They demand a miracle. Jesus says to avoid hypocrisy. Who do they say he is? He details the cost of discipleship.
VERSE 1. The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing him, asked him to show them a sign from heaven.
testing him, asked. That is, they test Jesus. They try to catch him in his words and bring him down.
VERSE 2. But he answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’
VERSE 3. In the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you can’t discern the signs of the times!
You know how to discern the appearance of the sky. They could estimate the weather, but not interpret the signs of the times.
VERSE 4. An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and there will be no sign given to it, except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” He left them, and departed.
the sign of the prophet Jonah. What was this sign? Was it that Jonah was in the belly of the large fish for three days? Was it that Jonah’s preaching converted 120,000 Gentiles to faith in the One God?
VERSE 5. The disciples came to the other side and had forgotten to take bread.
the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. What is that?
VERSE 7. They reasoned among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.”
VERSE 8. Jesus, perceiving it, said, “Why do you reason among yourselves, you of little faith, ‘because you have brought no bread?’
VERSE 9. Don’t you yet perceive, neither remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
VERSE 10. Nor the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
VERSE 11. How is it that you don’t perceive that I didn’t speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
VERSE 12. Then they understood that he didn’t tell them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
the teaching. The “yeast” of the Pharisees and Sadducees is their teachings.
VERSE 13. Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
Who do men say that I … am? This is the central issue of the Christian faith. Who is Jesus Christ?
Some people say the teachings of Jesus Christ are the central issue of Christianity. Others say the central issue is how we live our lives. Still others say there’s nothing especially unique about Christianity.
But in the verses that follow, Jesus Christ himself reveals the answer.
VERSE 14. They said, “Some say John the Baptizer, some, Elijah, and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
But who do you say that I am? This is it. This is the crux of the matter. This is the question to ask people. It is the question we need to ask ourselves. “Who do YOU say Jesus Christ is?”
Peter makes two assertions about Jesus:
You are the Christ. Peter says Jesus is “the Christ.” That is, the Messiah. The long-awaited deliverer. There is only one of those.
the Son of the living God. Peter says Jesus is “the son of the living God.” Anyone is a child of the Most High God.
VERSE 17. Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Jesus applauds Peter for his insights in the previous verse. Jesus is not outrightly saying he is divine. But he could be inferring it.
VERSE 18. I also tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly. This is a hotly-contested verse. The two main interpretations are Protestant and Catholic:
SUMMARY. Protestants say what counts is Peter’s faith in Jesus Christ, and not Peter himself. Catholics say Peter is in charge of the apostles, and therefore the pope is in charge of all Christians.
THE WORD “PETER.” Protestants point to the Greek word which is pétros. It means a stone, a pebble, such as a small rock found along a pathway. A pétros is detached from other pebbles. It is small enough that people can easily throw it around. Catholics say the equivalent Aramaic word is assumed to be kepa. It means the Rock.
THE WORD “ROCK.” Protestants point to the Greek word which is petra. It means a huge mass of rock, such as a boulder or a projecting cliff. It is massive. It is far too massive for people to be able to throw it. Catholics say equivalent Aramaic word is assumed to be kepa. It means the rock.
LANGUAGE. Protestants point to the Greek, which is the language of the New Testament. Catholics point to Aramaic, which is not a biblical language.
my assembly. In Greek, ekklēsian. That is, the “called out” people. Most translators render it as “church.” However, in our day, the word “church” implies mainstream rather than “called out.”
Revelation 18:21. A mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and cast it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down, and will be found no more at all.
VERSE 19. I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven; and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven.”
I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is where the cultural mythology comes from, that Peter stands at the “gates of heaven,” in charge of who gets into heaven and who stays locked out.
VERSE 20. Then he commanded the disciples that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.
VERSE 21. From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.
What was the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ? How did he himself define it? Here are the verses we find in the four gospels »
Matthew 12:40. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Matthew 16:21. From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.
Matthew 17:22-23. While they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered up into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and the third day he will be raised up.”
Matthew 20:19. and will hand him over to the Gentiles to mock, to scourge, and to crucify; and the third day he will be raised up.
VERSE 22. Peter took him aside, and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This will never be done to you.”
Peter … began to rebuke him. Peter gets the Resurrection completely 100% wrong.
VERSE 23. But he turned, and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men.”
VERSE 24. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
deny himself. Following Jesus Christ demands things of us that don’t come automatically. Some aspects of living the faith require discipline.
There is a cost to discipleship. Not all of it is velvety pleasantness. But living a disciplined life can be a path to greater joy. Our disciplines are worthwhile!
take up his cross. Would they have understood this?
Matthew 16:24. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Luke 9:23. He said to all, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
2 Corinthians 4:11. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh.
VERSE 25. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
VERSE 26. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?
VERSE 27. For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds.
he will render to everyone according to his deeds. If we are judged according to our deeds, then does faith even matter? If so, how?
VERSE 28. Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”
standing .. will in no way taste of death. Does this mean some of the apostles are still alive?
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.