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Matthew Chapter Sixteen


I. Content of the Chapter


Spiritual Revelations

I.  The obstruction of heavenly revelations:

A. False pursuit ------they asked for a sign (v.1-4).

B. Slow understanding of hearts------they did not know the Lord’s words or remember His deeds (v.5-12).

II. The procedure of heavenly revelations:

A. Know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (v.13-17).

B. Know the edification and authority of the church (v.18-20).

C. Know that the way of cross is the way to be glorified (v.21-28).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Matt. 16:1 “Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.

   YLT: “And the Pharisees and Sadducees having come, tempting, did question him, to shew to them a sign from the heaven,”

   Meaning of Words: “sign”: indication.

   The Background: “the Pharisees” originally were a group of people who loved the country and were pious to God. Because the chief priest Simon was not for God, they separated from the Maccabean Party and therefore their rivals called them “the Pharisees” (it means “separation”). They tried their best to keep the Law and traditions and made themselves higher than common people. Therefore the word Pharisees became their religious aim. Because they stressed on the Law, gradually they inclined to appearance instead of the reality. They prayed on the crossing, enlarged the borders and looked up at heaven least they may see women. They were strict to others and obstinately clung to regulations. However their hearts were still corruptible and therefore later generations explained “the Pharisees” as “hypocrites”.

  “Sadducees” were the name of the High Priest Zadok in the age of Solomon. The latter generations called their party with this name. They opposed the behaviors of the Pharisees who only stressed on fervency and neglected morality. They stressed on moral behaviors and inclined to another extreme: they stressed on behaviors and neglected faith. They only received the Pentateuch and did not receive prophets or tradition. Therefore they did not believe in devils, angels, resurrection and other truths and they were indifferent to the kingdom of Messiah. They had high positions in politics and were rich. Annas the high priest and Caiaphas were Sadducees. They were the Pharisees’ rival. Moreover, they were the most vicious power against the assembly.  

   Literal Meaning: “came, and testing Him” “testing” shows their unbelief towards the Lord.

  “Asked that He would show them a sign from heaven”: they wanted Him to prove that He was sent from God through signs.

   Spiritual Meaning: “the Pharisees” could symbolize conservative fundamentalism in Christianity. “Sadducees” symbolizes futuristic Liberalism in Christianity.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Pharisees and Sadducees were originally incompatible as fire and water. Now they actually associated together to come to tempt Jesus, showing that those who did not know the Lord did not have any principle.

2) Religious believers stressed on outward phenomenon and marks (“signs”) and neglected the inner connotation and reality. 


Matt. 16:2 “He answered and said to them, When it is evening you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red';

   YLT: “and he answering said to them, `Evening having come, ye say, Fair weather, for the heaven is red,”


Matt. 16:3 “and in the morning, It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.

   YLT: “and at morning, Foul weather to-day, for the heaven is red gloomy; hypocrites, the face of the heavens indeed ye do know to discern, but the signs of the times ye are not able!”

   Literal Meaning: “the face of the sky”: the appearance of the sky.

  “The signs of the times” indicates that the indications manifested in the times shows that it was wicked and adulterous and its only need is Jesus who had died and had risen again (See v.4).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Natural men only know to discern natural signs (“the face of the sky”) and couldn’t discern spiritual signs (“the sings of the times”) because they do not have spiritual sights (See 1Cor. 2:10-15).

2) On the spiritual way, sometimes it is “fair weather” (v.2) ------everything is peaceful and all right and it is full of the Lord’s presence and blessing. Sometimes it is “foul weather” ------Satan stirs up trouble and we continuously encounter ailments and sufferings. However we have to hold fast Christ anyhow.


Matt. 16:4 “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. And He left them and departed.

   YLT: “`A generation evil and adulterous doth seek a sign, and a sign shall not be given to it, except the sign of Jonah the prophet; `and having left them he went away.”

   Meaning of Words: “left”: to give up, to abandon, and to go off in a huff.

