Matthew 16:21
From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Testing the Higher BeliefsR. Tuck Matthew 16:21
Necessity of the CrossMarcus Dods Matthew 16:20-28
A Recommendation of Readiness for SufferingA. T. Burroughs.Matthew 16:21-23
A Terrible Anti-ClimaxW.F. Adeney Matthew 16:21-23
Began to Rebuke HimJ. Morrison, D. D.Matthew 16:21-23
Christ Foretelling His DeathJ. Jowett.Matthew 16:21-23
Different Effects of AfflictionsZollikofer.Matthew 16:21-23
Noble Purposes to be EncouragedJ. Parker, D. D.Matthew 16:21-23
Peter Took HimJ. Morrison, D. D.Matthew 16:21-23
SatanJ. Morrison, D. D.Matthew 16:21-23
SatanR. Baxter., W. H. Booth.Matthew 16:21-23
St. Peter's Rebuke of ChristW. S. Chapman, M. A.Matthew 16:21-23
The Failure of High Spiritual MoodJ. Parker, D. D.Matthew 16:21-23
The Salt Our of EarthlinessJ. Gaston.Matthew 16:21-23
The Suffering SaviourDean Vaughan.Matthew 16:21-23
The Temptation Arising from HumanR. Thomas.Matthew 16:21-23
The Temptations of Love to be RejectedR. Thomas.Matthew 16:21-23
Christian Self-DenialJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 16:21-24

Immediately after receiving his apostles' confession of his claims Jesus began to tell them of his approaching death. He wanted to be assured first that they had the faith which would stand the test of this announcement. Then he delayed no longer in confiding to them the dark secret which oppressed his own heart. The result was a terrible anti-climax. St. Peter, who had been treated with the greatest honour, is seen for the time being as only an incarnation of the tempter.

I. THE SAD ANNOUNCEMENT. Jesus now for the first time distinctly declares his approaching rejection by the rulers, his death, and his subsequent resurrection.

1. The facts predicted.

(1) Rejection. This looked like utter failure, for Christ came to be the King and Deliverer of Israel.

(2) Death. This would put the crowning stroke on the. apparent. . failure. It would also add, a new horror, for "all that a man hath will he give for his life."

(3) Resurrection. This should completely transform the prospect. But the final announcement does not seem to have been understood or at all taken in by the disciples.

2. The foresight. Jesus saw what lay before him, yet he set his face steadfastly to go up to Jerusalem. His foresight meant much to him.

(1) Additional distress. God mercifully veils the future from us. If we saw the coming evil with certainty it would be very difficult to face it. But Jesus walked with the shadow of the cross on his path.

(2) Courage.

3. The prediction. Why did Jesus tell his disciples of this awful future?

(1) To prepare them for it, and prevent the disappointment of false hopes.

(2) To claim their sympathy.

II. THE FOOLISH REBUKE. St. Peter's conduct is culpably officious. He lays hold of Christ with undue familiarity, and even ventures to rebuke his Master. His action, however, is true to the well known impetuosity of his character, and it reveals very natural traits.

1. Intense affection. The apostle loves his Master unwisely but greatly, with a love that is not sufficiently submissive, yet with one that is most intense. It is easy for cold-hearted people to blame the apostle. But they who do not approach his love for Christ are not the men to sit in judgment upon the devoted disciple.

2. Elated self-confidence. Jesus had just greatly commended St. Peter. It looks as though he were one of those unhappy people who lose their balance when they are too much praised. Such people have many a sad fall from glorious self complacency to deepest humiliation.

3. Sudden surprise. The apostle did not speak deliberately. The astounding words of Christ started an ill-considered remark. Hasty words are not often weighty words.


1. Rebuffing a temptation. The quick answer of Jesus shows how keenly he had felt the well meant dissuasion of his friend, which had just chimed in with the cravings of his human nature. Here was a real temptation of the devil which must be faced and conquered! Jesus recognized it as a stumbling block laid on his path.

2. Unmasking an illusion. The words were from St. Peter, but the spirit of them was Satan's, and the keen conscience of Jesus at once assigned them to their true source. In an unguarded moment the apostle had let the tempter into his heart, had become but a tool of Satan. The character of the words reveal their origin, they have a savour of men about them. The common principles of men of the world are many of them directly counter to the will of God. Then, for all their innocent appearance, they are of a Satanic character. - W.F.A.

From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples, how that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer.
I. Let us observe THE STATE OF MIND WITH WHICH CHRIST LOOKED FORWARD TO HIS APPROACHING SUFFERINGS. Jesus was not ignorant of the serious sufferings which were coming upon Him. It is no small part of our happiness that future calamity is partly hidden.

1. A state of unshaken constancy. We must be firm in the way of duty, having counted the cost.

2. The principle by which He was supported — faith. "For we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen."


1. HIS conduct towards them showed great compassion for their infirmities.

2. His displeasure on account of the earthly mind which the apostles betrayed.Learn:

1. How insufficient is our own wisdom or strength to preserve us in the ways of godliness.

2. How secure are they who trust entirely in the power and grace of the Lord Jesus.

(J. Jowett.)


