November 18, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
We started in our last blog by looking at Peter’s great confession of Jesus in Matthew 16:15 through 17:
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Simon Peter
answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona,
for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who
is in heaven.”
• Matthew 16:16 – “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” In unpacking this, we looked at what might have been in Peter’s and the other disciples’ minds at this time. It would have included what they knew of Old Testament prophecy (which would have been considerable by our standards. For even Jewish boys of peasant families had solid Scriptural and Jewish historical training!).
But we know from later Scripture that, while this was a great and divinely inspired confession (Matthew 16:17 – “…flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”), the disciples still had a long way to go to understand God’s purpose for Christ’s first advent! They more than once argued about their position in a militarily established kingdom led by ‘General Jesus’, as if the appearance of that kingdom was going to happen immediately! (See Matthew 18:1; 20:20, 21; Luke 22:24). Even after the resurrection, they were anticipating the immediate arrival of the kingdom (see Acts 1:6).
What was Jesus’ purpose for His first advent? It was to die for the sins of mankind (see I Corinthians 15:3; I John 2:2), to make possible the transfer of His own righteousness to our account (see I Corinthians 5:21), to reconcile us back to God (see Romans 5:10; II Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:21), and – by ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit – to prepare us over the course of our mortal lives (see Romans 8:29; II Corinthians 3:18) to become proper citizens of His kingdom! (See I Thessalonians 2:12; II Thessalonians 1:5).
• What about the Lord’s question in Matthew 16:15 that led to Peter’s confession? “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ ” Do you realize that your answer to some form of this question is the determining factor of where you spend eternity – either heaven or hell? Paul said plainly in Romans 10:9, “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him for the dead, you will be saved.” And Jesus told us in Matthew 12:33 through 37:
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad
and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How
can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the
heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of the
heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure
brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word that
men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For
by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be con-
So what you confess will determine your eternal destiny! And that confession had better be in some form similar to Peter’s confession in our featured Scripture! One more thing – continue to hold that confession throughout your Christian life! For, again, you will live out what is in your heart, and so by what comes out of your mouth!
• Did you notice an important result of such a confession? Jesus said in Matthew 16:17, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona….” Blessed, according to Strong’s Dictionary Of The Greek New Testamant, means “…supremely blest; by extension fortunate, well off….” It is also translated in the New Testament happy (five times) and happier (once). The implication I draw from this is that if you want to be happy, make sure your confession of Jesus Christ is right according to the Bible!
By the way, “Simon Bar-Jona” means “Simon son of Jonah” (Jubilee Bible – from the Scriptures of the Reformation). Simon was Peter’s Hebrew name. But according to John 1:41 and 42, upon their first meeting, “…when Jesus looked at…Simon…He said, ‘You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas’ (which is translated, A Stone).” Strong says that Cephas is “Of Chaldean origin” and is the “surname of Peter….”
Ok, enough on these two verses! In Friday’s blog we will look at the next aspect of An Overview Of Life from Matthew 16:18 through 20 – To what work are we called as confessors of Jesus Christ?