The Gospels in 40 days Matthew 16

Matthew 16

The Pharisees and Sadducees, Again: Pharisees were religious conservatives of their time and Sadducees were religious ‘progressives.’ They rarely saw eye to eye. But Jesus was threatening the power of both groups, so we see them sharing a common cause. They as for a sign, and Jesus repeats his cryptic sign of Jonah prophecy. Along with that he tells them that if they can’t tell what’s happening from what they have already seen, then they are being stubborn and bull headed.

Jesus warns the disciples to watch out for the Pharisees teaching, but they mistake his warning as a concern about not having bread. Here he reminds them that he can provide all the bread they could ever want- why would he be worried about that? He asks them to remember the number of loves left over in the two feedings.  Now he might be simply speaking of the abundance, or he might have planted a symbol in those numbers. 12 baskets could represent Gods provision for the twelve tribes – all of Israel. 7 Baskets could allude to the seven days of creation and speak of God’s provision for all the earth. It would be like Matthew to point out every sign that the Gospel was always intended for all the nation.

Peter’s Confession of Christ: “Who do people say that I am?. . . But what about you? Who do you say I am?”

Peter is the first to blurt out, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  Correct Peter!

Just a note, I like to call Peter ‘Rocky’, because that’s what the name means (Greek Petros, Hebrew Cephas) (and I did like the first Rocky movie). I think of it as a nickname rather than a new name. But to each his own!

Whether it comes from our reason putting all the pieces together, or an impulse of adoration and worship, or out of a desperate cry for help, realizing this truth about Jesus is ultimately a work of God. Who made you curious? Who made you persevere in searching, who gave you the wit to cry out to Jesus in your need? The Holy Spirit.

And on this confession the church is built, for no one is added to the kingdom except by faith in Jesus, the Christ. And a church filled with such a true and exuberant faith will never be overcome. For the same Spirit who built it will guard it to the end.

This is some thing the Spirit is doing in you as you read the Gospels – revealing that Jesus is the Christ, and that he wants to save you. If you are experiencing that in your intellect, affection or need, call on him for his forgiveness and ask him to become the new life in you. This is a prayer he always answers with ‘YES!”

 

Jesus predicts his Death: Peter is right about who Jesus is, but can not fathom what that means. The Anointed One – the Christ, the Messiah – is the suffering servant of Isaiah, who will be the sacrifice for all sin. Who would guess that God Himself would suffer instead of all those who sinned against him, taking our blows and not striking back? Like a parent absorbing all the anger of a raging child, Jesus takes all your sin upon himself in love.

We are called to the same love. Bearing your cross is letting Jesus direct us whatever the cost. Following Jesus is not for the weak-hearted. Good thing that God gives us a new heart! (Ezekiel 11:19)