   The Background: “the sign of the prophet Jonah”: Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and nights (Jon. 1:17) and then was vomited out by the fish and survived (Jon. 2:10).

Literal Meaning: “a wicked and adulterous generation,” “wicked” indicates the inner corruptible disposition; “adulterous” indicates the outward corruptible behaviors; “generation” indicates the age at the moment.

   Spiritual Meaning: “a wicked and adulterous generation,” “wicked”: “backsliding”, “faithless” (See Hos. 4:12).

  “The sign of the prophet Jonah” typifies that the Lord was buried after His death and then rose the third day. Only Christ who had died and risen again is the greatest sign shown to men from God and Christ is also the greatest salvation given by God to men.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord Himself is the sign of this generation. Only Christ who had died and had risen again is able to solve the problems of this corruptible and disorderly generation.

2) “And He left them and departed.” The wrong pursuit and uninitiated pursuit (asking for signs) contrarily obstructed them to receive revelations. Any pursuit that is not with the aim of Christ is vain and fruitless.

3) Religious believers did not think good to have God in knowledge (See Rom. 1:28) and therefore the Lord abandoned them.


Matt. 16:5 “Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.

   YLT: “And his disciples having come to the other side, forgot to take loaves,”


Matt. 16:6 “Then Jesus said to them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.’”

   YLT: “and Jesus said to them, `Beware, and take heed of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees;’”

        Literal Meaning: “take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” “Leaven” is the unicellular thallus which is able to make bread to ferment and bread that has been fermented becomes more delicious. 

   Spiritual Meaning: “take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” “Leaven” indicates evil things (See Exod. 12:20, 1Cor. 5:7-8) and evil teachings (See v.12, Gal. 5:8-9).

   Enlightenment in the Word: “leaven” is hidden in bread and makes the bread more delicious. Today in Christianity, many teachings of men which are covered by God’s words (bread) seem to be helpful and easy to be accepted. But actually they corrupt men who eat them and therefore we should beware of the leaven.


Matt. 16:7 “And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.’”

   YLT: “and they were reasoning in themselves, saying, `Because we took no loaves.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) It is a fact that the disciples had taken no bread (See v.5). Paying attention to subjective facts overly will make men misunderstand God’s words.

2) The Lord talked about spiritual things (See v.6) and the disciples thought about material things. If men’s spiritual understanding has not been opened (See Luke. 24:45), they still live in earthly realm and are unable to understand the Lord’s words.

3) Material concepts and earthly cares usually are the shadow of spiritual understanding.


Matt. 16:8 “But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?

   YLT: “And Jesus having known, said to them, `Why reason ye in yourselves, ye of little faith, because ye took no loaves?”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord has perspective sight and He is God who knows men’s reins and hearts.

2) “Men of little faith” walk by sight, not by faith (See 1Cor. 5:7).


Matt. 16:9 “Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up?

   YLT: “do ye not yet understand, nor remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many hand-baskets ye took up?”

   Literal Meaning: please see Matt. 14:13-21.


Matt. 16:10 “Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up?

   YLT: “nor the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?”

   Literal Meaning: please see Matt. 15:32-39.

   Enlightenment in the Word: it is a great sign that the Lord had changed bread two times to feed several thousands of people. However, the disciples had forgotten it only after several days. It shows that it is not helpful for men to know Christ by seeking charismatic and stressing on signs and wonders.


Matt. 16:11 “How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?--but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’”

   YLT: “how do ye not understand that I did not speak to you of bread to take heed of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees?’”

   Enlightenment in the Word: in spiritual things, we are always like the disciples who called bread the leaven, called a stag a horse and were deceived by backsliders because they lacked spiritual discernment (See Rom. 16:17-18, Eph. 4:14).


Matt. 16:12 “Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

   YLT: “Then they understood that he did not say to take heed of the leaven of the bread, but of the teaching, of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

   Literal Meaning: “of the doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” “Doctrine of the Pharisees” indicates to pay attention to external forms, hypocrisy, affectation, and gaining false reputation of piety; “doctrine of the Sadducees” indicates to study religious philosophy but not to believe in God’s power of resurrection.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Any doctrine that misleads men to “have a form of piety but deny the power of it” (2Tim. 3:5) is the doctrine of the Pharisees.

