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Matthew chapter 16 part two

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, JULY 23

 

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 16 PART TWO

Author:  Jeremy Witt

 

Today we will deal with verses 17-28.  Peter just declared Jesus as the Messiah in verse 16.

 First, notice in verse 17 that Jesus declared that God revealed this to Peter.  God is the One who opens our eyes.  God is the One who pursues us.  God is the One who sent Jesus to us.  We may realize that there is something bigger than us (see Romans 1:19-23).  Also, note that Jesus says “You did not learn from any human being.”  It was not made up by man despite the skeptic’s claims! 

 Verse 18 is one that is highly debated by scholars and even denominations or other faiths.  Some interpret that Jesus was saying that “upon Peter, I will be my church.”  This view is held by the Roman Catholic Church who calls Peter the first pope.  Because Petros in Greek means rock, and Jesus says, “upon this rock, I will build my church ('ecclesia'-Greek word for church), they claim Peter is whom the church was built upon.  However, what did Peter do to save?  What did Peter do for the church? He called people to believe in Jesus and what Jesus did on the Cross?  The church was built upon Christ and what He did!  Peter merely proclaimed Jesus Christ as the Messiah, which is who saves us.  This rock upon which the Church was built is Jesus Himself. 

Peter’s confession is what we confess when we declare that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the World.  Is Peter important?  Absolutely!  What Peter did was important, but what Jesus did was to defeat sin and death!  A church built on a man would crumble when that man died. (By the way, we see this happen today)  Peter will later declare in 1 Peter 2:4-6  that the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. 

 At the end of verse 17, Jesus said, “the gates of hell (or powers of hell) shall not prevail (or conquer) against” the church.  This is ultimately a declaration that God wins.  His Kingdom and His Church will ultimately win.  Pay careful attention that Jesus didn’t say that hell or Satan wouldn’t attack the church or that hell couldn’t invade the church.  We know that this happens today and has happened in the past.  To summarize what Jesus said is that when the church rises up and moves forward with the Gospel, nothing can stop her – not even the gates of hell.  The church Jesus built is designed to be an unstoppable force.  However, we do not always see this.  In fact, the biggest thing that keeps the church from being what Jesus declared is when the church refuses to be the church that Jesus built.

 In verses 21-28 we read of the first time that Jesus predicts His death.  We also see Peter responding in emotion and trying to control Jesus.  Have you ever tried to do that?  Unfortunately, I have.  Verse 22, Peter responds to Jesus based upon his understanding rather than the will of God.  Yep, I have done that too!  Peter had his own expectations of the Messiah, and Jesus's suffering and death were not in Peter’s mind.  However, Isaiah 53 speaks specifically to what the Messiah would do.  Daniel 7:13-14 and 9:-26-27 speak towards a period of trouble and that the Messiah would be cut off.  Moment of application for us.  We, as Americans, look at suffering as punishment.  Yet throughout Scripture, we are told that we are blessed when we suffer on Jesus’ account.  We are told throughout the New Testament that we will suffer and face persecution.  As Americans, we avoid it all cost/  We say things like, “surely God does not want you to go through this.”  We act like Peter when we say these things.  The Church has always thrived under suffering and persecution.  It is when she has grown the most. 

 Also, notice that Jesus called Peter a specific name.  “Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block.”  Was Peter demon-possessed?  No!  How can I say that?  Peter had just declared Jesus as the Messiah.  Satan cannot possess that which is not his.  However, he can use a Christ-follower as an instrument when we are living in our flesh.  I realize this is a much bigger topic that for what our space allows, but here in verse 23, Peter was used by Satan and Jesus plainly calls him out.  We must be careful not to “see things merely from a human point of view” (NLT) or “you are not setting your mind on God’s interest, but man’s.” (NASB)

 Finally, in the last set of verses (24-28), we read of the cost of following Jesus.  We must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. (verse 24)  We must be willing to lose our life for His sake (verse 25).  We can’t be focused on this world (verse 26).  How are we doing in these ways?  This is so much more difficult than space allows, but we all can improve in doing these things.  May we follow and become more like our Savior!

