Matthew 16:13-28 Part 11

Jesus Christ was sent to seek and to find the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And to this end the disciples were to proclaim repentance – for the Kingdom of the Heavens was at hand.  The remnant of Israel, reserved by God for Himself – and who had not bowed the knee to Baal – would recognize the Good Shepherd when He came.  Although they were lost and blind and deaf and imprisoned by the aliens oversown in God’s garden, their bonds would be loosed, their wounds healed, and a table set before them in the midst of their enemies.  They would know their Shepherd when He found them, and they would follow Him.

David’s great Son, and David’s Lord, had come – and the Kingdom was at hand.  The rightful heir to David’s throne, and the great Shepherd of the Sheep, had come to seek and to save that which was lost. 


“And He shall feed His flock like a Shepherd; He shall gather His lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”  (Isaiah forty)


And upon the proclamation of the finished work of the Christ –


“Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.  Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert….”


After His work was completed, then the whole world would ring with the confession that Jesus was the Christ – the Son of God and Son of Man.  The proclamation of the finished work of the Christ was the ultimate goal.  Until that time, the authority of the keys of the Kingdom was not yet given.  It was not yet given to bind and loose that which had been bound and loosed in the heavens.  The apostles did not yet have the authority to preach Jesus Christ – the Son of the Living God, for He had not yet been raised the Son of God with Power!

The apostles were to preach repentance, for the Kingdom was at hand; but they were not yet to preach that Jesus was the Christ!  He had not yet entered into the realm of death and arise from it victorious; He had not yet ascended to the Father; He had not yet received Power and a Kingdom – and the Spirit proceeding form the Father and the Son had not yet been sent!  It was not time to preach that Jesus was the Christ, for His work was not yet done!


“…but from then…” (verse twenty-one of our text) “…Jesus began to show to His disciples that it was necessary for Him to go into Jerusalem and to suffer many things from the elders and priests and scribes, and to be killed and on the third day to be raised.”


Before they preached that Jesus was the Christ; before the New Temple would pour forth Living Water to the desert wastelands of the world; before the earth could be loosed from Satanic grip; before the Ekklesia could be established upon the foundation, Jesus had to suffer and to be killed and on the third day to be raised.

As you can see in the text, Matthew says, “from then Jesus began to show them….”  This marks the time – a point of beginning – at which Jesus began to teach His disciples what was going to happen to Him.  And the grammar indicates that, from this point, it was a continual process until it occurred.  Before this point in time, the disciples still had no clear anticipation about the events which were to take place – their thoughts were uncertain with regard to the Messiahship, the Throne of David, the promised King, the eschatological “new Israel”.  And added to that hope for a new Jewish dynasty on earth was the close, intimate attachment between the disciples and Jesus.  They had been through much together, and apparently they loved Him deeply.  They had seen Him heal bodies ravaged by sin and abuse and disease; and their own lives had been saved when He commanded the elements of creation to stop shaking; they had watched as He set a Gentile city loose from its demon possession; they had worked hard to distribute an endless supply of food to thousands – and they had seen enough left over (quantitatively and qualitatively) to feed the nations of the world!  And as they watched Him and traveled with Him and worked with Him, it seemed that nothing in the world would ever be the same again – now that He was here.

In fact it was indelibly fixed in their minds that these men were walking and talking with the Son of God – the Messiah expected for so long.  God had sent the long-expected Christ – the Anointed One!  And His earthly Kingdom would be mighty.  All the world would come to Him, and they all would be set free from their pagan depravity!  From Jerusalem wisdom would flow freely to every part of the earth.  And, once more, the whole earth would be the Garden of God.  His glorious Kingdom would be mighty; and all the world’s kings would flow into Jerusalem to pay Him honor and tribute.  Truly He was the Lily of the Valley – infinitely more glorious than Solomon in all his glory!

So the disciples’ attachment to Jesus, and their misplaced anticipation of the re-establishment of David’s throne in Jerusalem, burned in their hearts.  They were passionate and zealous for the staggering events taking place to culminate in the coronation and enthronement of Divine rule!

But there, in the city of Pan, after informing them that He would give them the keys to this Kingdom, and after saying to them that whatever they would loose and bind upon the earth shall have been loosed and bound in the heavens, He began to show to them that it was necessary that He go into Jerusalem and suffer and die and be raised!

