Demand for A
Be Aware of the
Leaven of Pharisees and Sadducees (16:5-12)
Confession of Christ (16:13--20)
about Suffering, Death, and Resurrection (16:21-23)
Sign, leaven of
Pharisees and Sadducees, Christ, Son of the living God, church, rock,
bind/loose, kingdom, mindful of the things of God, deny, take up his cross,
follow me, gain/loss.
1. The Lord did
not say much in response to the Pharisees and Sadducees because He knew of
their evil intent. He called them “hypocrites.” On the other hand, although the
Lord rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith, He still patiently dealt
with their dullness and explained to them until they finally understood His
teaching. This was because the disciples, though slow in learning, were not
hard-hearted like the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were genuine followers of
Christ to whom God has chosen to reveal His will (17).
2a. Both passages are about the identity of Jesus. The Pharisees
and Sadducees wanted proof that Jesus was indeed from God. But Jesus refused to
meet their demands. On the contrary, Jesus revealed his identity to the
disciples plainly and foretold of his sufferings and glory.
We also see a
contrast between the two passages. The first has to do with opposition in
Jewish territory, whereas the second, which records
Peter’s confession, took place in Gentile territory. There is once again the
hint that the Christ was rejected by his own people.
2b. 13-20 is
about Jesus’ identity. 21-28 is about Jesus’ mission and the way of
discipleship. As disciples of Christ, we need to truly
know our Lord and what He came to do. Only then can we follow in His footsteps
of suffering and ultimate glory.
1a. Their demand was a sign of their unbelief. Jesus had already
shown that He was the Son of God through His works. But with their callous
hearts, they wanted to put the burden of proof on Jesus. They thought that Jesus
owed it to them to “prove” Himself, or else they would not believe Him.
1b. Sometimes we want God to “prove beyond a reasonable doubt”
what He has already commanded in the Bible or has shown to us clearly (E.g.
Balaam, Num 22). The reason for such demand is simply our reluctance to obey
His word. But we have no right to ask God to show us a sign so as to convince
us to believe and obey His words. Miracles and signs are meaningless and
ineffective to those who do not believe (Lk
2a. They refer to the works that Christ had done, which marked
the time of the coming of God’s kingdom.
2b. See 12:39-41,
and Lesson 17, question 8.
3. In the Old
Testament, God called Israel
an adulteress people because they had forsaken God and gone after other gods.
Likewise, the people of Jesus’ time rejected Christ and persisted in their
unbelief and sin.
4. The teachings
of Pharisees and Sadducees refer to their unbelieving attitude and their demand
for signs (1Cor 1:22).
5. They bring
subtle influence on people who are not aware.
6. The disciples
had little faith in the sense that they still did not trust the power of Jesus
even after the two miracles of feeding the multitude. They were concerned with
food when Jesus was speaking of something much more important than bread.
7a. The first was about people’s understanding of Him, and the
second is about the disciples’ understanding of Him.
7b. Knowledge of
who Jesus is is necessary for the followers of Christ
so that they would not follow Him for the wrong reasons. This knowledge must
also be a personal one so that the believer will remain true to the Lord
without being affected by popular opinion.
8. He is the
Messiah, the anointed of God (Acts 4:26-27). He is God who has become flesh (Jn 1:14; Heb 5:4-6).
9a. The Bible
tells us that Jesus Christ is the foundation and cornerstone (1Cor 3:11; 1Pet
2:4-6). But Ephesians also says, “having been built on the foundation of the
apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Eph
2:20). There is no contradiction between the two. It is Christ who chose the
apostles and built His church with the authority He has given them and the
teachings He has entrusted to them (19). Peter, whose name means “rock,” was
chosen to represent the apostles and foundation of the church. But this does
not mean that Peter was infallible or higher than the other believers, or that
believers should build their faith on Him. The apostles were simply servants
sent by God to build up the church (1Cor 3:9-11).
9b. The word “church” is derived from the Greek word for “call
out from.” The church is the assembly of God’s people
purchased by Christ’s blood (Acts 20:28; Rev 5:9).
9c. “Gates” is
symbolic of power, referring to fortifications (Gen 22:17; Ps 127:5). “Gates of
Hades” means the power of death (Job 17:16; 38:17; Ps 9:13; 107:18; Isa 38:10). The church, purchased by Christ’s blood, is
victorious over everlasting death and will never be destroyed because Christ
has overcome death (1Cor 15:55-57).
10. The keys of
the kingdom refers to the gospel of salvation. By
God’s revelation, the apostles were given the keys to God’s kingdom (cf. Lk 11:52). Christ has also given the authority to bind and
lose, which has to do with retaining and forgiveness of sins (Jn 20:22,23). When the church preaches
the gospel of the kingdom, those who obey the gospel will be loosed from the
dominion of Satan (Acts 26:18). But for those who do not accept the message,
their sins will remain (see Acts 18:6).
11. People at
that time had a false expectation of what the Messiah would be. Jesus wanted
the people to come to believe Him not because they expected Him to be a
national hero, but through belief, repentance, and obedience. It is God’s will
that at this point in Jesus’ ministry, Christ’ identity be revealed only to the
humble and faithful and not to the unbelieving and callous (11:25; 13:11-15).
The disciples would proclaim Christ only after the resurrection (17:9). Another
possible reason is that widespread proclamation of his Messiahship
might bring about intense opposition prematurely.
considered any hindrance to the will of the Father the work of Satan (4:8-10).
Although Peter might have meant well, he had become a stumbling block. He spoke
and acted according to the will of men rather than the will of God. Satan often
uses the desires and thinking of men to obstruct God’s work.
13a. Giving up of
one’s will and desires.
13b. The man condemned to crucifixion would be forced to take up
his cross. This command means being ready to go through suffering and death for
Christ. It involves putting to death the sinful nature (Rom 8:13; Gal 5:24;
the footsteps of Christ, doing what He would do(1Pet
2:21; Jn 12:26; 1Cor 11:1; 1Jn 2:6).
13d. The first “life” refers to things of the world, i.e. walking
according to our desires (1Jn 2:15-17). The second “life” refers to spiritual,
or eternal, life and the glory that we will receive (26,27).
We cannot have eternal life unless we deny our own will and follow the will of
God in our lives.
15. Out of many
interpretations that have been offered, two are most plausible. The first
interpretation states that the coming of the Son of Man in His kingdom refers
to the transfiguration, which would take place six days after its prediction
(17:1ff). During the transfiguration, the disciples witnessed Christ in His
glory, and the subject of Christ’s conversation with Moses and Elijah was the
glory that will be achieved through suffering (Lk
9:31). The second interpretation, which is linked to the first, believes this
prediction to be referring to the mighty work of the Holy Spirit in the church
after Jesus’ ascension. Christ exercised great authority in His church through
powerful preaching, large numbers of conversions, and signs and miracles.