Matthew 16 Questions and Answers
1. Read Matthew 16:1-4. Where did Jesus' testing/temptation come from in this passage of Scripture?
- The Pharisees and Sadducees
- It is interesting that they came together because they didn't even like each other - they were enemies but they came together to try to discredit and get rid of Jesus. This is the first time we see them coming together to talk to Jesus. (They came together to hear John the Baptist in Matthew 3:7 and to accuse Paul in Acts 23.
- Testing/temptation isn't only from the evil one, it can also come from others, like our enemies or those who want to hurt us. Eg. Job's wife to Job
2. What kind of testing was it? What was the goal of the testing?
- They wanted Jesus to show them a sign from heaven - although they weren't really expecting a sign. But if Jesus did, they would fault him. If He didn't they would say He couldn't, so therefore wasn't the Messiah.
- "from heaven" indicated that they were looking for a sign in the heavens.
- They had already seen sign after sign and another sign wouldn't have made any difference. Their unbelief would have remained just as strong.
- The Pharisees and Sadducees goal wasn't to find out the truth for themselves but they hoped to trap Jesus.
- They demanded a miracle that they thought was beyond Jesus, hoping to prove that his power and message were not divine. Then Jesus would be discredited.
- In their blindness they could not see that Jesus was a sign from heaven.
3. What was Jesus basically saying about the Pharisees & Sadducees in Matthew 16:2-3?
- Jesus was saying that the Pharisees and Sadducees were better weathermen than Biblical scholars.
4. Did Jesus give a sign? Why or why not?
- The only sign Jesus was willing to give to a wicked and adulterous generation was the sign of Jonah.
- Adulterous means: unfaithful, disloyal, untrue, inconstant, false, deceiving, deceitful, treacherous
- The sign of Jonah was the final sign Jesus gave to the world, the sign of His victory over sin, death and Satan through His resurrection. Matthew 12:39-41 Just as Jonah was in the belly of a big fish for 3 days, Jesus was in the ground for 3 days before He was raised to life.
- That sign too was later rejected. When the religious leaders heard that Jesus had been raised to life, they bribed the soldiers that had been guarding the tomb Jesus was in to say that Jesus' body was stolen by His disciples.
5. What did Jesus do after talking to the Pharisees and Sadducees?
- At this point Jesus left (turned away from) the Pharisees and Sadducees because they had rejected Him and focused His attention on teaching His disciples. There were no more arguments or signs for unbelievers, just additional truth for those who believed.
6. Read Matthew 16:5-12. a) What did Jesus tell his disciples to be careful about? What did they think Jesus meant?
- Be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
- The disciples thought it had something to do with them forgetting to bring bread. That they were to be on guard against the yeast used in bread.
b) What had Jesus meant? (see also Luke 12:1; Acts 23:8) Why didn't they get it right the first time?
- That they were to be on guard against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. It was the spiritually contaminating influence of the Pharisees and Sadducees that Jesus here uses leaven to represent. Their way of thinking and living had no part in Jesus' kingdom or its righteousness. Luke 12:1 talks about the leaven of the Pharisees being hypocrisy. The leaven of the Sadducees was materialism, rationalism and temporal. They did not believe in anything supernatural. Both kinds of leaven were dangerous and enemies of the gospel - the legalism of the Pharisees and the materialism of the Sadducees.
- The disciple's earthly orientation was a great barrier to their spiritual vision and understanding.
- They didn't understand because of lack of information or their limited intellectual ability but because of their lack of faith.
- Jesus reminded them that they didn't need to worry about bread. He proved several times that He could feed thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread and a few fish. Rather they should be concerned about what is really important. In the present situation what was really important was the spiritual danger of the Pharisees and Sadducees teaching, but they were caught up with the physical and temporal and had a short spiritual attention span.
- When believers live on the level of spiritual trust and obedience, Jesus provides for their physical needs.
7. a) Do you ever find yourself being caught up with the physical and temporal like the disciples were, forgetting where our real focus should be?
b) Do you ever find that you have a short spiritual attention span and it's easy to lose sight of our spiritual vision?
c) Have you allowed legalism or materialism to creep into your life causing you to be like the Pharisees or Sadducees?
8. Read Matthew 16:13-20. Where did Jesus go with his disciples? Where is that?
- Jesus went to Caesarea Philippi which is about 25 miles North East of the Sea of Galilee
9. a)What important question did Jesus ask his disciples? This was like the final examination for the disciples.