How un-intelligible!  How shocking!  Inconceivable – the very ones, the aliens, who had taken over the garden of God and destroyed the kingdom and scattered the sheep, would torture God’s Anointed King and kill Him!!  Nothing could be further from what they anticipated!  It must have been like being taken to the edge of the world and shoved over into oblivion!

Well, there must be some mistake!  This can’t be!  What about God’s Son?  What about Jerusalem?  What about the world, and the Kingdom and the glory, and the honor?  What about the promises of God through history?  What about His faithfulness to His Word?  What’s going to happen to us – the keys to what Kingdom?

And, with a little imagination, we can see the stunned disciples gathering off to one side of the road there in Paneus, talking and arguing – “What does this mean?  First He gives us the keys to the Kingdom; and now there isn’t to be a Kingdom!”  “Well, I don’t know what it means, but something’s wrong here!”  “Why is He going to them so they can kill Him?”  “If there’s not going to be a new Kingdom, then why are we here?  And why have we been looking for all these people and telling them that the Kingdom is at hand?”  “Well He’s not going to die, we can’t let that happen!”

Now, as you can see, the Scripture doesn’t say that this is what happened, but it’s easy to imagine that it might have.  It’s also easy to imagine that somebody said to Peter, as the perceived leader of the group, “Peter, you’ve got to go to Him, and, no matter what He says, you have to talk Him out of this!  He can’t just walk right into Jerusalem and offer Himself up to their justice!  That defeats the purpose of everything!”

But Matthew writes that Jesus began to show them that – “dei”, it was necessary, for Him to go into Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and priests and Scribes….”  It was a “necessity”.  It must take place.  It was the will of the Father in order to redeem the world.  It was the love of God.  It was prophesied in the Old Scriptures.  And Jesus was accepting of the fact that He would go to them and suffer….  He would suffer for as many as the grains of sand on the seashore, and as many as the stars in the heavens.

Now, without getting into the specific sufferings to which Jesus refers, due to the fact that we will comment thoroughly on His suffering when the time comes in the text, let me just mention, generally, some of what He now anticipated.  At the hands of the elders and priests and scribes doesn’t mean that they all laid hands on Him to cause Him pain.  “At the hands of…” means at their instigation.  In other words, because of them Christ suffered.  He was placing Himself in the hands of ravenous wolves who were satanically gnashing their teeth and planning a diabolical termination of God’s Kingdom!

And they bound Him.  And His disciples hid; and isolated Him.  And He was progressively isolated from His Father!  They stripped Him naked and beat Him and spat on Him and pressed thorns into His skull.  A vicious circle of authority judged and condemned Him.  He was sentenced to death by His Own people – the Jews, and He was outlawed.  He received their condemnation and was cast outside the gate as refuse.

He was placed among bandits and crucified; and death itself mocked Him as it opened wide the portals of Hades to receive Him.  These are some of the things that Jesus anticipated when He told His disciples that “it is necessary that I go into Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders and priests and scribes.”  He was truly a Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.

Again, we’ll want to spend large chunks of time in examination of these things when the time comes; but we need to understand now that Jesus was preparing to go into Jerusalem to stand trial before a world court.  The supreme court of Israel was to accuse Him and try Him; the ecclesiastical court would accuse Him and try Him; the Roman court of the world would try Him.  And the jury which passed sentence on Him was His Own Jewish people.  In a Satanically inspired world conspiracy, the nations gathered together, as Psalm two says, in order to “sunder the cord” – break the bond of God’s rulership over his Own creation!

While some in our own congregation have been violated by an unjust court system, it might be a little easier to understand that the whole world was marshaled against the Son of God; and He suffered complete isolation – forsaken by even His Own apostles and His Own Father.  No one was with Him; no one gave Him comfort or solace; everyone deserted Him.


“It is necessary that I go into Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and priests and scribes… and to be killed, and on the third day to be raised again.”


As you can see, part of the necessity is to be raised on the third day.  That’s passive – the Father will do that.  And exiting the portals of death and Hades, the mockery of death will be “eaten up” in the victorious resurrection.

But in the minds of the disciples, this fact is completely beclouded!  It is beyond their comprehension!  They still expected the earthly grandeur of God’s messiah; so His being “raised’ from the dead – they didn’t make connection with that.  And they wouldn’t until after the fact!  The apostles actually did not believe that there would be a resurrection of the Son of God from the realm of the dead!  They were lost in their own expectations of the prophetic Scriptures, and in the calamity which engulfed them all in the day of the crucifixion.

