Welcome! We want to hear more about the true story of God’s glory in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is an amazing opportunity. Matthew presents Jesus as God’s Great Teacher, and we get to listen to the Master tell us about his Father, his saving reign (kingdom), our place among his people, and his great triumph in the history of salvation. And we also hear about what God did in Christ to save his people from their sins.
Structure of Matthew (from R.T. France)
- Introducing the Messiah (1:1-4:11)
- Galilee: The Messiah revealed in word and deed (4:12-16:20)
- From Galilee to Jerusalem: The Messiah and his followers prepare for the confrontation (16:21-20:34)
- Jerusalem: The Messiah in confrontation with the religious authorities (21:1-25:46)
- Jerusalem: The Messiah rejected, killed, and vindicated (26:1-28:15)
- Galilee: The Messianic mission is launched (28:16-20)
Ideas and features of Matthew
- Matthew is a sophisticated presentation of Jesus Christ; it helps us know that the narrative storyline of the Bible is a single history of salvation; perhaps we ought to read the Gospel of Matthew together twelve times next year (this would not be all your Bible reading but what we read together); [give the chapter content of Matthew; stress what they would hear again and again from each chapter]
- Matthew gives five major examples of Jesus’ teaching (5-7, 10, 13, 18, 24-25); the end of each is marked by an editorial comment by Matthew (7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1)
- This Gospel presents the theme of fulfillment in Jesus; it has 54 direct citations from the OTS and 262 allusions or verbal parallels; “‘Fulfilment’ for Matthew seems to operate at many levels, embracing much more of the pattern of OT history and language than merely its prophetic predictions” (France, p. 12)
- “The Gospel of Matthew shows the fulfillment of the exile in the death of Jesus, and through that judgment salvation comes for God’s people to God’s glory” (Hamilton, p. 380)
- Matthew shows that the people of the fulfillment follow Jesus: he is the Teacher, they are his students (disciples); for this reason, Matthew is an important resource for teaching discipleship. Here is a place to learn more about your identity in Christ through this Teacher-student relationship
- Two major turning points in the Gospel are marked by the phrase “from that time on” (4:17; 16:21); the first marks the start of his public call to repentance, the second the start of Jesus teaching his disciples the main events of the gospel (his crucifixion and resurrection)
I. A question and answer session (16:13-20)
1.This Q & A is not coming from nowhere. Jesus had been preparing for this moment by his actions and teaching. Finally, God’s time had arrived to draw out where the Twelve were in their spiritual understanding.
2.His question concerned his identity. It had two parts: first about the opinion of people in general, and then specifically their view. Jesus knew who he was. He had used the descriptive title “Son of Man” (cf. Dn 7:13-14) of himself and demonstrated its significance numerous times. Yet, what did they think about him? They needed to give a clear answer before they could receive plain teaching about he would do in the gospel events. As Moses wanted to know who spoke to him at the burning bush, so these men needed to know with certainty who was speaking to them.
1.They told Jesus the opinions they had heard from people. They said that most people believed he was a prophet, even identifying him as John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or some other prophet. But most everyone among the people looked on him as some sort of spokesman for God.
2.Peter answered for the whole group. Jesus is God’s Anointed One. He is the Son sent by the living God. They had heard Jesus make such claims, and they confessed that they believed what he said.
Point: This is what every saved person confesses from the inner person of their heart. They have repented, have had a change of mind that now realizes that Jesus is Lord, and for that reason they trust themselves to him. Is this true of you?
1.Jesus told Peter that he could make this confession because the Father had revealed the truth about Jesus to Peter. You see, salvation does not come to people because they are smart enough to gather the relevant data about Jesus and figure it out. No, it comes through revelation. God the Father by the Holy Spirit gives people the truth of the word and he opens their understanding so that they repent and believe. Without this giving of light, a person remains in spiritual darkness.
Point: The need for God’s act of revealing the truth about Jesus to people teaches the need for fervent prayer for God to act in people’s lives. This act is regeneration.
2.This work of God does other things. It makes the believer part of the church. Take notice of Jesus’ words here; it is “my church”. We must remember that “church” never means a building or a place. A church or assembly or gathering means people. Though Israel was God’s assembly during the law covenant (Ac 7:38), now Jesus says that he will build his own assembly. So then, if you are saved, Jesus has put you into his assembly. (I think that is really cool.) In the case of Peter and the apostles, it put them in on a foundational level (cf. Eph 2:19-22; etc.) Jesus also gives believers the hope of victory. The gates of hades, meaning death, will not be able to stop the church.
3.Jesus told them not to spread the news about him being Messiah yet. The simple reason is that they first needed to comprehend what he came to do.
II. A turning point in ministry (16:21-23)
A.Jesus began to explain his saving work, starting with the events of the gospel story. Observe very carefully that salvation was accomplished in real historical events. The good news we teach is not a philosophy or feel good message. It is a proclamation about what the Lord of all actually did to rescue people from their sins (cf. 1:21). Here is the heart of God’s story.
1.Salvation happened through his suffering and death.
2.Salvation happened through his resurrection.
B.Jesus would not be deflected from this mission.
1.Peter’s response showed the ignorance of all the Twelve. God had taught them that Jesus was the Messiah. But they had a lot to learn about what that meant. The Son of the living God had told him what he came to do, but Peter thought that he knew better. Don’t excuse Peter on the grounds that he wanted to spare Jesus from death, because Jesus had plainly said that he would be raised to life on the third day. His human wisdom could not accept that every hope depended on the sufferings and glory of Christ. Thankfully, Peter came to comprehend this later (1 Pt 1:11).
2.Jesus sternly rebuked Peter for his arrogant objections. To oppose his mission was to act like his adversary. Notice clearly that the message of God is about Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection. If you oppose these things, you are opposing Almighty God.
Point: The truth of Christianity is not tried in the court of human opinion. When you hear, you must turn from human wisdom and humbly believe. Pride in your ideas puts you on the fast track to hell.
III. An invitation to everyone (16:24-28)
A.The invitation is Christ-focused.
1.To be Christ-focused demands a radical break from self-centeredness. It is not about you; it is about the Lord. Notice how Jesus teaches this end to self-centeredness: “come after me… deny himself… take up his cross… follow me.”
2.To be Christ-focused requires a “Teacher-student” relationship with Jesus. You agree that your ideas, attitudes, words, and actions must come from him, his saving work, and his authoritative words. This tells us about the radical new way of life that is essential to true Christianity.
B.The invitation is urgent.
1.You only have two options: death or life. You cannot get the beneficial option in the way most people assume they can.
2.It presents true values. It does you no good to gain everything at the cost of losing yourself. Your life—you—are very significant, since you are created in God’s image. It is foolishness to throw yourself away in a mad pursuit of stuff and wasteful activities.
3.It offers great reward.
Point: What will it be? Will you lose everything in an empty attempt to satisfy your cravings? Or will you let your cravings go to gain Jesus Christ and glory? There is no vacation, no sexual experience, no buzz from alcohol or drugs, or no pile of expensive, beautiful stuff that can equal or even come close to the glory of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn to Christ today!