Through stern rebuke, gentle prodding, and powerful teaching, Jesus instructs those around Him about who He is and how we can know and serve Him. Matthew 16 records several lessons in faith - warnings and wisdom which encourage us in our own spiritual journey.
From its opening genealogy through its careful record of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled, Matthew's gospel forms a bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament. In this in-depth study by Pastor Skip Heitzig we'll consider Jesus' ancestry, birth, public ministry, death, and resurrection, and we'll gain a clearer understanding of Jesus as both Messiah and King.
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Hebrew terms: מָשִׁ֫יח; mashiach - Messiah, anointed, smeared one; Yeshua Ben Yosef; Jesus son of Joseph
Greek terms: ἐκ; ek - out of; χρόνος; chromos- chronological time; sequence of time; Καιρός; kairos- epochs, eras, seasons; χριστὸς; Christos - Christ; Πέτρος; petros - pebbles; πέτρᾳ; petra - rock
Figures referenced: Josephus
Cross references: Isaiah 22:22; Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 3:7; Matthew 12:40; Matthew 14:2; Matthew 23:25;
Keywords: Pharisees, Sadducees, pope, legalism, liberalism, Peter
Turn in your Bibles to the Gospel of Matthew chapter 16. The last few days have been refreshing for me. I was up in Pagosa Springs Colorado with a few friends. An invitation somebody that I know has a house up there and invited a few of us dinosaurs from the Jesus movement to gather together. So a couple of great days with Pastor Chuck Smith, Gregg Lori, Raul Reese, John Corson, myself, Joe Faust from Philadelphia, Don McClure, just a bunch of us together talking about how Jesus has moved throughout the years. And we have all concluded as I know you know that Jesus is still moving it wasn't back then, it wasn't a done deal; he's still very alive and very active and moving around the world.
Well when Jesus was on the earth she was moving in Galilee and creating quite a stir. He was teaching and he was preaching he was healing. Lives were being changed and leaders were getting suspicious and many of the people who had their lives changed were spreading the news far and wide about what had happened and who this could this person might be; Many of them concluding this perhaps is the Messiah of the long-awaited deliverer that our prophets have told us about that we've been looking for. But many of the Jewish leaders who were not there when Jesus was preaching teaching and healing wanted to see him for themselves. And that opens us up to the 16th chapter where there is a confrontation that we have a turning point in the ministry of Jesus in this chapter.
First of all this is the very first time Jesus will use the term church, it's a familiar passage to you. Upon this rock I will build my church. So it becomes epic because it's the first mentioned of the Word in the New Testament. So it stimulates our curiosity since it's the first time as to what exactly did he mean by that and how we fit into that. Second Jesus will begin preparing his men and his disciples for what they don't expect. They'll predict his own suffering, arrest, trial, beating crucifixion and resurrection. I think most of these have been riding in their heads.
Peter will argue the point like get that thought out of your mind that can happen to you. But we see the turning point as Jesus knows it's inevitable. There's about a year left in his public ministry and he wants to prepare his disciples for the inevitable. Now let me sort of lay the over-arching theme of this chapter which is faith. There are four levels of faith that are illustrated. No faith, little faith, saving faith and serving faith. So in this chapter you'll all probably going to get a faith left.
Your increase your dependents and trust, your faith in the Lord and so it should be. We'll begin with the first, No faith. Matthew 16: 1, Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.
Go back to the first verse, what to you now should be considered an odd phrase. It says the Pharisees and Sadducees. Now why should that be an odd phrase? Because these two groups which are now together are almost never together, they're almost always opposed to each other. They are like diabolical enemies. They don't agree on anything. You ever see Pharisees and Sadducees get together on anything except one thing, and that's here. What do I mean by that? Well the Pharisees were the conservatives. They believed in not only the law, the written law, what Moses wrote the prophets but also the minutia of the Oral Law.
All the deliberations of the rabbis and the teachers of the past they memorized them quibbled over the meeting of them sought to apply the Oral Law and those deliberations to their own personal lives. The Pharisees would often ask the question, "What would Moses do in this situation? And then refer back to the writings that at that time the Oral Law had been committed to and sought to figure out what Moses would do.
