Memory Verse: Matthew 16:18
16:13-16 Who Do You Say That Jesus Is?
- 16:13 Jesus warned His disciples of the danger of false doctrine, especially that of the Pharisees and Sadducees (legalism and liberalism). Then when they came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples another question saying, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”—meaning, in general, who do people think that Jesus is? Jesus often refers to Himself as the “Son of man” which points out His humanity or that He is 100% human—but there is one big difference: He is without sin. This is possible because He is also the “Son of God”—meaning He is 100% God.
- 16:14 The disciples answered Jesus’ questions with all the different things that they have heard about Jesus. (1) Some people say Jesus is John the Baptist—a man who was a prophet preparing the way for the Christ. John had already died, but people thought he must have come back from the dead (this is not logical since Jesus and John lived at the same time). (2) Some people say Jesus is Elias (Elijah)—a man who was also a prophet but was prophesied to return before “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” But John the Baptist was the fulfillment of this prophecy, not physically being Elijah (John denied that), but “in the spirit and power of Elias” accomplishing the work that it was prophesied for him to do. (3) Some people say Jesus is Jeremias (Jeremiah)—a man who was also a prophet that preached a message of judgement like Jesus, so maybe they thought Jesus was similar enough that this prophet returned. (4) Some people say Jesus is one of the prophets—they don’t know if He was a prophet risen from the dead or a new prophet that God had chosen, but they thought His works and teachings placed Him in the category of a being a “prophet”.
Matthew 11:14; 11:21-24; 14:1-2; Malachi 4:5
- 16:15 Then Jesus makes the question extremely personal and says to His disciples: “But whom say ye that I am?” The public might have different ideas about who Jesus is, but Jesus wants to know who do you think He is? If Jesus were to ask you this question, how would you respond?
- 16:16 Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter believes Jesus to be much more than a prophet, He was: (1) The Christ—the anointed One, the Messiah, the promised Saviour of the World. (2) The Son of the living God—the closest relationship with God that anyone could have and a term that basically means that He is claiming Jesus to be equal with God.
16:17-20 The Start Of The Church
- 16:17 Jesus responds to Peter by saying: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona (son of Jona)”—Peter is blessed meaning to be happy or fortunate and in this context a holy joy. The reason for this holy joy is because he understands who Jesus really is and because this truth wasn’t revealed to Him by human effort (flesh and blood) but because God (my Father which is in heaven) had revealed it to Peter. At that time, apart from God, those Jesus was speaking to had not fully understand who Jesus was. Jesus was claiming something higher than human observation could understand—that God was revealing Himself to mankind through His Son Jesus and that He would ultimately save them.
- 16:18 Jesus continues saying: “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church”. This is the first time that Jesus has used the word “church”. This is the beginning of the church being started. There are three important things about the church that we learn: (1) The church’s foundation is Jesus and those who confess Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God—being revealed to them by the Heavenly Father. Peter was the first such person. (2) The church’s builder is Jesus. The church is also called the “body of Christ,” with Jesus being the Head. (3) The church’s owner is Jesus. He will purchase it with His own blood through His death on the cross. (4) The church’s victor is Jesus. Finally, Jesus says, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Hell is the place that holds the human soul prisoner at death, thus the “power of death” will not overpower the church. Death is strong, its gates hold the dead within and people do not come back from it. But Jesus will overcome death by His resurrection from the dead—thus paving the way for all members of the church to do the same.
1 Corinthians 3:11; 10:4; 15:52-57; 1 Peter 2:6-8; 2 Timothy 2:19; Acts 20:28; John 10:14-18
- Every person who repents and believes automatically becomes part of the church in general. The church is also called the “body of Christ,” with Jesus being the Head. Although all believers are part of the body of Christ, Jesus carries out His will through local churches. The local church started with Jesus and His disciples, and it was established when they received and were filled by the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 16:13-18; John 20:22; Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18
- A local church is a group of believers who consistently gather together in one place for the common purpose of carrying out the will and work of God and to grow in the grace and knowledge of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 10:23-25
- Today, a local church exists when believers: regularly gather for edification in the Word of God desiring to obey it; are willing to baptize new believers as a testimony of their faith in Jesus alone for salvation; and eat the Lord’s Supper together in remembrance of His death, looking forward to His return.
Acts 2:38; 4:31; Colossians 1:24-26; 1 Corinthians 11:20-26
- 16:19 Jesus ends by telling Peter that He will give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven (the gospel of the church) and that whatever He binds on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever he looses on earth will be loosed in heaven (the discipline of the church). This is establishing authority within the church. This authority is first given to Peter but is also passed to all members of the church. The key that opens the entrance to the kingdom of heaven is the gospel. Then as the church functions it also has authority to excise its authority.
Acts 2:1-47; Matthew 18:15-18
- 16:20 Finally, Jesus precisely ordered His disciples to not tell anyone that He was Jesus the Christ. They were to take the same position of Jesus—of course He knew He Himself was the Christ, but He didn’t tell everyone. Why? The multitude most likely would have misunderstood the role of the Christ—thinking He came to violently overtake the governmental authorities of their day and setup His kingdom on earth. Thus, Jesus probably didn’t want the wrong information to be spread around.
- Who did people say that Jesus the Son of man was?
- Who did Peter say the Jesus was?
- How did Jesus respond to Peter?
- What four things did we learn about the church?
- Why didn’t Jesus want anyone to know?