28 January 2014

BSF 2013-2014: Matthew 16

In this chapter, Jesus reveals His mission to His disciples. He also reveals a special mission for the disciples.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees ask Jesus for a sign. They are plotting to kill Jesus and trying to trick Him. Jesus responds by refusing to give them any more signs. They had seen enough miracles, signs and teachings to know that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

Then Jesus and the disciples leave. He tells them to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. The disciples are still preoccupied with their physical need of hunger and wonder why Jesus is talking about bread.

Jesus explains to them that the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees was their teachings. The Pharisees were teaching self-righteousness, and the Sadducees were teaching self-indulgence. (We also must be aware of false teachings today. A little false teaching can cause a lot of destruction.)

The disciples were self-indulgent because they were focused on the physical instead of the spiritual. And the Pharisees and the Sadducees were self-righteous because they wanted to be right and thus rejected Jesus.

Next Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say I am?” He is seeking a verbalization of their faith. Peter immediately speaks up and says Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

At this time, Jesus confirms He is the Messiah but asks the disciples not to tell anyone. It wasn’t time yet for Him to reveal His plan to the rest of the world.

Jesus still asks us today, “Who do you say I am?” It is the most important question you can answer. Do you know Jesus as the Son of God, as the Christ, as God’s anointed One?

Jesus tells Peter he has the keys to unlock the kingdom. Later the Christian church will be built upon Peter’s leadership when God gives Peter the courage and the words to share the Gospel message with both Jews and Gentiles.

God has given all believers a set of keys to unlock the kingdom. We do this by speaking and sharing the Gospel to others. By sharing the Gospel, we can help others be loosed from sin and judgment. If they reject the Gospel, they will be bound to sin and judgment.

Now Jesus reveals His mission to His disciples. Jesus will suffer, be rejected, die, be buried and be resurrected. Then Jesus reveals the disciples’ mission – to share the Good News, to suffer, to be rejected, to die to themselves and to carry their cross.

After his earlier high of claiming Jesus as His Savior, now Peter rejects the truth of Jesus’ suffering and death. Jesus rebukes Peter because Jesus recognizes that Satan is causing Peter to doubt Jesus’ words.

Things to Think About
  • Where in my life have I allowed self-righteousness or self-indulgence?
  • Jesus was teaching in front of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, but they were blind to Him. Am I blind to what Jesus is doing in my life and around me?
  • Jesus trusts me enough to give me the keys to His kingdom. How often do I use my keys? Do I use them as often as I use my car keys?
  • Am I willing to pray and ask God to bring people to me so I can share the Gospel with them?
  • Jesus calls all of His disciples to deny themselves, to take up their cross, to follow Him and to forsake the world for His reward.
  • Believers must carry the cross daily. It is not optional, it is personal and it kills all selfish desires and ambitions.
  • Are my hands too full of other things that I can’t carry my cross? Am I fully devoted to Christ and following Him?