Matthew 16

Leaders Demand a Miraculous Sign

 1 One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.

 2 He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; 3 red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times![a] 4 Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.[b] Then Jesus left them and went away.

Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

 5 Later, after they crossed to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring any bread. 6 “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

 7 At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. 8 Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread? 9 Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? 10 Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up? 11 Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’”

 12 Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Jesus, You scold Your disciples for thinking of earthly problems like bread.  I’m very worried about bread right now.  I know it is a sin to worry.  I know I am wrong.  But I need help Lord.  Rescue me.  Help me to trust You, not my “bread”.  I’m scared Lord.  Give me faith.

Jesus, I don’t know who the Pharisees are in my life.  Am I a Pharisee in someone else’s life?  What teachings do I need to watch out for?  I know I can be a hypocrite Lord.  I speak of kindness, and then can be a grouch.  But Lord, show me if I am following a false teacher, and keep me from teaching anyone anything but Your love.      

Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

 13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”[c]

 14 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”

 15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah,[d] the Son of the living God.”

 17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John,[e] because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’),[f] and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell[g] will not conquer it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid[h] on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit[i] on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

 20 Then he sternly warned the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Jesus, Who do I say that You are?  First, I must admit, I almost never talk about You.  It is amazing now that I think about it.  In my day to day life, I simply don’t talk about You much.  That is a shame because I’m sure there are a lot of people I meet who need to know You.

Who are You to me?  You are my only hope.  No one here on earth thinks much of me.  I’ve sinned so much, I could never be “good” of all my actins were weighed out on a scale.  You are the living God, creator of all the universe, who for some unknown reason loves me.  You are great and glorious, and wise beyond compare…and did I mention that I know You love me, but I don’t know why? 

Keep me Lord.  I’m weak.   I can be a fool and fall.  I love You, but not like You love me.  Please keep me in You love.  Change me so I speak boldly and lovingly of You.  Help me say who You are to everyone I know.  And help me to know You so much better, because I am sure I only know a minute fraction of who You are.  Change me Lord.  Change me.        

Jesus Predicts His Death

 21 From then on Jesus[j] began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.

 22 But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him[k] for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”

 23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Jesus, obviously there is a huge difference between God’s point of view (Your way) and humanity’s point of view (my way).  I read this and what Peter did seems nice and good, and You call him Satan.  Yet I am sure most of my actions are human in nature, which explains why I am so sinful.  Right now I’m feeling like I am only capable of human mistakes and sin.  I’m a little short on hope for any good to come out of me.

Jesus, what is Your way, that is so different?  You were telling them about Your death and resurrection.  Your way is sacrificing for others.  Your way is serving others.  Your way is being rejected by this world.  Your way is death to this life, but living forever.

Jesus, help me to sacrifice for others.  Help me to stop being self-centered.  Help me to die to the cares of this world and live with You.  Help me to change Lord.  Help me change.        

 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?[l] Is anything worth more than your soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. 28 And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

Jesus, what are my selfish ways?  What is my cross?  How can I get rid of my life?  My life here is awful.  I will gladly throw that away.  My family is constantly fighting.  I have disappointed my wife and my children beyond belief.  They are all miserable.  My work is crumbling.  How do I throw this life away?  How do I gain Your life for myself and my family? 

I want peace.  Perhaps that is my selfish way.  It is what I want, but I don’t know if that is what You want, or my family wants.  I don’t think anyone else wants peace.  My wife wants absolute obedience, from me and the children.  My children want some freedom and recognition of their good work.  What do You want God?

No one is living Your life, especially not me.  I’m completely lost.  My whole family is drowning Lord, and I don’t know what to do.  Help.     


  1. Matthew 16:3 Several manuscripts do not include any of the words in 16:2-3 after He replied.
  2. Matthew 16:4 Greek the sign of Jonah.
  3. Matthew 16:13 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
  4. Matthew 16:16 Or the Christ. Messiah (a Hebrew term) and Christ (a Greek term) both mean “the anointed one.”
  5. Matthew 16:17 Greek Simon bar-Jonah; see John 1:42; 21:15-17.
  6. Matthew 16:18 Greek that you are Peter.
  7. Matthew 16:18 Greek and the gates of Hades.
  8. Matthew 16:19 Or bind, or lock.
  9. Matthew 16:19 Or loose, or open.
  10. Matthew 16:21 Some manuscripts read Jesus the Messiah.
  11. Matthew 16:22 Or began to correct him.
  12. Matthew 16:26 Or your self? also in 16:26b.