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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 16 - Verse 28
Verse 28. Verily I say unto you, etc. To encourage them, he assured them that though his kingdom was now obscure and despised—though he was cast out and little known—yet the time was near when he should be regarded in a different manner, and his kingdom be established with great power. This cannot refer to the end of the world, and there is no need of referring it to the destruction of Jerusalem.
Taste of death. That is, die. Before they die they shall see this.
Son of man coming in his kingdom. Mark and Luke have explained this. Mr 9:1, "Until they have seen the kingdom of God come with power." Lu 9:27, "Till they see the kingdom of God." The meaning evidently is, till they should see my kingdom, that is, my church, now small, feeble, and despised, greatly enlarged, established, and spreading with great rapidity and extent. All this was accomplished. All these apostles, except Judas, lived to see the wonders of the day of Pentecost; some of them, John particularly, saw the Jewish nation scattered, the temple destroyed, the gospel established in Asia, Rome, Greece, and in a large part of the known world.
REMARKS ON MATTHEW CHAPTER 16
(1.) Men will often judge far more correctly about natural than spiritual things, Mt 16:1-3. About natural objects they are watchful. In them they feel a deep interest. And they watch for every sign that may affect their interest. They are too much concerned to judge falsely. But they feel no such interest in religious things. Hence it happens that men who have good sense, and much wisdom in regard to worldly concerns, are exceedingly foolish in regard to religion. They often believe reports respecting religion, revivals, and missions, which they would despise on any other subject. They read and believe newspapers and other publications, which they would hold in contempt on any other topic but religion.
(2.) It is of importance to watch the signs of the times, Mt 16:3. days of Christ, it was the duty of the people to look at the evidence that he was the Messiah. It was plain. It is also important to look at the signs of the times in which we live. They are clear also. Much is doing; and the spread of the Bible, the labours among the heathen, the distribution of tracts, and, perhaps above all, the institution of Sabbath schools—all betoken an eventful age, and are an indication that brighter days are about to dawn on the world. We should watch these signs that we may rejoice, that we may pray with more fervour, and that we may do our part to advance the kingdom of God. Little children should grow up believing that they live in an important age, that they enjoy many peculiar privileges, and that they may and must do much to spread the gospel through the earth. Even when children, they should pray, and they should give to benefit others; and, most of all, they should give themselves to Christ, that they may benefit others with a right spirit.
(3.) Sinners should be addressed with deep feeling and faithfulness, Mr 8:12. Jesus sighed deeply. So should we. We should not be harsh, or sour, or without feeling. We should weep over them, and pray for them, and speak to them, not as if we were better than they, but with an earnest desire for their salvation. Comp. Ac 20:31; Php 3:18.
(4.) Men easily mistake plain instruction, Mt 16:7. And especially is this the case where there is any chance of giving a worldly turn to the instruction. If men's thoughts—even those of Christians— were more off from the world, and they thought less of the supply of their wants, they would understand the truths of religion much better than they do. No man can understand the doctrines of religion aright, whose principal concern is what he shall eat, and drink, and wear. Hence even Christians are often strangely ignorant of the plainest truths of religion. And hence the importance of teaching those truths to children before their thoughts become engrossed by the world. And hence, too, the importance of Sabbath schools.
(5.) We should not have undue anxiety about the supply of our wants. Christ supplied many thousands by a word, and he can easily supply us, Mt 16:9-12.
(6.) We should learn, from his past goodness, to trust him for the future, Mt 16:9-12.
(7.) We should be on our guard against error, Mt 16:11. It is sly, artful, plausible, working secretly, but effectually. We should always be cautious of what we believe, and examine it by the word of God. False doctrines are often made as much like the truth as possible, for the very purpose of deceiving. Satan is transformed into an angel of light.
(8.) It is important to ascertain our views of Christ, Mt 16:13-15. It is our all. If we do not think and feel right respecting him, we cannot be safe. We should often, then, ask ourselves—we should ask one another—what we think of Christ.
(9.) It is our duty to profess our attachment to Christ. It should be done boldly, and always, Mt 16:16. We should never be ashamed of him. And to do this we should always, in our own hearts, believe that he is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
(10.) We should esteem it a great happiness and honour to be enabled thus to show our attachment to him. The world may not honour us, but God will, and will pronounce us blessed, Mt 16:17.
(11.) God only reveals this to us, Mt 16:17. This he does by his word and Spirit. We should, then, search the Bible; and we should pray much that God would reveal his Son in us, and enable us boldly to confess him before men.
(12.) The church is safe, Mt 16:18. It may be small—it may be feeble—it may weep much—it may be much opposed and ridiculed —it may have mighty enemies—the rich and the great may set themselves against it—but it is safe. It is founded on a Rock. All its enemies shall not overcome it. Jesus has promised it; and in all ages he has shown that he has remembered his promise. It has not been extinct. It has been persecuted, opposed, ridiculed, and almost driven from the world; but a few have been found who have loved the Lord; and soon the flame has kindled, and the church has shone forth "fair as the sun, clear as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners." So it is still. Feeble churches may mourn much; anxiety may abound; and the few pious people may weep in secret places; but Jesus hears their groans, and counts their tears, and they and their church are safe. He is their Friend, and all the powers of hell shall not prevail against them.
(13.) The importance of prudence in delivering truth, Mt 16:21. It should be well-timed. It should be when people are prepared to receive it. Especially is this true of young converts. They have need of milk, and not of strong meat. They should not be surprised that many doctrines of the Bible are mysterious now. But they may fully comprehend them hereafter. Peter, a young convert, did not understand the plain doctrine that Jesus must die for sin. Yet it was afterwards clear to him, and most cordially he loved it.
(14.) It is highly wicked and improper to attempt to counsel God, or to think that we understand things better than he does, Mt 16:22,23. His plan is the best plan. And though it does not fall in with our views of wisdom, yet we should be still. It is all wise. And though what he does we know not now, yet we shall know hereafter.
(15.) We, see what religion requires, Mt 16:24. We must deny ourselves. We must submit to trials. We must do our duty. We must often suffer persecution. We must be, in all places, among all men, and in every employment, Christians. No matter what may happen. Come poverty, disease, persecution, death, it is ours to take up the cross, and do our duty. So apostles, and martyrs, and the Saviour himself, have gone before us. And we must follow in their steps.
"Shall I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
"Sure I must fight, if I would reign:
Increase my courage, Lord,
To bear the cross, endure the shame,
Supported by thy word."
(16.) How foolish are the men of this world! Mt 16:26. In a little time, how worthless will be all their wealth! It is gained by anxiety, and toil, and tears. It never satisfies. It harasses them with constant care. It smoothes no wrinkles on theft brow, alleviates no pain when they are sick, saves no friend from death, gives no consolation in regard to the future, and may be left at any moment. Others will soon possess, and perhaps scatter in dissipation, what they have obtained by so much toil. See Ps 39:6. And while they scatter or enjoy it, where shall the soul of him be who spent all his probation to obtain it? Alas! lost, lost, lost—for ever lost! And no wealth, no man, no devil, no angel, can redeem him, or be given for his soul. The harvest will be past, the summer ended, and he not saved. In gaining the world, he gained two things— disappointment and trouble here, and an eternity of woe hereafter. How foolish and wicked is man!
(17.) The righteous should rejoice that Jesus will come again to our world, He will reward them, Mt 16:27. He will come as their Friend, and they shall ascend with him to heaven.
(19.) It will not be long before he will come, Mt 16:28. At any rate, it will not be long before we shall meet him. Death is near. And then we must stand before him, and give an account of the deeds done in the body.
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