Matthew Chapter 16
Chapter 16 is a pivotal chapter in the Gospel of Matthew. It is here that we meet head-on with the opposition – the Pharisees and Sadducees, the “Gates of Hell,” and Satan, himself. It is also here that we meet with the glorious revelation of the identity of Jesus Christ and discover that the enemies of Christ are defeated not by sheer force or power from man, but rather through the cross.
It is ironic that the Sadducees and Pharisees are approaching Jesus together. The Pharisees believe in the supernatural; the Sadducees do not. All of that for the Sadducees had “ceased.” What this crowd had in common was their opposition toward Jesus. Jesus will give them only the sign of Jonah. They can’t even read the signs and miracles that are right in front of them in the ministry of Jesus.
As we proceed in this chapter, the layers are taken away and the true opposer, Satan, is revealed. Jesus takes his disciples right into what is called the “Gates of Hell.” It is here that many idols have been worshiped through the ages. It is also here that hell’s gates are shaken as those words of revelation come from the mouth of Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” This not only turns the page in Matthew’s Gospel and points toward Calvary; this turns hell, itself upside down.
Jesus tells Peter that it is upon this rock – not Peter (petros – a small pebble) but upon the rock (petra – a solid, immovable rock) of revelation of who Jesus is that he would build his church, and hell would not defeat it. The cross is the point of pivot, the place of victory! Where does the cross need to be applied to our lives today?