1. There was intimacy — "Then Peter took him."

2. There was disappointment. Peter was disappointed that his Lord should not have the glory he expected.

3. There was ignorance. Peter ought to have known the Scriptures were full of Christ's sufferings.

4. There was presumption.


1. The indignation of our Lord.

2. He exposed the carnality of his views.

3. Christ's love for sinners was persevering.

(A. T. Burroughs.)


1. The suffering was not only great, but peculiar.

2. And all this the text says was necessary. The word "must" is prefixed to all these clauses. We may interpret the word in three ways.

(1)There is the "must" of destiny — what is to be shall be, it is vain to fight against it.

(2)There is the "must" of prediction.

(3)There is the "must" of propriety and suitableness-moral fitness, for atonement trembles in the balance — "Without shedding of blood," etc.

3. It is a very peculiar feature of the Saviour's suffering that He had the foreknowledge of it in every detail. In this respect He stands alone among the heroes of faith. They had no foresight of the time, place, or circumstances of their sufferings. Our Lord alone lived His life under the shadow of the cross. The majesty of the character which could endure the weight of so terrible a prospect, remain calm, self-forgetting, etc., and even say in the fore-view of death by crucifixion: "I have a baptism," etc.

II. THE REPUGNANCE OF HUMAN NATURE TO PAIN AND DEATH. Human nature shrinks for itself from the touch of pain, and doubly for its loved ones. The words do not imply any want of love or reverence — it was their ver), motive. Love and reverence spoke; but ignorance and presumption spoke too. Human nature shrinks with special sensitiveness, till it is taught of God, from the idea of a suffering Saviour. The revelation of atonement by sacrifice was kept veiled from Peter. A veil is upon the heart still of multitudes — they see not why a Father should not forgive without the intervention of a Mediator, etc.

III. THE REPLY OF JESUS TO THE REBUKE OF HIS SERVANT. This shows the Saviour feeling this repugnance to suffering as a severe temptation, repelling the suggestion of the self-sparing as a cruel aggravation of His great life trial, and making the acceptance of suffering the very point of difference between the carnal mind and the spiritual. We have to accept Christ's suffering, and we have to accept our own.

(Dean Vaughan.)

I. HOW SERIOUS WAS THE APOSTLE'S OFFENCE. In reference to religion the seeming generosity of an error is no excuse for it.


1. He had misunderstood some part of what he had heard. St. Peter should have looked at the fact of Christ's suffering in the light of His previous communications.

2. There was a second part of what Jesus had said which the apostle ignored altogether. He had said that He would rise from the dead on the third day.

3. The third cause of St. Peter's error was his assuming that his own ideas of what was best must needs be true, or at least were actually true. St. Peter was in reality desiring the worst thing possible; our redemption could not have been accomplished without the cross.


1. In reference to the dispensations belonging to our personal history and fortunes. How often a part is misunderstood and left out. In the gloom of trial we overlook the resurrection.

2. In reference to the government of the world "rod the course of providence generally.

3. In reference to the claims of Divine revelation generally, and especially the claims of Jesus the Christ as the sum and centre of it. Learn:

1. Be resolute in all humbleness when you think of God's ways.

2. Loyalty to the personal CHRIST.

3. Accept Christ's word as He gives it.

(W. S. Chapman, M. A.)

love: — How are we to explain the severity of our Lord's rebuke?

I. WHEN IT WAS THIS REBUKE WAS GIVEN. Our Lord had just entered upon the delicate task of Teacher, the bringing ,,f the minds of His disciples into familiarity with the deeper things in His life and work. In passing from ignorance to knowledge there must he a little contention. This the crucial time — "I must speak of My sufferings." He enters upon the process. St. Peter spoils it. His rashness would not let him learn. Christian progress meets hindrances from two sources:

(1)From the wickedness of the wicked;

(2)from the immature goodness of the good.

II. THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS VERY OFTEN HINDERED BY THAT WHICH IT HAS ITSELF PRODUCED. In society to-day there is a softness, a consideration for ease of life, which has grown up under Christianity, and which is its product. In old days life was hard, there was endurance and great effort. Passive duties have their opportunity in these days. We talk of "Peace on earth." Our idea of peace is quietude. But war is often essential to peace; peace means labour — the sword turned into the ploughshare — that is God's idea of peace. Religious life may become sentimental. Our Lord's rebuke of Peter was severe because Peter's plea was affection throwing itself across the path of duty. Have you never felt how terrible it is to have pleading affection try to hinder some great sacrifice? How much harder that form of opposition than any other. Satan now tries to hinder Christ through the blind love of Peter. Is not the Church of Christ often hindered now by pleadings of love, by those who say: "This be far from thee. Save thyself." It exhibits a friendly consideration for our happiness; save thy money, health, effects.

(R. Thomas.)