So the written law and the Oral Law they were into highly conservative in their theology. The Pharisees believed in angels, demons, the spiritual world, resurrection. The Sadducees were on the other extreme. They were the liberals in their theology. They didn't believe in the existence of angels, or demons, or spirits. They did not believe in a bodily resurrection. They did not believe in the Oral Law. They were more politically inclined and political activists, where as you have the Pharisees that were very separatistic. They didn't want to mingle with Rome, they hated the Roman yoke. They did not want to be around Gentiles.
The Sadducees on the other hand mingled with Gentiles and sought to use the politicians to their advantage. So they hated each other. They never got along with each other. You never see them together. In fact, and I love this. Paul the apostle knowing this truth, when he was arrested and brought before the Jewish leadership in the book of Acts you remember chapter 22, Paul was in the temple, he was arrested because they thought he had brought a Gentile Trophimus the Ephesian into the court of the Jews. So a big mob was around Paul. They almost tore him apart.
The Roman garrisons came and arrested Paul to protect him and they said, "We've got to get this guard here or they're going to kill him." So the Roman in charge indulge me just, just let me speak to this crowd, these are my "Pips" man. I know their language I know their background. Give me just a second to address them. So Paul stood in front of the Jewish leaders and the crowd that had gathered and gave his testimony, how the Lord saved him on the road to Damascus and then after that Damascus conversion of meeting Christ in believing that he was the Messiah; he came back to Jerusalem and he said, "When I was there in Jerusalem you guys tried to kill me last time."
And so the Lord spoke to me then and said, "Paul get out of here, I'm sending you to the Gentiles". When the crowd heard that word 'Gentiles' they threw a hissy fit. They were unglued; they so hated the idea that this ambassador, so to speak of the Jews would be sent to the Gentiles. So again the Romans surrounded Paul, arrested him, and placed him under custody. The next day the Romans called for the Jewish elders alone without the mob to give Paul his first trial. So in that crowd it says, "Paul perceived that part of the group were Pharisees and part were Sadducees. So he says, " I'm dealing with a group that believes in the resurrection, believes in angels, demons, spirits, Scripture, Oral Law, oral traditions and a bunch of liberals who deny all of that stuff and they hate each other.
So this is how he started very clever. He says, "Gentlemen, I want you to know first of all that I myself am a Pharisee and I believe in the resurrection from the dead." That's all it took. The Pharisees said, "We like this guy". The Sadducees said, "We hate this guy" and they started arguing among themselves. So it was a riot but not against Paul but they were at each other's throat very smart thing for Paul to do, got them divided.
So here we have a divided group. They never get together on anything. They never agree on anything but now they're together because they both agree on one thing they both hate Jesus Christ and want him dead. It's the only thing they can agree on. And I'll tell you what hostility makes strange bedfellows out of certain people who might never get together on anything else but there both together on this, Jesus Christ is gaining in popularity. The rope of control is slipping from their hands and so they come to him, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees came. Testing him, they asked, "You would show them a sign from heaven, literally out of heaven. Show us some heavenly signs, something we can look up into the sky and see some dramatic miraculous atmospheric, unmistakable sign". He answered, "When it is evening you say it will be fair weather for the sky is red and in the morning it will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening. Hypocrites, you know how to discern the face of the sky which you cannot discern the signs of the times."
Now that little bit of a backyard weather forecasting is very common if you've been around the ocean or you grew up by the sea, you know the Mariners have a little saying, "Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors delight." If it's evening time you get that red sky in the horizon, it is usually when it's calm and you know the next day is going to be a great sailing weather. But in the morning if you see a red sky, sailor take warning. Probably a storm is happening at that moment to give you the early-morning red sky or an impending storm is on its way.
