You Are The Christ
“And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed. When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”” (Matthew 16:1–28, ESV)
Weather And Signs
As the crowds grow, the hostility continues to increase, and Jesus is tested again by the religious leaders. They demand that Jesus give them a sign. These leaders are aware of the miracles that Jesus has performed and yet they come and demand a personal performance as a test. Jesus gives an answer that would be considered an insult when he says that these religious leaders can interpret everyday occurrences and yet are unable to interpret the signs of the times. He insists that no sign will be given to this wicked and adulterous generation except for the sign of Jonah, and he left them. This confrontation left them insulted and only furthered the animosity and jealousy they embraced. C. S. Lewis wrote an essay in which he talked about people claiming to see the significance of the smallest things while not seeing the elephants in front of them. Jesus is saying that these religious leaders are blind to the clearest revelation of God.
The disciples don't seem to understand any better than the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus warns the disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees and they mistakenly think that he is speaking to them about the fact that they had not brought bread with them. Jesus takes them to task and calls them out for a lack of faith and understanding. He asks rhetorical questions about two miracles they had witnessed when he fed large crowds. The disciples finally come to the realization that Jesus is not talking about bread, he is warning them about the teachings and traditions of the Pharisees.
Jesus takes the disciples to Caesarea Philippi and questions the disciples about his identity. He starts with the opinions and rumors of the people. The answers vary from John the Baptist, to Elijah, to Jeremiah, to one of the prophets. Jesus makes it personal and asks his disciples about his true identity. Peter declares, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus commends this answer but calls Peter away from pride by explaining that his understanding was given to him by the Father. Jesus reveals part of his plan and purpose when he explains that he will build his church on the confession of truth, and nothing would prevail against it. It is through the church that Christ intends to make his word and will known. Jesus tells the disciples not to tell people that he is the Christ because his time had not yet come.
The Way Of Death
Jesus began to show his disciples that he would go to Jerusalem, suffer, be killed, and be raised on the third day. Peter who had just confessed Jesus as the Son of God takes Jesus aside and begins to rebuke him. Jesus turns the tables and rebukes Peter for being the mouthpiece of the enemy. Peter must set his mind on the things of God. Jesus is on a mission of rescue, and he is determined to be faithful. Jesus told his disciples that to follow him meant to bear a cross because when one loses their life, they actually find it in Christ. How can the value of a soul be compared to things that are temporal? Satisfaction can be found in this life and the life to come. Christ will judge, and he will give safe passage to those who belong to his Kingdom.