St Matthew 16 Reflections

The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 16: Read Here:

2015-1-14 Revelation

We Receive a Testimony that Jesus is the Christ through the Power of the Holy Ghost

Again the Pharisees and the Sadducees showed up asking Jesus to show them a sign from heaven.

Jesus answered saying,

“When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering, O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas” (Matt 16:2-4).

‘And He left them, and departed’ (vs. 4).

The disciples forgot to take bread with them to the other side of the sea. Jesus, referring to His encounter with the Pharisees and Sadducees said,

“Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (vs. 6).

His disciples misunderstood what He said, saying,

“It is because we have taken no bread” (vs. 7).

Jesus said to them,

“O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees”? (vs. 8-11).

After this clarification, they understood.

‘When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying,

“Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”

‘And they said,

“Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”

‘He saith unto them,

“But whom say ye that I am?”

‘And Simon Peter answered and said,

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

‘And Jesus answered and said unto him,

“Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

‘Then charged He his disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ’ (vs. 13- 20).

Further thoughts: Like Peter, we can all come to know that Jesus is the Christ through the power of the Holy Ghost as a gift from our Heavenly Father, as we seek to know Him, follow Him, and be obedient to His commandment. We can believe in the teachings of others, but it is only through revelation from our Heavenly Father as the Spirit speaks to our spirit that we can know.

“Through direct revelation from God Peter knew that Jesus was the Christ; and upon revelation, as a rock of secure foundation, the Church of Christ was to be built. Though torrents should fall, floods roll, winds rage, and all beat together upon that structure, it would not, could not, fall, for it was founded upon a rock; and even the powers of hell would be impotent to prevail against it. By revelation alone could or can the Church of Jesus Christ be builded and maintained; and revelation of necessity implies revelators, through whom the will of God may be made known respecting His Church. As a gift from God comes the testimony of Jesus into the heart of man” (Elder James E. Talmage, in Jesus the Christ).

Jesus then began to prepare His disciples for those things which lay ahead for Him, ‘how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day’ (vs. 21).

This would have been a very sorrowful thing for His disciples to hear. They hadn’t been with Him long, and surely they didn’t want to let Him go, nor did they fully understand the purpose of His mission yet.

Peter tried to get Jesus to stop talking that way and said,

‘“Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.”

‘But he turned, and said unto Peter,

“Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

‘Then said Jesus unto his disciples,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom”’ (vs. 22-28).

Jesus had just told Peter that after He had gone from them, Peter would hold the keys of the kingdom. It must have been concerning for Jesus that Peter responded in this manner. But the Lord went on to tell them that being true to the Father and following His will were more important things to do than preserving our own lives. Truly it is through following Them, and each of us taking up his or her own cross, that we will gain eternal life.

Further thought: Jesus needed to not only give His life to save us, but He also needed to lose His life to find it for Himself and for all of us. He has not asked us to do anything difficult which He has not already endured on our behalf.

(John the Beloved would tarry, after the others were dead, to bring souls unto Christ. There may have been others.)


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