42. matt 16:1-20 – Faith Foundations - Sunday, January 16, 2022       





Last week we saw how Jesus is the Bread of life for all people, that is through his death and resurrection, he provides salvation and eternal life to everyone who trusts in him as God Savior and king, evident when he casted the demon out of the Canaanite womens daughter, Heals many Gentiles of Physical diseases, and feeds 4000 Gentiles, with basket fulls of crumbs, Jesus love and grace is overflowing.


And today asks the ever recurring question to those that see and hear about Jesus miracles, do you understand? Do you understand who Jesus is? And if you do, will you respond appropriately to his Divinity and Lordship? Will you be a part of his church, will you be a part of the people and family of God? Do you have hope after death? Will you trust in his appointed Apostles testimony? Will you trust king Jesus, they represent? And the decrees of king Jesus passed down by his servants? Who is Jesus to You?



1. Jesus’ Death and Resurrection (1-5)

2. Jesus’ Teaching (5-12)

3. Jesus, the Messiah, the son of the living God (13-17)

4. Jesus’ Apostles (18-20)


1. Jesus’ Death and Resurrection (1-5)

Matthew 16:1   The Pharisees and Sadducees approached, and tested him, asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

The pharisees and Sadducees are the two religious groups of leaders, they disagreed on many theological issues and interpretations of the OT. One man disagreement was that the Sadducees denied that their was going to be a bodily resurrection, so there were Sad u see.


Nevertheless, these groups came together to test Jesus, now we already no that the Pharisees have been constantly against. Jesus. They were supposed to be the religious leaders, shepherding God’s people, leading the to God, and in the ways of God, but they were leading them away and not taking care of them.


And they came to test him, they ask him to show them a sign from heaven. That is a miracle and supernatural act. As if all that Jesus had been doing were not miraculous enough, healing of all kinds of diseases, feeding thousands of people with a few pieces of bread and fish)? That wasn’t enough for them.


And Jesus’ rebukes them for not being able to see the signs

 Matthew 16:2 He replied, “When evening comes you say, ‘It will be good weather because the sky is red.’ Matthew 16:3 And in the morning, ‘Today will be stormy because the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to read the appearance of the sky, but you can’t read the signs of the times.

Two kinds of knowledge: Natural and supernatural. Physical and Spiritual. They understood the signs of the weather, the physical signs of in the heavens, in the skies, but they could not understand the spiritual signs of God, the spiritual signs of Jesus, the signs of the times, that his miracles were the signs declaring that that the time of salvation and God’s Kingdom had come.


They see Jesus, see his miracles, here is preaching and teaching, and instead of repenting of their sin, and believing in Him, and entering in the Kingdom of God. They reject him.


They rather stay in the darkness of their sin, than come to Jesus who is the light (John 3:19)


And if you haven’t repented and believed in response to all of Jesus miracles thus far, listen to the ultimate sign.


 Matthew 16:4 An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then he left them and went away.

What is the sign of Jonah? Jesus already taught about this in Matthew 12:38

Matthew 12:38   Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

They didn’t learn, did they?

Matthew 12:39 He answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Matthew 12:40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. Matthew 12:41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at Jonah’s preaching; and look—something greater than Jonah is here.


Just as Jonah was thrown in the water to atone for sin and calm the wrath of God, calm the storm, Jesus as the greater Jonah will be crucified, not for his own sin, but the sin of the world, calming the wrath of God.

 And just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days, of which the fish ultimately brought Jonah salvation, saving him from the depth of the sea, spitting him onto dry land. Jesus as the greater Jonah, will be dead in the earth for three days, be raised to life by which he will bring salvation to the world.

If the Ninevites repented at Jonah’s preaching, how much more should  those who have listened to Jesus’ preaching have repented.



1. See Jesus for who is, that he God, that he is the Messiah, and the ultimate sign of this is his death and resurrection. So when doubts come, you question all of this, question Christianity, question Jesus, the Bible, look back to what Jesus says here, look to the sign of Jonah. Where Jesus is constantly turning our eyes to the cross.