Now, there are all kinds of unbelief, right?  For example, unbelieving critics of the Scriptures and the Gospel deny the prophecy and the fulfillment recorded by the inspired writers – and witnessed by them and preached by them!  Many will admit, grudgingly, that a man called Jesus suffered an ignominious death at the hands of the Jews sometime during the first century A.D.

But they will not admit, even with hundreds of eyewitnesses, the fact of the resurrection.  They deny the possibility of an exit from death, and, thereby, the defeat of death!  And they deny it because this is the center of life.  And they will not have life – they prefer the principality and domain of death!

But not only do men openly deny the resurrection by straightforward criticism of the Scriptures, but many also give lip-service to the resurrection of Christ while denying by lifestyle that it happened.  For one to continue to operate within the domain of death while professing knowledge of Christ is hypocrisy.  Rather than a lifestyle, they have a “deathstyle”.  Christ exited the principality called Hades – death – and was raised unto life.  And in His victorious resurrection He is more than conqueror – and so are we.  It was necessary for Him to go into Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders and priests and scribes, and to be killed, and on the third day to be raised!  We’ll say some more about that when we come to verses twenty-four and twenty-five.

The apostle Peter, probably after talking with the other apostles about the calamity which Jesus was proposing, he approaches Jesus and takes Him off to the side.  And more than likely with great pain and love and concern for the Lord, Matthew says that Peter chided Him, saying, “Mercy to you, Lord!  In no way shall this be to you.”

Now, Matthew uses a word here which is very, very interesting.  I’ve selected the word “chided” because there is a sense of “threatening” here.  In fact the usage of the term has become, in the Scriptures, a technical term for the powerful Divine Word of rebuke and threat!  And in it, also, is the creative power of His Word!  The Septuagint uses this word, for example, when God commanded the Red Sea to dry up and allow His people to pass over.  Inherent in His Word is the threat – and whatever He commands, it is accomplished!

And this is the same word that Jesus uses with regard to the demons.  He rebukes them – He threatens them by His Word and bends them to His will.  And the apostle Matthew uses the word to describe the apostle Peter’s approach to Jesus!  And by doing so he lets us know that Peter was stepping way over his authoritative boundary with regard to Jesus.  This is God the Son.  And Peter’s approach is that of God the Father threatening His Son with the Word of His Power!  And, in addition to that, since this word is used to indicate a threat to demonic activity – and authority over that activity – Matthew’s indication could be that Peter’s approach was not brotherly, but was an actual indictment of compromise with Satanic activity on Christ’s part!  It could very well be that Peter’s zeal for the earthly kingdom generated this threatening rebuke of Jesus for interfering with the establishing of that kingdom.

But that kind of rebuke is not warranted among men.  It is only used of God.  And when men attempt to usurp the creative and destructive power of the Word of God to rebuke and command and threaten, then they take on the very authority of God Himself!  Notice that Peter calls on God’s mercy to ward off this calamity!  It’s Peter and God against what Christ wants to do!  In Peter’s mind, he and God are aligned against the Son of God.  And then Peter uses the volitive case – the future of command – and he uses the strongest negative in the Greek language:  “In no way shall this be to you!”

In the mind of Peter – and presumably the rest of the apostles – this was a calamity so frightful as to blot out the glory of prophetic fulfillment – the salvation of the world by the re-establishment of the Jewish Kingdom.

The mystery of John the Baptist’s “Lamb of God” (the bloody sacrifice) was hidden from Peter.  What was the necessity of the atoning, cleansing blood of the Messiah, Peter did not at all grasp.  His mind has eliminated that in favor of the glory of God’s Son Who needed only to will to be the king and ruler among men!

And even now, many fail to see the necessity of the cross and the descent into Hades – the necessity being the damning power of depravity and sin.  They see, in Christ crucified, no more than a noble martyrdom – an unjust killing – that was a terrible incident in history.  But they reject the blood sacrifice, the “blood Theology”, the substitution, redemption, cleansing that was a necessity.  To many it isn’t essential that He died, but only that He loved us.  Therefore the resurrection from death can be disregarded as essential. 


“It was necessary for Him to go into Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, priests and scribes; and to be killed, and on the third day to be raised.”


It was necessary for Jesus the Man to be killed.

It was necessary for God-Man to enter into death/Hades.

It was necessary for depraved, condemned humanity that human flesh exit the realm of death.

It was necessary for Him to own the keys of total authority over death/Hades.

It was necessary because there is no other way for humanity to have victory over sin and death!