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16. Tested by Pharisees

1And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and trying him asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2But he answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the heaven is red. 3And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day: for the heaven is red and lowering. Ye know how to discern the face of the heaven; but ye cannot discern the signs of the times. 4An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of Jonah. And he left them, and departed.

5And the disciples came to the other side and forgot to take bread. 6And Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 7And they reasoned among themselves, saying, We took no bread. 8And Jesus perceiving it said, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have no bread? 9Do ye not yet perceive, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11How is it that ye do not perceive that I spake not to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 12Then understood they that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

13Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Who do men say that the Son of man is? 14And they said, Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 15He saith unto them, But who say ye that I am? 16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven. 18And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19I 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 heaven. 20Then charged he the disciples that they should tell no man that he was the Christ.

21From that time began Jesus to show unto his disciples, that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up. 22And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall never be unto thee. 23But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art a stumbling-block unto me: for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men. 24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? or what shall a man give in exchange for his life? 27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then shall he render unto every man according to his deeds. 28Verily I say unto you, there are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

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Mt 16:13-28. Peter's Noble Confession of Christ and the Benediction Pronounced upon HimChrist's First Explicit Announcement of His Approaching Sufferings, Death, and ResurrectionHis Rebuke of Peter and Warning to All the Twelve. ( = Mr 8:27; 9:1; Lu 9:18-27).

The time of this section—which is beyond doubt, and will presently be mentioned—is of immense importance, and throws a touching interest around the incidents which it records.

Peter's Confession, and the Benediction Pronounced upon Him. (Mt 16:13-20).

13. When Jesus came into the coasts—"the parts," that is, the territory or region. In Mark (Mr 8:27) it is "the towns" or "villages."

of Cæsarea Philippi—It lay at the foot of Mount Lebanon, near the sources of the Jordan, in the territory of Dan, and at the northeast extremity of Palestine. It was originally called Panium (from a cavern in its neighborhood dedicated to the god Pan) and Paneas. Philip, the tetrarch, the only good son of Herod the Great, in whose dominions Paneas lay, having beautified and enlarged it, changed its name to Cæsarea, in honor of the Roman emperor, and added Philippi after his own name, to distinguish it from the other Cæsarea (Ac 10:1) on the northeast coast of the Mediterranean Sea. [Josephus, Antiquities, 15.10,3; 18.2,1]. This quiet and distant retreat Jesus appears to have sought with the view of talking over with the Twelve the fruit of His past labors, and breaking to them for the first time the sad intelligence of His approaching death.

he asked his disciples—"by the way," says Mark (Mr 8:27), and "as He was alone praying," says Luke (Lu 9:18).

saying, Whom—or more grammatically, "Who"

do men say that I the Son of man am?—(or, "that the Son of man is"—the recent editors omitting here the me of Mark and Luke [Mr 8:27; Lu 9:18]; though the evidence seems pretty nearly balanced)—that is, "What are the views generally entertained of Me, the Son of man, after going up and down among them so long?" He had now closed the first great stage of His ministry, and was just entering on the last dark one. His spirit, burdened, sought relief in retirement, not only from the multitude, but even for a season from the Twelve. He retreated into "the secret place of the Most High," pouring out His soul "in supplications and prayers, with strong crying and tears" (Heb 5:7). On rejoining His disciples, and as they were pursuing their quiet journey, He asked them this question.

14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist—risen from the dead. So that Herod Antipas was not singular in his surmise (Mt 14:1, 2).

some, Elias—(Compare Mr 6:15).

and others, Jeremias—Was this theory suggested by a supposed resemblance between the "Man of Sorrows" and "the weeping prophet?"

or one of the prophets—or, as Luke (Lu 9:8) expresses it, "that one of the old prophets is risen again." In another report of the popular opinions which Mark (Mr 6:15) gives us, it is thus expressed, "That it is a prophet [or], as one of the prophets": in other words, That He was a prophetical person, resembling those of old.