So Jesus uses that, everybody knew it. They knew it. Here is the ironic thing. We want a sign! What's weird about that, what's odd about, what's even stupid about that is they were looking at the sign. They were eye to eye with the sign. They were speaking to the sign. Jesus himself was the sign. We want a sign, I met. Understand the difference, when Jesus was a baby and he was brought to be dedicated in the temple and old man in Simeon, remember Simeon, remember when he took little Jesus in his arms and he said to Joseph and Mary, "This child will be for the fall and the rising of many in Israel and a sign that will be spoken against." He is the sign sent from the father to the earth, the one that has been predicted by the prophets do one, now here, the sign. God is saying, in redemptive history, here's my deliverer, here's my son, here is your Messiah, he is the sign.
But Jesus says, "You know, you guys are great weathermen, you're just really bad Bible men." You're great at looking at the natural; you're really lousy at discerning the supernatural. You've missed the main sign which is me. And so, of course you missed all the lesser signs that I've already done like what new limbs on people who didn't have any, make eyes that couldn't see – that were blind now being able to see perfectly, ears that were deft be able to hear. All those were signs but I am the sign. So he calls them hypocrites. You know how to discern the face of the sky but you cannot discern the signs of the times now but the word for time here is not the typical word "chronos" but the word "kairos".
Now 'chronos', you know what that is, chronological, chronometer as a watch. We speak of chronology that his sequence of time. When Jesus said you guys can't tell what time it is, he didn't mean, you can tell it's morning or evening or what day of the week it is or what month it is, of course they could. But you can't discern 'kairos' which is the epox, the, the eras, the seasons - that this is the season of God's Messiah in redemptive history coming to the earth as predicted by the prophets.
You should know this, so she held them responsible for knowing what season it was in redemptive history. Now here's what's ironic, this is for Bible students. Of all of the people who ought to know what time it is in God's prophetic calendar, what time it is in God's redemptive history, it should have been Bible students. This is why Jesus when he comes into Jerusalem will pronounce the wall on the nation of Israel because they did not know that time of their visitation or God coming to them.
We live in a day and age when forecasting the weather is a lot more precise than red sky in the morning, sailor take a warning. We have pinpoint Doppler radar, 10-day forecast, where exactly the tornado or hurricane will touch down, where you shouldn't be where you should be, what's following that in the week ahead, where the highs and the lows, the pressure systems are, and predictions can be very precise. Besides that, we are people who can predict the stock market, they think. The housing market, what will happen to gold and silver in the next six months, brilliant economists that are able to foretell and forecast so that you can invest and live your life. Then there's people will tell you what the fashion trends are going to be this coming year. Will the skirts be long, or short, or sideways? What are the trends, what's going to happen? And you have effectively an entire society brilliant at telling the trends the weather and the economy in the short term and absolutely ignorant, dumb, clueless as to God's redemptive history.
I'm glad and you should be glad that you know what time it is. I hope you know what time it is. I hope you know enough of the Bible by now and have seen what's happening in the world to know what time it is. It's almost the end of time. We're almost out of time. There are certain things that were predicted in the Bible that have come to pass within the last couple of generations. Israel has re-gathered back into the land. It is a sovereign nation once again, against all odds. Hebrew is spoken in that land once again, against all odds.
The Bible predicts that in the latter days a coalition between rulers of the north, what can be traced to modern-day Russia and leaders in the east of Israel, what is modern-day Iran, Ancient Persia will in the last days come together in a coalition against Israel. Never before has that happened in history, it's happening before our eyes. I hope you know what time it is. I hope you read enough of your Bible and newspaper together that you know not just what the trends are to be like and what color you ought to pick for the spring or should I invest in silver or gold. But how to live your life based upon God's redemptive calendar, else the Lord might say to us, "Hypocrites, you're really good at knowing what the fashions are and knowing what silver is going to do and how the market is going to fall or rise but you can't tell the kind 'kairos', the era, what time it is in God's redemptive history.
Verse 4 you wicked, that is exceedingly sinful and adulterous generation that is spiritually a spiritual infidelity. Israel in the Old Testament was called the wife of God, wife of Jehovah, wife of Yahweh, they have forsaken him and they've been married to their systems of legalism and liberalism and they aren't seeking the Lord with all their hearts. Thus there is a spiritual adultery, that's the idea of the term. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the Prophet Jonah and he left them and departed.