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

Matthew chapter 16 part one

DAILY DEVOTION
FOR
JULY 22, 2020

 
Scripture:  Matthew 16 – Focus on verses 13-17
Author:  Jeremy Witt

My focus of today’s chapter will be on verses 13-28.  I am not trying to take away from the first portion of this chapter, but the latter portion is where the Ribeye is, so to speak.  Jesus asks the disciples (not the crowd) a big question.  Who do people say that I am?  Wow, that is not like asking, “what are people saying about me?” but “Who is that that people think I am?”  Notice that no one says, “A carpenter’s son” or “a Nazarene man” but they go to other people who have lived.

This question is still being asked today about Jesus.  Some people say a good man and teacher, which I truly struggle with.  If Jesus was a good man who said the things that Jesus said, then Jesus was either all He claimed to be or a mad man.  But that is not all people say about Jesus today.  He was a religious man.  I struggle with that one too.  If He was religious, why did He not join with the religious leaders?  Why did He seem to be at odds with them all the time? 

As we go back to Scripture, we read that some said that Jesus was John the Baptist who had just been killed and others said that Jesus was one of the prophets from old.  Why would they answer like this?  It most likely comes from Deuteronomy 18:18 that said that God would raise up a prophet from among the people.  They mentioned Elijah, whom we will read about in tomorrow’s devotional as well as Jeremiah.

Then Jesus asked the ultimate question in verse 15.  “But who do YOU say that I am?”  This is the question that each one must answer at some point.  Will we say that Jesus was a good man a teacher?  Or will we say that Jesus was a holy or religious man?  Or will we say that Jesus was a crazy man or maybe say that Jesus was made up by a man and never really existed?  Each of these things is said about Jesus today!  Or will we respond as Simon Peter does in verse 16?

I relate to Peter more than any other disciple or person in the New Testament.  He is emotional.  He speaks at times before he thinks.  He wanted to be with Jesus but didn’t always understand Jesus (see verse 22), He will be one of the only disciples to follow Jesus after His arrest in the Garden.  Peter stayed at a distance from Jesus when He was arrested while everyone else fled.  Peter also will deny Jesus due to his fear of man when Jesus is arrested.  Peter walked on water while the others watched.  After the Resurrection when Jesus was on the beach, Peter didn’t wait for the boat to come to shore, Peter jumped out and swam.  Peter made a lot of mistakes, but he kept striving to be near Jesus even when others did not. 

Peter’s answer of declaring Jesus as the Messiah is the basis of our faith.  Have you declared Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God?  Have you confessed this?  Our faith pivots on how we answer this single question of “who do you say that I am?”  It could be said this way.  Who do you say that I AM?  Remember what God said that His Name was to Moses?  It was “I AM.”  If Jesus is not the Messiah, our faith is useless and Jesus is a fraud.  This is why this question is critical for us to answer.  Our world says that Jesus is a good man and teacher.  Islam and Buddhism say this.  Mormonism says that Jesus was a holy man who was one of God’s children and that we can be like him and have our own planet.  Atheism, agnosticism, and New Age say that Jesus never existed and is made up by man.  So who do you say that Jesus is?

Simon’s name was changed by Jesus in verse 17.  Just think quickly about those in the Old Testament and New Testament whose names were changed.  It is significant.  Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, Simon to Peter, and Saul to Paul are people whose names were changed by God. 
 
When we make our declaration about who Jesus is, if we choose to declare Him as the Messiah as Peter did, we are made new.  (Revelation 21:5)  We become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)  We are made new (Ephesians 4:22-24)  We are changed all due to how we respond to the question of, “who do you say that I am?” 
 
We will finish the latter portion of chapter 16 tomorrow.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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