Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 16:9-21

<< Previous Note(s)Matthew Main PageNext Note(s) >>

Do you not yet perceive? - Matthew 16:9

Do you not yet perceive? Jesus said that the only people who could truly understand his teaching were those whom God has revealed himself to (Matt. 11:25; 13:11-17). Yet Jesus' disciples still struggle to understand the mysteries of the kingdom that Jesus is teaching (Matt. 15:16) because of their "little faith" (Matt. 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8). In 16:10-12 Jesus reminded them of his two miraculous wilderness feedings and about the seven and twelve basketfuls remaining. This finally helped them understand that he was speaking metaphorically about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees - Matthew 16:12

The teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus critiqued the Jewish leaders of his day for being hypocrites — for focusing their teaching on external righteousness while not loving God from the heart or inner person (Matt. 5:17-7:12; 12:1-13; 15:1-20; 23:1-36). The teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees refers to their hypocritical religious instructions.

The True Confession - Matthew 16:13-17

When Jesus asked his disciples who people expected the Son of Man to be they answered that he was some kind of prophet — John, Elijah, Jeremiah, or another. But the true answer can only be given through divine revelation Matt. (11:25-27; 16:17) — Jesus the Son of Man is the Christ (the Davidic Messiah) who is the Son of the Living God. See HC 21.

The Promise of the Church – Matthew 16:18-19

Simon Peter has already been shown to be the leader of the disciples (Matt. 10:2-4) and will take this role in the early church as well (Acts 1:15; 2:13; 3:1-6, 12; 15:7). Jesus gave Simon a new name, Peter, which means "rock," because like Abraham in the OT (whose name was also changed, cf. Gen. 17:5), Peter will play a special role in God's work in the world. Jesus is the cornerstone and Peter and the other apostles form a rock foundation. Jesus also promised that the church that he was forming will be strong and prevail over death and Satan, even as Jesus himself will (Matt. 4:1-11; 28:1-10).

Gates of Hades – Matthew 16:18

Gates of Hades. The "gates of Hades" represents death and the power of Satan. See WCF 25.5; BC 27; HC 54, 123.

The keys of the kingdom – Matthew 16:19

Keys of the kingdombindloose. Keys refer to Peter's appointed role as a leader in Jesus' church to administrate, provide for, and oversee the ministry of the gospel of the kingdom. Similarly, in Isa. 22:22 God appointed a special steward to have "the key of the house of David," enabling him to open and shut doors, that is, to have authoritative responsibility. The same language of Matt. 16:19 is used again in 18:18 to refer to the whole church's responsibility to determine who is a part of the faithful church and who is not. This shows that that this authority does not reside only in Peter himself but with Peter as a representative leader within the church. See WCF 23.3, 30.2; WLC 108; HC 83, 84.

The suffering servant – Matthew 16:21

He mustsuffer many things … be killed … be raised. This is the first of three times that Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to suffer, be killed, and then rise from the grave (Matt. 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19). This verse also indicates a turning point in the story, with Jesus intentionally heading toward Jerusalem for the final stage of his ministry. Jesus' suffering and death fulfill what God said in Isaiah about the coming Suffering Servant who would take humanity's sins upon himself and bring about God's renewed reign upon the earth (Isa. 52:13–53:12).

Related Resources

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

<< Previous Note(s)Matthew Main PageNext Note(s) >>