Now we also know what that is because we've read it in Chapter 12. You know what the sign of the Prophet Jonah is, right? It's the resurrection, as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. That's the sign.
I am the sign and soon you're going to see the sign dead and raised back to life like Jonah. And that is the sign that I'll leave you with and he left him and departed. Now when his disciples said, come to the other side that is the other side of the Sea of Galilee they have forgotten to take bread. Mark's Gospel said they only had one loaf of bread and the loaf was just a flat cracker, so 12 guys, a big salty cracker plus Jesus and anybody else is not going to work. So they had to leave in a hurry, they didn't bring bread.
Now you've got to understand how significant this is. In those days there were no fast food restaurants. You couldn't go do down to McDavids and get a falafel like you can today. So you had to prepare in advance what you're going to bring or the food you're going to prepare. So the disciples were in charge of that, the victuals. Then Jesus said to them, I love this, "Take heed and beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees". And they reasoned among themselves saying, "It's because we have taken no bread", you can see easily where their mind is. Their mind is on the mundane. Their mind is on the physical. Their mind is on the physical, their mind is on just satisfying the flesh. Their mind is where most of our thoughts are all the time. Which on one hand, you ought to take heart in that the disciples didn't run around with polished halos all the time.
They were just like you and I. They had foibles and failures and follies like we all do. They didn't bring bread. Jesus mentioned something about Leaven and now you know that Leaven is that yeast that is put in bread and when a Jewish woman bakes her bread she leaves a little portion of the uncooked dough with yeast in it and puts it aside. So that the next batch of bread she can put that inside the bread and the yeast which is a corruption influence will permeate through the entire loaf and it will rise. That's what Leaven is, it makes the bread rise. It permeates, it influences, it corrupts. They also knew what Leaven was, so they thought, "Oh, it's a hint, I get it, he's mad that we didn't bring bread. He's saying in effect, "You dummies! Don't you know that the yeast, the bread that you're going to get from the Pharisees and Sadducees is like really bad dough, that's what they think he means – by the Leaven of the scribes and Scribes and the Pharisees. It's just like there's just living on this mundane level.
So here's what's interesting about Jesus and about people around him, he was on a wavelength and there are so many other people were like on every other wavelength except the right one. Jesus was talking about something spiritual and they always thought, "Oh it must be something physical". To Nicodemus he said, unless a man in Born again he can't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. How can a man get born again like crawl outside of his mother go back in his mother's womb - different wavelength.
Woman at the well, next chapter, drink of this water you'll get thirsty again. Whoever drinks to the water that give will never thirst. Sir, tell me where this water is why don't you bring a bucket everytime you know, running water - - I want that. Totally didn't get it, just like us. How often do we totally not get? Well here are the disciples and I love this a lot.
Jesus, being aware of it said to them, "Oh, you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have no bread. Why did he call them little faith? Well, a couple of chapters back, he fed 4,000 men plus children and women miraculously. A few chapters before that he says 5,000 men plus women and children. I don't know 35,000 to 50,000 people in those two miracles one gentile territory when a Jewish territory. You guys really think is about a hamburger or a whole falafel? You really think is about not having enough bread can't even remember what I've done in just providing I can bring bread and fish and meals. Really this is what you think it is about? Oh you of little faith.
Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the 5000 and how many baskets he took up nor the seven loaves of the 4000 and how many large baskets you took up? How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread but to beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees? Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the Leaven of bread but of the doctrine, notice that word 'the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Doctrine, what does that mean, what does doctrine mean? Its basic meaning is teaching. You're hearing doctrine. Anytime you are being taught something, any value system, anything that is being conveyed to you as being truth and right and real that teaching is doctrine.
Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees, what would the leaven of the Pharisees be? Well they were legalists so legalism would be the doctrine of the Pharisees. You have to keep all of these rules and regulations and the Oral Law and the seasons and the dates and every Sabbath and every Jewish holiday exactly and you can't do this on the Sabbath or do that, legalism that's their doctrine. What's the doctrine of the Sadducees? Liberalism there are really not miracles, there are really not angels, these things really don't happen. Both legalism and liberalism can permeate like the corruption of the yeast into bread and ruin the whole batch.
