Matthew 16 (NRSV)
The Demand for a Sign
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus.
Their working together showed a deep fear among the religious leaders. The Sadducees and Pharisees were long-standing enemies, and the fact that they came together against Jesus shows they regarded Him as a serious threat.
- The Pharisees lived according to the smallest points of the oral and scribal law; the Sadducees received only the written words of the Hebrew Scriptures.
- The Pharisees believed in angels and the resurrection of the dead; the Sadducees did not (Paul made use of this division in Acts 23:6-10).
- The Pharisees were not a political party and were prepared to live under any government that would leave them alone to practice their religion the way they wanted to; the Sadducees were aristocrats and collaborated with the Romans to keep their wealth and power.
- The Pharisees looked for and longed for the Messiah; the Sadducees did not.
They asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then he left them and went away.
The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees
5When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. 6Jesus said to them, “Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
7They said to one another, “It is because we have brought no bread.”
8And becoming aware of it, Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? 9Do you still not perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread? Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!” 12Then they understood that he had not told them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Peter’s Declaration about Jesus
13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi,
“The area was scattered with temples of the ancient Syrian Baal worship. . . . Hard by Caesarea Philippi there rose a great hill, in which was a deep cavern; and that cavern was said to be the birthplace of the great god Pan, the god of nature. . . . In Caesarea Philippi there was a great temple of white marble built to the godhead of Caesar. . . . It is as if Jesus deliberately set himself against the background of the world’s religions in all their history and splendour, and demanded to be compared to them and to have the verdict given in his favour.”
he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Imagine that Jesus comes to you and says, “Who do you say that I am?”
Tell him now what your answer would be.
16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
21From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.”
23But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
The Cross and Self-Denial
24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? 27“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
HERE is that old gem “I have decided to follow Jesus” sung by Jadon Lavik.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.