- Who do people say the Son of Man is?
- Jesus was asking about what the Jewish people who looked on Him positively were saying, not the Pharisees and the unbelieving. Jesus already knew but He wanted the disciples to think carefully about the popular perceptions.
b) What answer did the disciples give Jesus?
- Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, some say Jeremiah or one of the prophets
- In each case, the people saw him as a forerunner of the Messiah, but not the Messiah himself. They could not deny His supernatural power but they could not accept Him as the Messiah and Saviour.
c) What answer did Peter give? Who had revealed to Peter the right answer?
- When Jesus asked who they would say He was, Simon Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
- Jesus said that was not revealed by man but by Jesus' Father (God) in heaven. It wasn't just the miracles and teachings of Jesus that convinced the disciples that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God - God had to reveal that.
d) As a result, what promise did Jesus give Simon, son of Jonah?
- Jesus gave Simon the new name of Peter meaning "a rock" (actually the Greek word for Peter "petros" it is masculine and means small stone) and on that rock (Greek word "Petra" is feminine and refers to a rocky mountain or peak) Jesus would build His church on the testimony that He was the Christ and the gates of Hades would not overcome it.
- Jesus would give Peter ("you" is in the singular) the keys of the kingdom of heaven. The keys would be the gospel message that would bring people into the kingdom of heaven.
- Whatever Peter bound on earth would be bound in heaven, whatever he loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven. Jesus told Peter that he had authority to declare what is divinely forbidden or divinely permitted on earth. The churches authority is not in itself, nor do we determine what is right or wrong or forgiven or unforgiven. Christians can authoritatively declare what is pleasing to God or what is right or wrong because we have God's Word. And when we judge on the basis of God's Word than we can be sure that our judgment corresponds with the judgment of heaven.
- Believers can bind the evil one in a person's life and can free a person from the bondage of sin they have been under.
10. Who is building the church and on what would Jesus build it?
- Jesus was comparing Peter, a small stone, to a great mountainous rock, which was the truth about who Jesus was and that Peter declared as a confession of his faith, on which Jesus would build His church.
- It's not Peter, neither any of the apostles, nor faithful believers that will build the church but Jesus will build His church through faithful believers.
- In Ephesians 2:20 Paul says that God's household is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 1 Cor 3:11 says that no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. The Lord builds the church on the truth of Himself and because the apostles were endowed with His truth in a unique way, by their teaching/preaching of that truth, they were the foundation of His church. In 1 Peter 2:5 Peter says that Jesus is still building His church through us as living stones.
- We know that the apostles did not understand what Jesus just said to mean that Peter was the rock on which the church would be built or that he was somehow greater than the rest of the apostles. For one thing, the word "Rock" Petra is in the feminine. Later is Matthew 18 the disciples asked who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus placed a small child before them and said whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. If the disciples would have considered the teaching about the rock and the keys of the kingdom as referring exclusively to Peter, they wouldn't have asked who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. In Matthew 20 James and John & their mother asked if John and James could sit on either side of Jesus. If they thought Peter was given the supremacy earlier, they wouldn't have asked. In all of Peter's writings, he calls himself an apostle but never claims a superior rank, title or privilege over the other apostles. In fact he calls himself a bond-servant, a fellow-elder and warns leaders about lording it over those under their care.
11. This is the first time Jesus uses the word church. What does it mean? What do we learn about the church from this passage?
- Church means "called out ones".
- Upon this rock, which is the truth that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus will build His church
- The church will stand. Not even the gates of Hades (the abode of the dead) will overcome it. Jesus was saying that death has no power to hold God's redeemed people captive. Death is not a master to those who belong to Jesus. Satan right now has the power of death and he often uses it to try to destroy the church. So the gates of Hades, the chains of death itself, could never permanently overpower them and hold them captive.
- Christ uses the word church as a synonym for the citizens of the kingdom of heaven.
- The Lord does not build his church apart from His kingdom or His kingdom apart from His church.
- The church is not a building or a set of buildings nor is it a denomination.
12. What did Jesus warn his disciples about? Why?
- Not to tell anyone that He was the Christ
- Most Jews, including the disciples, thought the Messiah would come as a conquering King, as a military and political leader freeing them from the Romans, so then to tell people that Jesus is the Christ would not be understood or accepted.