Lives be destroyed, spiritual walks can be ruined as you allow a legalistic teachings or liberal teachings, they that deny the miracles of Christ the person, work and nature of Christ into your life. Listen the Bible never treats false doctrine lightly, always with a heavy hand
Jesus in Matthew 23 will unleash and unload woe unto you scribbles, you Pharisees, and you hypocrites. You are like a nice cup on the outside and inside you are filled with filth and corruption. Ouch! Read the book of Jude you can read it in one quick setting. He talks about pulling those out of the fire quickly, lest your own garments be defiled by the nastiness in the filth. In other words, save people out of false doctrines but don't linger around it, don't entertain it. Get out of there quickly. Beware of what you allow yourself to listen to or allow yourself to watch because it can permeate and it has the ability to destroy.
So probably the disciples went, at this point, "Oh, okay I get it." So we've dealt with no faith, that's the first paragraph, little faith that's the second paragraph where Jesus is talking to his disciples and now we have saving faith. I love this section, one of my favorites. When Jesus came in to the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man am?" So they said, some say John the Baptist, some Elijah and other Jeremiah were one of the prophets. He said to them, "Who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon or Blessed are you Simon bar Jonah for flesh and blood does not reveal this to you but my Father who is in heaven and I also save you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell or Hades shall not prevail against it and I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed heaven".
And he commanded his disciples that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ. We'll go back to that little beginning of the paragraph. It's been about 2 1/2 years since our Lord has been training his disciples, discipling his disciples telling them, showing them, teaching them about himself about their identity, his identity, about truth. They've seen so much, they've heard so much but how much do they grasp as to his own identity. Do they really understand who I am? So he takes them away, away from the crowd, away from the leaders, away from the detractors; It's private time. Man it's just Jesus and his men. And it says they went to a place called Caesarea Philippi or Philippi. If you were to take the Sea of Galilee in your map back to your book, back at the Bible, find the Sea of Galilee and go 25 miles on the scale north northeast, you would be in Caesarea Philippi. It is this place, and I need to describe it to you, so you can understand the meaning of what we just read. Here is the place where the Jordan River begins, the headwaters of the Jordan River.
The Jordan River is the artery that feeds life to the whole country of Israel. It starts up north, goes into the Sea of Galilee, goes out of the Sea of Galilee, goes south into the Dead Sea and there it stops and has evaporated. According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, there was a huge cave at the foot of Mount Herman where they are with water in it from whence Josephus said that Jordan River had its beginning. Now if you go there today and when we go to Israel, we often go to this place. If you've been with us on a tour to Israel, you know this spot; you know that we linger at this spot. And we go over the text we are reading at that spot and you know, if you remember you'll see that huge rock and you can see that huge cave that has been collapsed by an earthquake since the time of Josephus and the time of Christ, but it's basically all there.
So understand this, Caesarea Philippi was important to the Jews because it was the headwaters of the Jordan River or their artery, their life source. The Jordan River, the flowing river was called living water. The living water for the land began there. So Jesus brings them to a place of historical geographical significance upon which the entire land of Israel depended, number one. Number two, it was important not only to the Jews but also to pagans. There were no less than 14 pagan temples on that site. Temples to Baal, temples to the god Pan. A temple built by Herod Philippi for Caesar Augustus who is one of the heads of Caesar worship.
So it was already a notable place of worship with all sorts of deities and paganism and political intrigue as well as a source important to the Jews. It's as if Jesus deliberately took them to this spot, significant to Jews, significant to Greeks to contrast all of that with himself for a private meeting. Now I mentioned that one of the gods that was worship there was called Pan. You know about Pan from your history and mythology. Pan was the guide his upper body was a man, the lower body was a goat. He had little horns and he played the flute. The Pan flute comes from the god Pan or Peneus.
