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Matthew 16

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The Turning Point

In yesterday’s reading we saw that Jesus was met by a Canaanite woman who wanted Him to heal her daughter. Jesus refused in verse 15:24. He had also told the disciples not to go out among the Gentiles (10:5-6). These rejections fit the Jews expectations that they were the chosen ones. It was only after Jesus was rejected by the Jews that Jesus then made Himself known to the Gentiles. What is striking to me is that the Canaanite woman recognized Jesus for who He is. She actually addresses Him as “Lord, Son of David” - she gave Him his full Messianic title. When she was rebuked by Jesus she then asked for the crumbs that flowed from Israel’s future banquet table. That is when she was rewarded for her faith. She was able to secure a place in the Kingdom that the Jews were rejecting.
The Disciples professing Jesus is Lord in chapter 15, turns to less than full awareness of just who the King is when they are scolded for not understanding. Jesus was warning them of the false doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus then asks them the fateful question of “who do men say that the Son of man is?” followed by “who do you say I am”. The disciples report confirm the nation of Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah, and Peter’s acknowledgement of Christ was a confession Israel could not make.
With the rejection firmly in place Jesus begins to change His teaching from focusing in on the Kingdom to His cross. Jesus calls Peter blessed for God revealed Christ’s identity to him and Jesus will build His church upon the rock.
#1 What is the foundation (rock) that Jesus will build His church upon?
Peter’s confession is what it is founded on....not really, but in essence it is Peter’s faith in Christ that is the rock. Christ being the rock. For Jesus is the foundation of the church and our faith.
#2 The keys to the Kingdom and the promise that “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven” - what do you say these are/mean?
Some scholars say that Peter was chosen to open the door of the gospel message to the 2 major groups of man. but, I believe that Jesus was not surrendering his position as head of all things. Instead Jesus has given us authority (the keys) through His presence within us - kind of like an extension of Jesus Himself. Our Head directs us, and we act on His strength and authority.
Jesus has now fully moved in to establishing his church on earth. If He is commited to giving us the keys and the authority then we must examine our commitment to His lordship, and how fully we really obey Him.
#3 In our relationship with Jesus we are to express what?
We are to express as a response to His lordship the kingdom He has made. We are to be the living church. We are to be the kingdom here on earth. We bind and loose as we affirm the forgiveness of sin but on Christ’ authority not our own.
Who we are called to be and who we are often is in contrast to how we are living. Knowing that we are citizens of the kingdom we may feel a bit of guilt and unworthiness. Guilt and unworthiness is not what Jesus wants for us. Instead the gap between our present life and our calling is meant to help us sense the joyful call He places on us. he invites us to come after Him.
#4 What did Jesus mean when He said “whoever loses his life for Me will find it”?
When we choose to turn from ourselves as sinful people we are giving up the old self of shame and guilt for the new self - the new life that Jesus yearns for us to have.
Jesus calls us to follow Him and at the end of this chapter He tells us what is required: self-denial, daily cross bearing, follow Him and keep close to me.
#5 Which part of these instructions do you struggle with? What can you do to progress through this?
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