Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Matthew 16

PARABLES OF THE KING (11:1 - 13:52)
PRIORITY OF THE KING (13:53 - 16:20)
PRESENCE OF THE KING (16:21-25:46)

Matthew 16
Key Verse: 16:16

Outline: This chapter marks a turning point in Jesus’ ministry from a focus on Kingdom to Cross; from Crowds to Disciples. Jesus’ opponents prove unable to see the signs he has offered (16:4), and even his own disciples are slow in understanding (16:5-12). Peter recognizes his identity but misconstrues his character (16:13-28)

Sign of Jonah (16:1-4)
Why did Jesus refuse them a sign (probably a vision or voice from heaven?) Such a spectacle would compel belief rather than leaving people the option of believing in Him on their own.

The Teachers: Believing is seeing. The Sanhedrin has determined their obstinacy to believe or interpret spiritual signs, and they reject a sign from the prophet and now want a sign from the sky, heaven (from the heavens – remember the Star?) This reduces them to astrologers or diviners, forbidden in the Law (Deuteronomy 18:10). Here they contrast with the Magi astrologers who came to worship Jesus (2:1-12)! Jesus leaves them only the sign of Jonah – the sign of resurrection, and end-time event (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 12:39-40)

Red in the morning: the Mediterranean winds would bring rain. Jesus’ point: Anyone could predict celestial phenomena without any inspiration at all. Jesus implied that this sinful generation (which comes before the coming of God in Jewish belief) is akin to Moses’ complaint against Israel (Deuteronomy 32:5; Psalm 78:18-20; Hebrews 4), a nation that had repeatedly tested the Lord in the wilderness and rejected his prophet Moses.

Sign of Jonah – (1) Jonah in belly of fish three days as Jesus in the ground, then resurrected (12:39-41). (2) Jonah was sent to the non-Jews of Nineveh (12:41). (3) Jonah was from Gath-hepher, 15 miles west of the Sea of Galilee, a fact that had escaped the astute Teachers of the Law (John 7:52), (also Capernaum – the town of Nahum).

Jonah -- Jonah means “Dove” Jonah was the famous statesman son of Amittai (means “truth”). He was the first Hebrew prophet sent to another nation. He grew up in Gath Hepher, fifteen miles west of the Sea of Galilee in the territory of Zebulun and a few miles northeast of Nazareth. Jewish legend says he was the son of the widow of Zarephath whom Elisha brought to life. True or not, he probably was discipled by Elisha in the School of the Prophets and succeeded him as lead prophet. He was a contemporary of Hosea and Amos. The book of Jonah is really a history, having only one line of prophecy (Jonah 3:4). This dove, Jonah, on a mission of mercy in the midst of judgment (Genesis 8:8-12), reluctantly delivered a powerful city-changing call to repentance.

His personal story is a prophetic sign of the greatest event in world history – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Pharisees had forgotten Jonah when they criticized Jesus by saying no prophet ever came out of Galilee (John 7:52). Gathhepher, modern Khirbet ez-Zurra`, is about two miles northeast of Nazareth (Joshua 19:13). The Galileean disciples would respond to the Great Commission, given in Galilee, to go to all the nations. They would be following in their local boy Jonah’s reluctant example. In fact, the term, “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:15) literally means, “circle of the nations.” The same word is used by Jacob in Genesis 48:19 when he blesses Ephraim (northern Israel) saying his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”

Yeast of Teachers (16:5-12)
Jesus warns them against legalism. Jesus will provide. Only don’t fall into legalism.

Edersheim suggests that the disciples did not bring bread in order to force Jesus into another bread-making miracle. If true, this would be just like the Pharisees and Sadducees looking for a sign and having “little faith.”

Jesus is concerned that his own disciples are learning faith so slowly, and he warns them against the unbelief of the religious establishment. He could provide bread no problem, but what is more sinister is the cancer of unbelief that can creep in and take over your life and choke off your faith.

Peter’s Confession (16:13-20)
Parallel: Mark 8:27-33; Luke 9:18-22
v. 13 – Jesus withdraws to a Gentile area to form the ekkesia the church. Caesarea Philippi was located on the lower slopes of Mount Hermon, a semi-Gentile area, now called Banyas, where the Jordan River springs forth. How appropriate that Jesus calls forth the church in the place where the Jordan springs forth. Orginally named Paneas where there was a shrine to the god Pan there, the tetrarch Herod Philip built it up and named it after Caesar. To avoid confusion with the Caesarea of the coast, he added his own name, Philippi.
v. 14 – John (rumors of his resurrection from Herod), Elijah (forerunner of Messiah), Jeremiah (prophet of the fall of Israel).

v. 18 – Zechariah 6:12-15. The Church is birthed in warfare.

Jesus was speaking Aramaic – Kepha (Cephas) (Galatians 2:7ff). The church in Aramaic: Jesus must have used Qahal (Heb.) or kenishta (Aramaic), used as the whole congregation of Israel.

Three interpretations of the “rock.” (1) Peter is the rock and justifies belief in him as first pope. Peter means little stone. Petros means massive rock formation. (2) Peter’s confession is the rock and the church built on those who confess Him likewise as the Son of God. (3) Rock is the fact that Jesus is God’s Son, the reality that is the foundation of the church. Because Jesus is the Son of God, Satan can never prevail against the church.

Gates of Hades – common OT form (Job 38:17; Psalm 9:13; 107:18; Isaiah 38:10) Focus is on fortifications of Satan’s armies, a defensive position. Some note that hades is a metaphor for death, and death cannot overcome the redeemed. See Isaiah 28:15-19 for more insight.

v. 19 – The Keys of the Kingdom – metaphor of prayer as a chief steward of the household. Authority (Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:7) Binding and loosing – prohibiting and permitting. The Greek syntax offers to clear meaning. Christ is the foundation. Peter confesses Christ. Peter and the disciples are commissioned to confess Christ before others. That confession is the key to heaven. A response to faith opens the door to heaven. Rejection closes it.

Reference to Isaiah 22:22 – Messianic prophecy.

Jesus Predicts His Death (16:21-28)
v. 21 – Major division in Matthew – Turning point in Jesus’ ministry to focus on the Cross, disciples

We can confess Him as the Son of God, but we must be willing to give up all for the Son of God.

Cross – here is symbol of the decision to do the will of God no matter the cost.

v. 23 – Jesus’ strong remark hearkens to Matthew 4:10. Again the devil offers the kingdom without the cross, but the cross is essential in the Kingdom. This temptation comes a third time (Matthew 27:42-43). The disciples must go with Him if they would follow Him. Principle: Believers can be demonized.

Jesus bids us die. Bonhoeffer: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Consequences in v. 25-26.