13. Who do you say Jesus is?
- My Saviour, Lord, the Christ, the Messiah, unchanging, provider, my high priest
14. Read Matthew 16:21-28. From this time on, what will we be hearing a lot about from Jesus? What did Jesus need to do?
15. Which disciple responded to what Jesus said would happen to Him? What did he say?
- Peter began to rebuke Jesus, saying, "No, Lord, this shall never happen to you."
- Just a few moments earlier Peter under God's inspiration confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, but now when Jesus tells the disciples something and it did not fit with Peter's idea of the Messiah, Peter, inspired by Satan, held to his preconceived ideas instead of the Lords and found himself contradicting the Christ he just confessed.
- In rebuking Jesus. Peter put his own will above the divine will of God.
- Basically Peter was rejecting God's plan of redemption.
16. Do you ever hold on to your own ideas and insist on your own way when you don't understand something, instead of conforming to the Lords ways and thoughts? Have you ever contradicted the Lord? What happens when we do that?
- When we complain, "Why me Lord?" that is a form of contradicting the Lord.
- It is easy to accept God's blessing, health, prosperity or joy, but when we have sufferings, trials, sickness, hardship or sorrow it is easy to doubt our Heavenly Father's love and wisdom. (prosperity teaching)
- If we want to come to God on our own terms, we will find ourselves opposing God and moving away from God.
17. What did Jesus tell Peter he was doing in speaking his own thoughts and ideas?
- Peter was allowing Satan to use his mouth to say what wasn't God's way. Satan knew that the way of the cross was the way of his own defeat, so he was trying to lure Jesus away from the cross.
- Peter was a stumbling block to Jesus. Satan used Peter, who unknowingly had sided with Satan, to try to set a trap for Jesus.
- Peter did not have in mind the things of God, but was using human reasoning. God's thoughts and ways are much higher than our thoughts and ways. Isaiah 55:8, 9.
- The reason Peter fell into Satan's trap and trying to lure Jesus into it as well was because he was not setting his mind on God's interests but on man's.
18. Have you ever become a prey for Satan's trap? How do we get ourselves trapped? How can we prevent that?
- When we as believers focus on our pain or potential distress instead of the Lord, who has allowed that pain, we are easy prey for Satan's trap and can even entrap others.
- If we have our own agenda or preconceived idea how God should operate, we may go to the Bible to justify our agenda or idea, but that may cause us to become blinded and not recognize God's way for us.
19. What lesson can we learn from Matthew 16:24, 25
- Pain is God's refining process
- God asks us, as his disciples to share in His suffering and His cross. We are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus.
- To make spiritual gold out of us, Jesus needs to burn off all the dross.
20. What does Jesus expect of us if we want to be His follower/disciple?
- That we deny ourselves - the natural, rebellious, sinful, unredeemed self because we have nothing in our humanness to commend ourselves before God.
- Take up one's cross - willing to pay any price for the sake of Christ. Being willing to endure shame, embarrassment, rejection, persecution and even martyrdom for the sake of Christ. The cross represents suffering that is ours because of our relationship to Christ. Jesus does not call us to be disciples to make our lives easy and prosperous, but holy and productive.
- To follow Him - discipleship is loyal obedience and submission to the lordship of Christ.
21. What is the paradox in Matthew 16:25, 26? What does Jesus mean?
- Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. Whoever lives only to save his earthly, physical life, his ease and comfort and acceptance by the world, will lose his opportunity for eternal life. To gain every possible possession in the world but to be without Christ is to be spiritually lost forever.
- Whoever loses his life will find it. To abandon everything in this world for the sake of Christ is to be rich forever.
22. Are you willing to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ 100%? What would that look like for you?
23. In Matthew 16:27 we hear the first time about the second coming of Jesus. What do we learn about it?
- Jesus will come in His Father's glory with His angels
- Jesus will reward each person according to what he has done.
24. What do you think Matthew 16:28 means?
- Some will not see death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. Kingdom can mean "royal splendor" or "regal majesty". So this could say that some will see the Son of Man coming in kingly splendor before they die. Because all 3 gospels say this just before the transfiguration, it is believed that Peter, James and John saw the royal splendor of Jesus at the transfiguration which was before they died. (Matthew 17:1)