15. He saith unto them, But whom—rather, "who."

say ye that I am?—He had never put this question before, but the crisis He was reaching made it fitting that He should now have it from them. We may suppose this to be one of those moments of which the prophet says, in His name, "Then I said, I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for naught, and in vain" (Isa 49:4): Lo, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree; and what is it? As the result of all, I am taken for John the Baptist, for Elias, for Jeremias, for one of the prophets. Yet some there are that have beheld My glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, and I shall hear their voice, for it is sweet.

16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God—He does not say, "Scribes and Pharisees, rulers and people, are all perplexed; and shall we, unlettered fishermen, presume to decide?" But feeling the light of his Master's glory shining in his soul, he breaks forth—not in a tame, prosaic acknowledgment, "I believe that Thou art," &c.—but in the language of adoration—such as one uses in worship, "Thou Art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!" He first owns Him the promised Messiah (see on Mt 1:16); then he rises higher, echoing the voice from heaven—"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"; and in the important addition—"Son of the Living God"—he recognizes the essential and eternal life of God as in this His Son—though doubtless without that distinct perception afterwards vouchsafed.

17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou—Though it is not to be doubted that Peter, in this noble testimony to Christ, only expressed the conviction of all the Twelve, yet since he alone seems to have had clear enough apprehensions to put that conviction in proper and suitable words, and courage enough to speak them out, and readiness enough to do this at the right time—so he only, of all the Twelve, seems to have met the present want, and communicated to the saddened soul of the Redeemer at the critical moment that balm which was needed to cheer and refresh it. Nor is Jesus above giving indication of the deep satisfaction which this speech yielded Him, and hastening to respond to it by a signal acknowledgment of Peter in return.

Simon Bar-jona—or, "son of Jona" (Joh 1:42), or "Jonas" (Joh 21:15). This name, denoting his humble fleshly extraction, seems to have been purposely here mentioned, to contrast the more vividly with the spiritual elevation to which divine illumination had raised him.

for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee—"This is not the fruit of human teaching."

but my Father which is in heaven—In speaking of God, Jesus, it is to be observed, never calls Him, "our Father" (see on Joh 20:17), but either "your Father"—when He would encourage His timid believing ones with the assurance that He was theirs, and teach themselves to call Him so—or, as here, "My Father," to signify some peculiar action or aspect of Him as "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

18. And I say also unto thee—that is, "As thou hast borne such testimony to Me, even so in return do I to thee."

That thou art Peter—At his first calling, this new name was announced to him as an honor afterwards to be conferred on him (Joh 1:43). Now he gets it, with an explanation of what it was meant to convey.

and upon this rock—As "Peter" and "Rock" are one word in the dialect familiarly spoken by our Lord—the Aramaic or Syro-Chaldaic, which was the mother tongue of the country—this exalted play upon the word can be fully seen only in languages which have one word for both. Even in the Greek it is imperfectly represented. In French, as Webster and Wilkinson remark, it is perfect, Pierre—pierre.

I will build my Church—not on the man Simon Bar-jona; but on him as the heavenly-taught confessor of a faith. "My Church," says our Lord, calling the Church His Own; a magnificent expression regarding Himself, remarks Bengel—nowhere else occurring in the Gospels.

and the gates of hell—"of Hades," or, the unseen world; meaning, the gates of Death: in other words, "It shall never perish." Some explain it of "the assaults of the powers of darkness"; but though that expresses a glorious truth, probably the former is the sense here.

19. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven—the kingdom of God about to be set up on earth

and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven—Whatever this mean, it was soon expressly extended to all the apostles (Mt 18:18); so that the claim of supreme authority in the Church, made for Peter by the Church of Rome, and then arrogated to themselves by the popes as the legitimate successors of St. Peter, is baseless and impudent. As first in confessing Christ, Peter got this commission before the rest; and with these "keys," on the day of Pentecost, he first "opened the door of faith" to the Jews, and then, in the person of Cornelius, he was honored to do the same to the Gentiles. Hence, in the lists of the apostles, Peter is always first named. See on Mt 18:18. One thing is clear, that not in all the New Testament is there the vestige of any authority either claimed or exercised by Peter, or conceded to him, above the rest of the apostles—a thing conclusive against the Romish claims in behalf of that apostle.

20. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ—Now that He had been so explicit, they might naturally think the time come for giving it out openly; but here they are told it had not.




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