mean “arrive” as in become present.