It is believed that he was born in a nearby cave or grotto there and you can see some of the little carvings on the side of the mountain even to this day where they worshipped Pan in that place. Something else, it is an awesomely cool place, and I mean cool in temperature. You're about 1,700 feet above sea level and you've come from the Sea of Galilee, 680 feet, let me tell you something in this, during summer times the Sea of Galilee is a scorcher. I've been dehydrated on the shores of he shores of the Sea of Galilee. I spent all day throwing up because I didn't drink enough water, it was just so hot. So after being down at the Sea of Galilee were it's hot politically it's hot physically, it's hot spiritually, Jesus takes them away to a very cool retreat, where waters flowing out of the rock and he's there with his disciples. So he decides to ask them two questions of simple tests are like chooses you can save by 10 questions for governor councils is basically I have two questions, just a simple test.
I like Jesus, he didn't say I have 10 questions, take out your pencils. He's basically, I have two questions and the first one does not even count, the second one is pass or fail. Question number one, who do men say that I am? Did he ask that because he really did not know what people said about him? No, He knew exactly – He wanted to hear it from them as if to contrast what people said about him with what they knew him to be. Who do men say that I, the Son of Man am? Now Jesus used that term of himself that was used about a hundred times in the Gospel, 'Son of Man'. Jesus is identifying with mankind. Actually Ezekiel was called the Son of Man but Jesus adopts that term for himself and it's the most frequent description of Christ and the Gospel, 'Son of Man'.
I am Jesus, identifying as God in the form of a man identifying with human beings. Who do people say that I the Son of Man am? Listen to the answers. So they said, some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets but what I find interesting is not of them said, some say your Beelzebub the prince of demons, right? Because a few chapters back that's exactly what they said he was. But they understood that this question – What are some of the positive things, not the negative things, we all know, I know, you know what they say about me. What are the positive things that others would say that I am? Interesting list, some say you're John the Baptist. Why would they think that?
Well, remember Herod Antipas who killed John the Baptist was really worried in hearing about Jesus Christ with all the signs and miracles and he perpetrated a rumor saying that must be John the Baptist resurrected from the dead coming back to get me. I'm going to be haunted every night. So he started that and that was one of the rumors he's John the Baptist risen from the dead. Not only that but John the Baptist was a pretty bold guy wouldn't you say, uncompromising?
Like when the leaders came down to the Jordan River and he said, "You bunch of slimy snakes. Who warned you to flee from the wrath, the judgment, the damnation that's coming on you?" Bold! Don't mess with J.B., John the Baptist can be a mean dude.
Jesus was also bold and uncompromising and perhaps in noticing that aspect of his character like when he overturned the tables in the temple and took out a whip to go after the leaders at the beginning of his ministry. They thought, "Boy, that guy reminds us a lot of John the Baptist" and the way he unloaded on some of the religious leaders. So there was a corollary and so one of the rumors this is John the Baptist.
Notice number two on the list, Elijah. Why would anybody think Jesus was a prophet who's been dead 900 years? That's how long Elijah has been dead. He hasn't been around. He was one of the prophets in ancient Israel 900 years before this. Why on earth would they think this is Elijah? Well, because in the last book of the Old Testament the book of Malachi almost the very last verse, the last couple of verses in fact God says, "Behold, I send to you Israel Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord to turn the hearts of the children back to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers back to the children lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." So the Jews anticipated that before the Messiah and Elijah will come that is why they then and today keep at pass over a seat and the door open, vacant seat just in case Elijah would happen to come in and take a seat at the Passover table because if Elijah comes and takes a seat at the Passover table the Messiah is not far away.They didn't think he was the Messiah. Some thought he's the forerunner of the Messiah, Elijah the prophet.
Third on the list, and others say you are Jeremiah. Jeremiah, how on earth could they think Jesus is Jeremiah? Well, do you remember the nickname of the prophet Jeremiah? What's right after the Old Testament book of Jeremiah in your Old Testament - The book of Lamentations written by Jeremiah. Here's Jeremiah lamenting weeping over the city of Jerusalem, crying because God is punishing her. The doom has fallen upon that city. He is called the weeping prophet, that's his nickname. Jesus was also a man filled with compassion moved deeply in spirit.
