Eternal Perspective – Matthew 16:1-28

My tattoo reminds me every day of the truth in this chapter.  Incidentally, this chapter has a bunch of deja vu moments.  If Jesus repeats something, it’s probably important to pay extra attention to it.

  • V1 – Pharisees and Sadducees are usually on opposite sides.  Apparently, they’ve decided to team up to get rid of Jesus.  This would be as astonishing as Democrats and Republicans working well together.
  • V1 – I wonder if they were looking for the heavenly sign that the Magi had already found.  You’re a little late boys!  Surely some of them were alive and would have remembered that.  It was brought to the attention of “all of Jerusalem.”  (2:3)
  • V2-3 – My mom taught me this phrase when I was little: “Red sky at night, sailors delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning.”  A little meteorology lesson from Jesus.
  • V3 – He’s told them several times that He was ushering in the kingdom of God (12:28, 4:17, not to mention all the times John the Baptist said it as well) and then did several signs/miracles to prove it.  The religious chose to ignore all of that.

◊ What are the signs of the times right now?  Am I watching for signs and preparing for Christ’s return?  (25:1-13)

  • V4 – They’ve already had this conversation (12:38-40).  If all His other works aren’t enough for them, His ultimate proof will be when He rises from the dead.  No one but God has authority over death.
  • V5-6 Jesus’ thoughts are on the threat that the Pharisees and Sadducees pose to His church and the disciples’ thoughts are on food.
  • V6 – Just like the kingdom of Heaven started small and spread until it’s huge (13:33), leaven can also represent evil/misguided thinking.  Satan can fee us one lie and use it to poison all of our ideas about God.

◊ Do I cling fast to the truth of God’s Word?  Do I swallow poisonous lies that cause me to doubt God’s authority and love?

  • V7-10 – Dudes!  How could you possibly be worried about not having enough to eat?!  Jesus literally just fed you miraculously!!

◊ What am I worried about right now?  Has Jesus ever been faithful to provide/take care of me in this area before?  Was I being faithful to Jesus then?  Am I being faithful now?

  • V7 – I can just picture the disciples whispering among themselves: “What is He talking about?”  “I don’t know.”  “I could think better if I wasn’t so hungry.  Too bad ding-dong over here forgot to bring any food.”  “Leaven…leaven…bread!  He’s mad that we forgot the bread!”  “Sorry Jesus, we don’t have any bread.”  The disciples are distracted.  It’s important to not make what’s secondary primary.  Seek first the kingdom of God…
  • V9 – “Don’t you get it yet?!” – I wonder how often God has had reason to say that to me…

◊ In light of this, am I patient with others who are slow to understand God’s grace and work in their lives?

  • V11-12 – I like to picture everyone’s faces in this scene as Jesus repeats Himself in frustration, the disciples go “Ohhhh…” and Jesus is relieved that they finally get it.

◊ As I’m starting to spend more time with Jesus, am I beginning to pick up on the way He operates and communicates?  Am I becoming familiar with His voice?  Am I beginning to imitate Him as opportunities arise?

  • V13 – Back to Gentile territory.  Here’s what my ESV note has to say about this town: “”Caesarea Philippi had been a center of the worship of Baal, then of the Greek god Pan, and then of Caesar.  At this time it was an important Greco-Roman city, with a primarily pagan Syrian and Greek population…”  An interesting place to ask this question.
  • V13-14 – Lots of popular opinion about Jesus is wrong, even when He was right there among them.

◊ What’s the popular opinion about Jesus among my neighbors?  Have I told them who I believe Him to be?

  • V15-16 – Phew!  Peter redeems the disciples after their idiocy of v7.
  • V17 – This reiterates what we learned in Weeds and Wheat.  Without the Holy Spirit, we can’t understand anything about Christ and His Kingdom.  God or His Spirit must open our eyes before we can understand.
  • V18 – There are a ton of notes on this in my ESV, but what I see as an important take-away is that when Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, he becomes the foundation of the church – the first of all the people who will make that confession in the future.  And that Hell can’t take down Christ’s Church.  Those who confess Christ are on the winning team.
  • V19 – Here’s the note from my ESV: “Peter is given the authority to admit entrance into the kingdom through preaching the gospel, an authority that is subsequently granted to all who are called to proclaim the gospel…[In regards to] whatever you bind…whatever you loose, Peter also has authority to exercise discipline concerning right and wrong conduct for those in the kingdom, an authority that is not exclusive to Peter but is extended to the church as a whole in Matt. 18:18; cf. John 20:23.  Jesus delegates authority to human leaders in the church who are called to govern his church on earth, under his ultimate authority, through the application of his Word.”

◊ This is some serious authority!  Do I realize I’m holding the keys to heaven and by not offering them to others, I’m potentially locking them out?

  • V20 – The timing isn’t right yet.  The ESV says “The concept of Christ/Messiah was widely misunderstood by the crowds – and often by the disciples themselves.”
  • V21 – This seems pretty clear.  I’ve always wondered why the disciples freaked out so much at Jesus’ death and why they didn’t recall the several times He told them this.  I guess it comes back to the Holy Spirit opening their hearts/eyes.

◊ Holy Spirit open my heart to what You would have me understand and do.  Help me grow in my relationship with You and obedience to You.

  • V22 – I feel like we (Christians) say this about suffering a lot.  Jesus never said life would be easy and we wouldn’t suffer, He said the opposite of that.

◊ Help me to not be afraid to suffer for Your sake King Jesus.  Give me boldness to share Your good news and advance Your Kingdom.

  • V23 – Wow, Peter’s glowing reputation sure was short-lived!

◊ Am I a stumbling block to those who are trying to be obedient to God?  How can I encourage someone in their obedience?  What am I setting my mind on?  Is that of God or man?

◊ Think of a situation I’m dealing with.  What’s the human perspective on that situation?  To the best of my knowledge and understanding (Holy Spirit help me now) what’s God’s perspective on that situation?

  • V24 – This is the 2nd time He’s said this, all before they knew He would die on a cross.  (See 10:38-39 in What the Wha?!)

◊ What is my selfish ambition?

  • V25 – It will be more fulfilling to be in God’s will than to live in dissatisfied comfort doing my own thing.  My life is not my own!
  • V26 – He elaborates on what He said before.  Ice cream houses anyone?

◊ If I evaluate my life right now from an eternal perspective rather than a short-term earthly perspective, is there anything I need to change?  What’s the fist step I need to take to make that change?

  • V25,26, 27 – Three reasons why it’s worth it to take up my cross and follow Him.
  • V27 – This is another one of those really clear verses that it seems like we tend to ignore.  If we paid a little closer attention and let those words sink in, it seems like a lot of us would choose to spend our time differently.

◊ What have I done?  This year?  This month?  This week?  Today?

  • V28 – My ESV says He’s probably referring here to His transfiguration, which is about to happen and only a few of them see it, but it also could possibly be His resurrection or the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  Obviously, He’s not talking about His second coming since the disciples don’t live that long.

Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:

  • Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
  • What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
  • Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
  • What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
  • What do these verses move me to pray for myself?

About knockinguntilitopens

I am a Christ follower, a wife, a mom, and a creator. I like to share my stuff.
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