-Jesus indicates to His disciples that the teachings of the Pharisees and the Sadducees are leaven (a symbol of sin that will rise and affect the entire loaf, or society/religious system). What He was teaching them was that wrong teachings can easily lead people astray from the truth and misguide them into destruction. He also pointed out in this instance that their faith still had a ways to go since they were doubting about their provision and lack of bread thinking that was what Jesus was meaning. *Application* Be careful when you have a tendency to think that a little wrong won’t possibly be enough to affect anybody. Jesus teaches the exact opposite. Protect any form of false teaching (heresy) as prescribed by the Word of God for faith and practice. Don’t let anyone lead you astray by teaching doctrines that you know are not biblical. Liberalism has had a profound effect on our culture and continues to affect our educational institutions and churches with ungodly venom, which destroys the purity of our faith in Christ Jesus. Stay true to God’s Word and you will never falter.
-This occurrence of the Christ (Messiah) profession happens north of the Sea of Galilee by a good ways near the Hellenistic town of Caesarea Philippi, which was rich in occult type sacrifices and false deities. It was here that Jesus questioned His disciples as to whom they thought He was (Matthew 16:15). He desired to know with a probing question what His reputation was, in other words, “Who do people say that I am (Matthew 16:13, Mark 8:27, Luke 9:18)?” It was Peter who spoke up and declared Him to be the Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), the Son of the Living God. Peter was blessed when he made this recognition with abundant blessings and power poured out on him by the Savior. It was not flesh and blood that revealed this insight, but the Father in Heaven through His Spirit (Matthew 16:17). This, in part, initiated the call on Peter’s life as a leader of the coming church that was built on the Rock of Christ Jesus, which the gates of hell could not overpower. Peter was given the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and extraordinary power on earth for the propagation of the gospel, which he faithfully carried out after the resurrection of Jesus (John 21:4-19, Acts 2:14-47).
-However, at this time Jesus warned His disciples not to propagate the message of the Kingdom yet, because it was not yet His time to become an earthly King (Matthew 16:20). This first incarnation was for the sacrifice on the cross for the sins of man and no uprising or political revolution was intended or necessary, which would have happened if the message had gotten out too widely as to who He was. The Kingdom was to begin quietly but effectively and no human marketing was needed at this point. *Application* Our recognition of Jesus as the Anointed Savior of the world is paramount to our personal salvation. Have you received the truth of the Christ as a believer? Do it today if you’ve put this important decision off. Christ will come in, take up residence in you and make you His child when you do by His Spirit.
-Jesus plainly states His plan and intentions in carrying out the directives from His Father that He had been sent to accomplish to initiate the Kingdom of God and the redemption of mankind. This plan involved suffering and rejection at the hands of the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes. It involved laying down His life in obedience to the Master’s call and a resurrection that would have power and glory from on High. Peter, not understanding the full ramifications of this plan and thinking in the flesh, pulls Christ aside and tries to rebuke His Lord. Christ Jesus calls him Satan seeing the anti-Christ spirit of the moment and denounces the mindset of putting man’s interests ahead of God’s. He calls His premier disciple a stumbling block in His response and then takes the opportunity to teach all of His disciples one of most important lessons of ministry on earth. He tells them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whosoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it (Matthew 16:24-25, Mark 8:34-35, Luke 9:23-24).” He then related that it profits man nothing to gain the whole world when his soul is forfeited and lost for eternity. In other words, nothing on this temporal earth compares to knowing the Lord and spending eternity in His presence in Paradise because of what He accomplished to pay the debt of our sin. Jesus told His disciples that this Kingdom would be seen coming before they tasted death. *Application* Have you lost your life yet and put your entire focus on God’s interests rather than your own? This is the key to life eternally as Jesus so succinctly puts it. He will repay every man according to his deeds (Matthew 16:27). What is humanly counted as loss in this life will be resurrected in power and strength that the Lord will provide when we trust in Him to take us and make us new. There will be tribulation in this world and suffering, but the final victory is assured when we give up our rights for the glory of the Lord (John 12:25; 16:33)! His love and peace remain in us as we trust in Him and overcome all the obstacles that the enemy puts in our way. Die to self and live in Him!
Verses to Memorize: Matthew 16:6, 16-17, 24