In fact later on we'll be weeping over the same city that Jeremiah wept over. Boy this guy reminds us of Jeremiah. But why would they think Jesus was Jeremiah even though he was a weeping prophet? Interesting, I did a little digging. There was a belief, there is a story. Some call it a legend some have called the history that says before the Babylon, but the Babylonians came in and destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, that Jeremiah went into the temple took the Ark of the Covenant and the altar of incense out of the temple and stashed it away on top of Mount Nebo. That's the mountain that Moses went to and is in present day Jordan. And the same story says that before the Messiah comes Jeremiah the prophet will come back take the Ark of the Covenant from Mount Nebo and the altar of incense, take it to the temple in Jerusalem and restore the rightful place of Israel before the kingdom begins. That was one of the stories circulating, so one of the rumors that Jesus was Jeremiah or generically one of the prophets.
So get the picture, here's Jesus, his men, waters coming out of the rock. This massive rock is in front of them, it says –Philippi. If you've been there you'll remember this, sheer cliff almost. It's imposing and he starts a discussion. Hey, lets talk about what others say about me. So you know - Yeah I heard this guy saying you're John the Baptist. Really, you know, the other day this dude in Galilee said that he was Jeremiah. Can you believe it? They're just discussing what people are saying about them.
That's why I said, the first question on the quiz doesn't count, it is just for warm up. The second question is the question that not only would determine the fate of everyone then but the fate of everyone now to question everybody tonight must answer. Who do you say Jesus is? That's pass or fail. Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ". Do you know what Christ means? We're talking about Jesus Christ. Christ was not his last name. Now I've heard people who think that. I hear them swear, Jesus H. Christ. And they think like, it was the Christ family and there was Joseph and Mary Christ and then there was young Jesus and that was like their last name.
It is not their last name. Jesus' name was Yeshua Ben Yosef, Jesus the son of Joseph. Christ is the Greek form Anglicized of the Greek Khristós, a Greek term that is the equivalent of the Hebrew 'mashiach', Messiah. So Christ means Messiah. Now, do you know where Messiah comes from as a word? It literally means 'to smear', because the idea is that you would take olive oil and he would smear it on a head or face and the smearing is that term from which 'mashiach' comes from. Because when kings were anointed or people were inaugurated they would smear them with an anointing oil, thus, that person became a smeared one, an anointed one. So Christ means the anointed one, the one chosen by God and anointed just like they would pick Kings and initiate, inaugurate them for service.
You are the Messiah, you're promised one, you're the one the prophets have spoken about. You're the Christ; you are the Son of the living God. Now Jesus calls himself the Son of Man. Peter answers that you are the son of the living God, you're Son of Man and Son of God. The idea of the Son of God is that he's got the essence and nature of his Father, just like my son has the essence and nature of his mother and I. And every child has the essence and nature of his or her parents. You are the Son of the Living God. It is an affirmation of his deity. You're the Christ, the Son of the Living God. And Jesus answered and said to him, "Right on man". That's the NSV New Skip Version for Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah for flesh and blood has now revealed this. Dude, you didn't figure this out on your own. This isn't something that you've come up with on your own. This comes from God. This is a revelation to your heart from my Father, or my Father who is in Heaven.
And I also say to you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven etcetera. Now, what does that mean? Well, if you grew up like I grew up, you believed, I believed that the first Pope was Peter and that the church was built on the primacy of Peter, that's the Catholic doctrine, the primacy of Peter and that Peter passed down that rule as vicar of Christ, that's the Catholic terminology and Bishop of Rome to various other people down through history in a lineage known as apostolic succession. So that the pope speaks Ex Cathedra from the chair and whenever he speaks whatever he says is as if God himself is talking and must be believed and must be submitted to.
Yo! Peter dude, I'm building my church on you Peter. It's a weak church if it's built on Peter, may I say. And if Jesus meant the church is going to be built on Peter, I guess the rest of the disciples didn't pick up on that or cop a clue. Because in the book of acts, Peter was not in charge of the early church, James was and Peter submitted to James and is rebuked by Paul. So if he is the first Pope, the other guys didn't get that e-mail, just bypassed their computer altogether. So what do we have here? Well, what we have here is the plan worked, if I may.