Many many people in the past and today, are looking to the skies for a sign. But Jesus points us to the grave. More specifically, what the book of matthew is preparing for us to understand, what we’ll see at the end of Matthew’s book, we don’t just see a tomb, we see an an empty tomb.


And it all goes back to understanding. Because there were many many people that saw jesus in the flesh, but didn’t understand, heard his very words, and said “show me a sign from heaven” not once but twice they asked. And Jesus says look to the tomb, that’s the sign.


Jesus will continue pointing their eyes to who he is.


2. Jesus’ Teaching (5-12)

Matthew 16:5 The disciples reached the other shore, and they had forgotten to take bread. Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus told them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Matthew 16:7 They were discussing among themselves, “We didn’t bring any bread.”

We don’t have any leaven from the Pharisees and Sadducees, what is Jesus talking about.


Matthew 16:8 Aware of this, Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves that you do not have bread? Matthew 16:9 Don’t you understand yet? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand and how many baskets you collected? Matthew 16:10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand and how many large baskets you collected? Matthew 16:11 Why is it you don’t understand that when I told you, ‘Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees,’ it wasn’t about bread?” Matthew 16:12 Then they understood that he had not told them to beware of the leaven in bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.


So its these verses and John 6:48 that about Jesus being the bread of life. Clues me in to reading more than just bread in his miracles, and he specifically points to the symbolic nature of how many baskets were left over after each miracles, that there’s more than just physical bread, when the Canaanite women talks about the crumbs from the table.


Jesus says in v.11, it wasn’t about bread. It’s about him being the bread of Life, him being enough for them, him providing for them, not just physically, but spiritually through his teaching.


So Jesus wanted them to beware, be alert, be on guard against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus knew the power and danger of false teaching. Jesus knew the Pharisees and Sadducees had influence among the people, and the disciples we would be tempted to follow there teaching, and like leaven, spreads through out the bread and affecting the whole loaf. A little false teaching can grow and affect someone’s whole theology, and ultimately their belief about Jesus.


For what were the Pharisees teaching? By their actions they taught not to trust in Jesus, but to demand a sign from him to prove himself. In previous interactions with Jesus, we saw that the Pharisees value external purity to the neglect of internal purity, valued their heritage and family lineage rather than living like their Father in Heaven. They valued man-made tradition rather than following God’s commands.


Are we aware and are we on guard against these false teachings? Do we trust in Jesus to believe this warning? Do we trust that he knows best for us?


And the reason we trust in and follow Jesus rather than the false teachings of the Pharisees, who are blind guides, and Jesus has called them previously. Is because Jesus is the son of the Living God?


3. Jesus, the Messiah, Son of the living God (13-17)

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

The location of Caesarea Philippi sets the stage for Jesus teaching. For with this Gentile region in the background, we will see Jesus as the King over all nations, Jew and Gentile. And Second, with the background of the city “Caesarea” where a temple dedicated to Augustus Caesar was located, the Roman emperor, contrasting the Roman Caesar with the on true God and King, Jesus the Son of Man.


Jesus has referred to himself as the son of man, drawing on Daniels vision of the Divine King, the son of man  in Dan 7:13–14 in which his kingdom is eternal and extends to every nation


Jesus is more powerful and more authoritative than the emperor of Rome


So is our hope and trust in Jesus the Divine Son of man, and find our identity and purpose in him and his kingdom, or do we find our ultimate hope in earthly kings and rulers, and earthly kingdoms and nations?


Who is Jesus to you?


Matthew 16:14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

There are a lot of opinion and beliefs about who Jesus is? We have seen already in the book of Matthew how people that Jesus was the resurrected John the Baptist. Others thought, he was the prophet Elijah, from the OT. However, Jesus was not Elijah, and he has already taught that John the Baptist fulfills the role of Elijah, preparing the way of the Lord.


Others say he was the prophet Jeremiah from the OT, or other OT prophets. Because Jesus spoke as a prophet, in his teaching and rebuking the religious leaders of Israel. While Jesus did function as a prophet, was more than a prophet, he was God in the flesh. He was not the mouthpiece of God, John makes clear that Jesus was the very word of God, god himself in John 1:1   In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


Thus Jesus was not a prophet of the OT, he is the God of the prophets, the God who spoke through the prophets.