If the Pilgrim Fathers had yielded to home sickness and not let that vessel return empty, though she lay so long in the offing, tempting their return, there might have been an America, but it would not have been this America. If Livingstone had listened to the voices of those who thought him mad, Africa to-day would have been still a terra incognita. If prudence had prevailed over zeal seventy years ago, there would have been no foreign missions afoot to-day. But all these men who went to do the pioneer work had mothers and sisters and brothers tugging at their heart-strings, and tempting them not to go. And it is ever so. It is not always as in the case of the Rev. Dr. Norman M'Leod, whom I once heard relate how his son had just gone into the ministry, and had accepted a very poor church in the highlands of Scotland, refusing several splendid offers which would have made him wealthy. "But," said Dr. M'Leod, "I thank God for the lad; I would rather see him where he is with his £150 a year, than in the palace with £10,000 a year.' It is very hard to say it; but, oh, it is necessary — be on your guard against the temptations of your friends, of your relatives, of your lovers, whose affection is precious to you. Remember that " Satan now is wiser than of yore, and tempts by making rich — not making poor." Remember, specially, our Redeemer's own words, "He that sayeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for My sake, the same shall save it."

(R. Thomas.)

Afflictions are unavoidable. To be a man, as a man to live upon earth, to stand in connection with other men, and yet to be out of reach of afflictions, that is absolutely impossible. How differently did our Lord think of them from his weak, still worldly-minded disciple, Peter!

1. The dissipated and thoughtless man looks upon the afflictions that befall him and others as the effects of chance, as inevitable misfortunes.

2. The proud man entertains such an opinion of himself, that he thinks no afflictions ought to befall him.

3. The superstitious man looks on all afflictions as punishments of sin.

4. The moralist regards them as necessary results of the original constitution of things.

5. The Christian sees them as the visitations of a wise and benign providence.


Peter's heart indeed was agitated. Strange surgings swelled within him at the mention of the gloomy ideas which had been mooted. The spray of these surgings lashed upon the picture which his imagination had been busily drawing. That picture was still fresh and madid. It was overlaid with brilliant colouring, which exhibited to the good man's fancy a bewitching minglement of glories, material and spiritual. As the broken surgings dashed upon it, there was anguish in the painter's spirit. There was anger too. He was displeased. He was chagrined. He said impetuously, and unreflectingly, within himself: What! This will never do. It must not be!

(J. Morrison, D. D.)

" — He began impulsively, vehemently, inconsiderately, as was too often his wont. He began, but the gracious Lord rose up in majesty and interrupted him, not allowing him to proceed far in the improper freedom he was using, and the improper feeling he was nursing.

(J. Morrison, D. D.)

Christ looked for the moment through Peter, and saw behind him His old enemy, cunningly making use of the prejudices and impulsive honesty of the undeveloped apostle. It was the old temptation back again, that was now presented through Peter — the temptation to avoid suffering, persecution, bitter hate, scorn and murder; and instead, to erect a secular throne that would in pomp surmount all other thrones upon the earth. The Saviour's spirit was roused when He met His old foe in such circumstances, looking from behind the battlements of the loving but disconcerted heart of the chief of the apostles. Hence He spoke decidedly and strongly.

(J. Morrison, D. D.)

Good men often do the devil's work, though they know it not.

(R. Baxter.)

I. PETER'S CONDUCT. Characterized by.

1. Arrogant presumption.

2. Ignorance of the end of Christ's sufferings.

3. Mistimed sympathy.

II. CHRIST'S REBUKE. Prompt, severe, instructive.

(W. H. Booth.)

1. Some make reason the standard.

2. The life and conversation of too many nominal disciples, as well as their errors in belief, show their savour of earthliness.

(J. Gaston.)

When your boy says to you suddenly some day, "Father, I think I shall be a missionary and go abroad, and preach to the heathen," don't you put your hand upon the lad's ambition, and put it down; don't throw any impediment in his way. Hear him on another occasion, encourage him to think still further of the scheme; and though the announcement of the lad's idea tear your very heart-strings, because you have said, This son shall comfort me in my old age and feebleness, yet give him time to think about it, and show him the whole case as far as it reveals itself to your own mind, and rather stimulate than discourage him when his mind is set in a philanthropic and noble direction. And so when your husband proposes to give some large sum to this good institution or that, don't tell him that the half of it will do, because he will probably believe you, — it is so easy to go down, and so difficult to get up.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

What a different figure is Peter now from that which he presented a few verses before. "Jesus said to him," we read in the seventeenth verse, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona." At that moment Simon was lifted above the sons of men. He was the mountain peak that caught the first glance of the morning. And there he stood, king of men, first of disciples, most honoured of the sons of earth; for through him the Father had revealed the Son. What a figure does he present in the twenty-third verse! "Get thee behind Me, Satan." The same man, but not the same character. The mountain is crushed, the great mountain become a plain, become a valley; the chief of the sons of men called a devil and ordered off behind. These are the experiences of some of us. We are to-day the most blessed among men, we seem to see almost into heaven. To-morrow we shall go and say some blundering thing, and we shall be found among the lowest and the vulgarest of our kind. One hour we shall speak music, and another hour our voice shall be hoarse, because we are saying offensive things against God and against man. Do not let us condemn one another because of these changes in our experience. The longer I live the more I feel this, how difficult it is to keep up a continuity of the highest spiritual life.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

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