You Simon are Petros, you're a little stone, you're a pebble. A little rock on the side of the road and you might kick down the path. And, or, and some translators say but, as a word of contrast, upon this 'petra' I will build my church. You are a little stone, you're a pebble, but upon the massive stone Im going to build my church – words, I'm not building my church on you stone, pebble, Rocky... but I'm going my church, my called out assembly, my group of people that I will assemble together through history, not on you as a person Peter but on what you've just said. You just confessed that I am the Messiah, the Son of the Living God and I'm to build my whole program on the lives of people who confessed what you just confessed, to believe what you just believed by faith, who believe that I am the Son of God. I'm going to build my church that. That is a solid rock, that's a massive rock. I'm not going to build it on – Listen, the church is not built on Peter pebbles, but I know Messiah, that's the idea, the rock, not the little pebble, the rock.
Paul said, no other foundation can anyone lay than what has already been laid, 1 Corinthians 3 and that is Jesus Christ. It is built on Christ and everyone who confesses that he is who he said he is, that's what he builds his church on. And we have a question, I'm just going to tip my hat to it and explain it as we finish out this text tonight. Could verse 18 be understood in the context of Ephesians 2:20? It mentions the foundations of the apostles and prophets. Answer 'yes', good question and a rhetorical question, yes of course that's exactly what we have here but let me explain. So you are Peter pebble, little rock. On this rock, this massive rock, imagine, they're standing in front of that huge rock where the source of the water of the land is gushing forth from and all around on the ground are little pebbles, little rocks.
Peter what you just said, I'm going to build my church upon that confession and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. The idea of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, keys is an implement of authority, if you have the key you can get in something. You can lock something up. You have control of it or better yet, you're a steward of it. In the book of Revelation Jesus says I have the keys of David and I open what no man can shut and I shut but no one can open.
Okay, we're almost done, so just keep tracking with me. Don't le me lose you. That Scripture ties back to Isaiah chapter 22 when a man by the name of Eliakim had placed on his shoulder the key to the house of David. He was the steward in the Davidic house at that time. He would have charge of opening the doors in the morning and shutting the doors in the evening. He was the steward over the house of David, a position of authority. He would open the doors to people coming he closed the doors to people going out. What Peter did is act like Eliakim, a steward for the kingdom, a steward of the kingdom.
It is Peter who on the day of Pentecost opens the doors wide as 3000 souls confess Jesus Christ and come to know him as Lord and Savior. Who opened that door? Peter opened that door and gave the first sermon. Who went to Cornelius and opened the door of faith to the Gentiles? Peter. So the key, the stewardship was given to Peter. The church is not built on Peter but God used Peter as a steward to open wide the door of faith to Jews and Gentiles. And he commanded his disciples that they should tell no one that Jesus was the Christ.
Now, why on earth if Jesus was the Christ and if Jesus was so insistent upon his disciples knowing that he was the Christ and St. Peter, you got it you aced the test dude, you got straight A. Why then would Jesus say, don't tell anybody else, especially when later on, he says, tell everybody else. Go in to all the world and preach the Gospel. We'll answer that next week we're out of time. Don't you love it when I do that? I know you don't, I do though.Father, it's glorious, it's amazing when we think that a door has been opened to us that you first use Peter to open a door to the Jews in Jerusalem and the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius. And the doors have been opened ever since and we walked through one of those doors. You knocked on the door of our own heart. We opened it up to you and I pray like Peter we would be Stewart's being used Lord to open up doors. Use us Lord, open up doors to us and use us to open up doors in people's hearts when it comes our relationship with Christ. We've seen tonight Lord, people of no faith, those who were completely blinded and didn't want to see anything, people of little faith, those disciples who were thinking on the mundane, materialistic, the level of this world, what their next meal was going to be, to people of saving faith. As Peter discovered the identity of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the deliver, the sin conqueror, the Son of the Living God - What a contrast that must've been to discover in the midst were there, a place where there was dead idols scattered all around that area of Caesarea Philippi Temples to get deities, deities that didn't exist to realize that Jesus came out of heaven and was the Son of the Living God. And because Jesus is alive, and our God is alive, our faith and our hope is also alive. May it blossom in Jesus' name, Amen.