And now in the flesh, asks his disciples and us today, in matt 16:15  one of the most important questions. Not what do other people say who Jesus is, But who do you say that I am?


Matthew 16:15 “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?”


With all the questions in the world, this is one of the most important questions that everyone must come to grips with. Who is Jesus to you? A fairy tale person in old book? A good man and teacher that lived a long time ago?


The apostle Peter gives us the divinely revealed correct answer


Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”


While the disciples have been slow to understand by God’s grace and power they are growing to understand who Jesus is. After walking on the water they finally understood who Jesus was, fell down and worshipped him, declaring him to be the son of God.


And Here Peter answers declares again that Jesus is the son of God, and specifically also the Messiah, the son of the living God.


The messiah, also translated as the Christ, means anointed one, specicially the anointed king, the promised one to come in the OT, from the lineage of King David. Thus Jesus being the divine King over all the nations, with an eternal kingdom. Jesus title as the Messiah, and the Son of God are found together in


Jesus is the Anointed King, the very son of God. And Peter emphasizes in matt 16:16, the son of the living God. Because we do not serve a dead God, a God who does not act, who does not speak, who does not love and pursue justice. We serve a living God, who has lived and existed forever and will live eternally.


In contrast to the temple at Caesarea, where the worshipped an idol, made of stone, who could not act or speak, shaped in the image of the dead emperor Julius.


And the remarkable answer Peter gives is enable by the Grace of God, so that no man may boast.


And Jesus responds in v.17

Matthew 16:17 Jesus responded, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven.

Just as we saw two types of knowledge with the pharisees, 1. Natural and one supernatural. Jesus makes this point again that the knowledge and belief that Jesus is the messiah, the son of the living God, is not revealed by mere natural knowledge, but it is by the grace and power of God to reveal the truth of who Jesus is.


The Christian life, following Jesus, is a life of dependence, as Paul makes clear salvation is a free gift, not of works, (not of one own intelligence, but by the grace of God, so that we can’t boast in ourselves, but so that all glory goes to God.)


Thus, it is by God’s grace that he uses Peter to build his church




4. Jesus’ Apostles (18-20)

 Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

Now this verse has been interpreted in a number of ways.


First, the Roman Catholic Church uses this passage to support the office of the Pope, and that the Pope can speak with out error on certain issues, that we pronounces something that it is just as infallible as the Word of God.


Two things against that interpretation, First Jesus does not set up an office to be perpetuated by successors, but addresses Peter the person, not an office, not the office of the papacy, the pope. Second, as will see next week in more detail, Peter is not infallible, that is he will still make mistakes,


So Matt 16:18 is not teaching the infallibility of a person, or the office of the Pope.


But then we also have to deal with people over correcting the Roman Catholic interpretation, and swinging all the way to  other side, and saying, Jesus’ statement about the rock in which he will build his church upon, is not referring to Peter. Instead, they try to minimize Peter’s role, and and say that the church is build upon Jesus, his teaching, or Peter’s confession who Jesus is. And those are understandable and good things, but we must not miss Jesus’ point here, in order to safeguard against the Roman Catholic interpretation.


Because if Jesus were trying to say something else as being the rock, then he is making it very confusing. Because he literally turns to peter, calls peter by name, and Peter’s name in Aramaic, the language Jesus and those in Israel spoke at the time, means rock.


Jesus is saying that he will build his church on Peter, and by implication the rest of the Apostles.


Now what does that mean? To build his church on Peter.


First, we know that Peter is not above Jesus, Jesus is the one building, he is using Peter as his Rock. Jesus is the Messiah, the son of the Living God, Peter is his disciple.


Second, the word church is used for the first time in Matthew, and refers to an assembly of people, a people gathered together, especially in the OT, it is the people of God.


So Jesus, the builder is using, Peter to build up the People of God.


Third, Peter is likely functioning as the spokesperson of the group of the Apostles, the first among equals so to speak, because Jesus addresses his question to the all the disciples plural in v.15., who do you (pl) say that I am? Peter answers on behalf of the group. Thus this passage is most similar to metaphor in Eph 2:19-20 Ephesians 2:19 So, then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.

