CENTERED ON CHRIST
Matthew 16:13-17:27 October 28 2007
These chapters are composed of three major portions.
The first highlights the nature of the church, the necessity
of the cross, and the nature of discipleship (Matt. 16:13-28).
After being identified as "the Messiah, the Son of the living
God" Matt.16:16). Jesus began to teach the Disciples what
being the Messiah really meant. His purpose would be
fulfilled through a cross. The announcement of His coming
death was a shock to them, But the notation that all
followers must be willing to take up their cross was equally
1. Focus on Christ’s Identity (Matt. 16:13-16)
Matt. 16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi,
he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
16:14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say
Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 16:15
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of
the living God.”
Caesarea Philippi. To be distinguished from the magnificent
city of Caesarea, which Herod the Great had built on the coast
of the Mediterranean. Caesarea Philippi, rebuilt by Herod’s
son Philip (who named it after Tiberius Caesar and himself),
was north of the Sea of Galilee, near the slopes of Mount
Hermon. Originally it was called Paneas (the ancient name
survives today as Banias) in honor of the Greek god Pan,
whose shrine was located there. The region was especially
This area was populated mostly by non-Jews. Why did Jesus
bring His disciples to these people this far north? He perhaps
was demonstrating His message was intended for all people ,
not only the Jews . Also , He wanted to be sure His disciples
were prepared before He began the southward journey to
Jerusalem , the place of His death.
2. Focus on Christ’s Church (Matt. 16:17-20)
Matt. 16:17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah,
for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will
build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 16:19
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind
on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth
will be loosed in heaven.” 16:20 Then he warned his disciples not
to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
Peter. . . Rock. . . Church. In the Greek “Peter” is Petros and
“rock” is Petra. The rock on which the church is built may be
Peter’s inspired (Matt. 16: 17) confession of faith in Jesus
as the Messiah, “the Son of the living God,” or it may be Peter
himself, since (Eph 2:20) indicates that the church is “built
on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” Church. In
the Gospels this word is used only by Matthew (here and twice
in Matt. 18:17). In the Septuagint it is used for the congregation of Israel. In Greek circles of Jesus’ day it indicated the assembly of free, voting citizens in a city (Acts 19:32,38,41).
Hades. The Greek name for the place of departed spirits,
generally equivalent to the Hebrew Sheol ( Gen. 37:35). The
“gates of Hades” may mean the “powers of death,” all forces
opposed to Christ and his kingdom ( Job 17:16).
Keys. Perhaps Peter used these keys on the day of Pentecost
(Acts 2) when he announced that the door of the kingdom was
unlocked to Jews and proselytes and later when he
acknowledged that it was also opened to Gentiles (Acts 10).
Bind. . . Loose. Not authority to determine, but to announce,
guilt or innocence (Matt.18:18 and the context there; Acts 5:3,9).
Not to tell. Because of the false concepts of the Jews, who
looked for an exclusively national and political Messiah,
Jesus told his disciples not to publicize Peter’s confession,
lest it precipitate a revolution against Rome (Matt. 8:4).
3. Focus on Christ’s Cross (Matt. 16:21-23)
Matt. 16:21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his
disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things
at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law,
and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
16:22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never,
Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 16:23 Jesus
turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a
stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of
God, but the things of men.”
This verse gives the first of a series of prediction that
Jesus would be killed, but accompanying each prediction that
Jesus would be He would be raised on the third day. The
disciples never seemed to hear or accept this part of Jesus’
Rebuke has an element of anger in it Peter was offended at
Jesus’ suggestion. Ironically, the man who had the sharpest
insight into Jesus’ Identity could not accept His purpose.
Began. The beginning of a new emphasis in Jesus’ ministry.
Instead of teaching the crowds in parables, he concentrated
on preparing the disciples for his coming suffering and death.
Satan. A loanword from Hebrew, meaning “adversary” or
“accuser” (Job 1:6; Rev 2:9).
Peter whom His Lord had just praised extravantly was guilty
of not thinking about God’s concerns but man’s. This is the
classic temptation of every Christian and every church today.
4. Focus on Christian’s Cross (Matt. 16:24-28)
Matt. 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would
come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and
follow me. 16:25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose
it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 16:26 What
good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits
his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 16:27
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his
angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he
has done. 16:28 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here
will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his
This verse and the previous one point to a life beyond the
grave. The Self-directed life is ultimately futile.
Most people are dangerously unaware of the hazards of a
self-centered life. We brought nothing with us into the
world and take nothing out except that which is eternal.
Take up His cross. (Matt. 10:38). There are two main
interpretations of this verse: 1. It is a prediction of the
transfiguration, which happened a week later (Matt.17:1) and
which demonstrated that Jesus will return in his Father’s
glory (Matt.16:27). 2. It refers to the day of Pentecost and
the rapid spread of the gospel described in the book of Acts.
The context seems to favor the first view. (2Pet. 1:16).
As we have worked our way through the Gospel of
Matthew, we have noted its value as a guidebook for
Christian, answering questions we often ask about our
faith. This section of the Gospel focuses again on the
ever-central issue of Jesus’ identity. It casts the identity
question in a new light , however. Not only was Jesus the
miracle-working sinless Son of God and Messiah, He also
was destined for suffering on the cross.