God chose to build his church, his household, on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets. That is through Peter and the other apostles, their teaching and telling about Jesus, for they are eye witness testimony to Jesus’ life, teaching, death, and resurrection, they are specially qualified to lay the foundation of the church. Thus, this is why in recognizing which books of the NT are God’s word, they are written by an Apostle or connected to the witness of an Apostle.


And Ephesians 2:20, makes clear, Peter and the apostles, while foundational, they are not above Jesus, Jesus is the cornerstone, Jesus is the King, of whom they declare, is the Messiah, the Son of the living God


And we see Jesus using Peter to build up the People of God by preaching about Jesus’ death and resurrection, repenting of their sins and believing in Jesus and Acts 2:41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to them.


And through Peter’s preaching and teaching of the goodnews of Jesus, many were saved from their sins, and given eternal life.


That is what is referenced to in Jesus second statement in v.18 - Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.


That is the gates of Hades, or the gates of place of dead will not have the power to keep the dead down. Through belief in Jesus and brought into the family of God, we are promised resurrection from the dead, eternal life. Because again we serve the living God. (differing interpretations)


Not only will Peter be used by Jesus to build his church and offer salvation and the promise of resurrection to those who believe the message Jesus also gives him authority to make moral and ethical decisions for the church.


When he says

 Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.”

So the imagery here is that of a king who gives his servant the keys to steward and represent the king on certain matters. So what is Peter going to steward on behalf of King Jesus, —Jesus says that we will bind and loose.


Now what does it mean to bind and loose? The closest parallel to this language is later rabbinic teaching, in which binding refers to the laws that forbid things, and loosing are the laws that permit things.


So for example, my kids are bound not to play in the parking lot or the road, they have boundaries to protect them, so we forbid them to play in the street, however, we are fun parents and loose them to play on the playground and in the yard with their friends, they are loosed or permitted to play were it is safe.


Now Peter is not just making up the rules as he goes, but what he binds and looses, what he forbids and permits, has already been set by King Jesus, the King makes the rules not the servants, the servants are just acting on his behalf. And we see this in v19, when it says whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven. That is, it has already been determined in heaven by God the king, what is right and what is wrong.


In other words, as one commentator puts it  “Peter is only relaying decisions that have already been made in heaven by the king.”[1]



1. Following the Apostles teaching and especially the focus here is the ethical and moral demands of their teaching. For they receive the authority from God. Are you seeking to follow God and his ways as explained in the Scriptures, or are you trying to go your own way.


2. In Jesus, you have no fear of death, because we have the hope of resurrection, the gates of Hades, the grave can’t hold you down, this should give us comfort in this life, and we do not grieve like those with out hope, we greive, but we greive with hope.


3. we are saved into a church, Jesus didn’t come to save people and have them live isolated livees, but he came to build his church, the assembly of the people of God. Christianity is not a solo religion but relational religion, God as your father, and brothers and sisters in the faith.


4. All of this is foundational, all of this is built upon answering the question, who do you think Jesus is. Do you see his signs. Do see that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the King of universe, the only way of salvation. Repent of your sins today, be freed from sin and the fear of death, and follow Jesus your king.


And tell others about Jesus, share this goodnews with others, because we live on the other side of the cross, unlike our last verse for today in which Jesus in .v20


Matthew 16:20 Then he gave the disciples orders to tell no one that he was the Messiah.

(an example of reading verses in context)


While we are called to believe and share with everyone that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of living God, at this moment in History, Jesus had more to teach his disciples, and knowing that if they spread his identity as the Messiah, the Jewish leaders would only rush to kill him sooner.


As will see next week, the disciples needed further teaching on the nature of Jesus mission to save his people from their sins, it would not be by military conquest but through his sacrificial death. The way he will ensure the defeat of death and hades for his disciples, for the family of God, is by first dying and defeating death himself.


[1] Quarles.

Gospel of Matthew commentaries consulted for Sunday Morning sermons here.