2) The Liberalism boosts Christ’s philanthropy and does not believe that He is the Son of God and the Savior who had died and had risen again. This kind of doctrine is the doctrine of the Sadducees.

3) Wrong doctrines will become the veils on men’s face to lift themselves up against the knowledge of God (See 2Cor. 3: 13-16).


Matt. 16:13 “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’”

   YLT: “And Jesus, having come to the parts of Cesarea Philippi, was asking his disciples, saying, `Who do men say me to be the Son of Man?’”

   Literal Meaning: “came into the region of Caesarea Philippi.” It is located on the north of the Sea of Galilee, near to the roots of the Mount Hermon. Heresy is featured strongly in this place.

  “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” The Lord called Himself “the Son of Man”. This appellation shows that: 1) though He is God, He is genuinely a “man” when He is manifested before men; 2) He was rejected by the Jews.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “Caesarea Philippi” is the place far away from religious atmosphere and sphere. The Lord specially brought the disciples there to ask them this personal and important question because traditional religious knowledge and concepts always deceive men and make it difficult for them to receive spiritual revelations.

2) Knowing Jesus Christ is the access to spiritual realm. Anyone who does not know Jesus Christ will not partake in the assembly and the kingdom of heaven.


Matt. 16:14 “So they said, Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’”

   YLT: “and they said, `Some, John the Baptist, and others, Elijah, and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.’”

   Literal Meaning: the testimony of life is the feature of “John the Baptist” (See Matt. 3:4); being jealous for God is the feature of “Elijah” (See 1Kings. 19:14); lamenting for God’s people is the feature of “Jeremiah” (See Lam.); “one of the prophets,” the feature of “prophets” is to speak for God.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah and prophets were all servants used by God and all spoke for God. Many aspects of them were like Christ. However, they were not Christ. Men are unable to know Christ completely without revelations.

2) Even the disciple who were with the Lord all the day seemed not to know Christ clearly. Those who speak Christ with their mouth may not truly know Christ.


Matt. 16:15 “He said to them, But who do you say that I am?’”

   YLT: “He saith to them, ‘And ye who do ye say me to be?’”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The hearsay and secondhand knowledge (“some say”) do not count. Only the personal and firsthand knowledge (“do you say”) counts. What’s important is whether we have true knowledge of the Lord.

2) Knowing the Lord is the starting point for men to forsake everything and pursue and obtain Christ (See Pill. 3:8-12).


Matt. 16:16 “Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”

   YLT: “and Simon Peter answering said, `Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”

   Literal Meaning: “you are the Christ,” “Christ” means the anointed one (Dan. 9:26) and this is the Lord’s administration from God. God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and sent Him into the world to fulfill His mission (See Luke. 4:18-19).

  “The Son of the living God,” “the Son” bears resemblance to the image of His father and therefore “the Son of God” indicates that He is the manifestation and declaration of God (See John. 1:18). Here it shows the Lord’s identity.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) There are two aspects of the knowledge of Christ------the administration and identity; both aspects of the knowledge are indispensable

2) Only believing in Him is not enough, one has to confess Him with his mouth (See Rom. 10:9-10). The Lord likes us to declare that: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

3) What we need is “the Son of the living God” instead of the dead words and reasons.


Matt. 16:17 “Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

   YLT: “And Jesus answering said to him, `Happy art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood did not reveal [it] to thee, but my Father who is in the heavens.”

   Meaning of Words: “Simon”: listener; “Bar-Jonah”: the son of Jonah, the son of the dove.

   Literal Meaning: “for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,” means that “for neither did I receive them from men, neither was I taught” (Gal. 1:12).

   Spiritual Meaning: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah,” The Lord here called Peter the name “Simon Bar-Jonah”, indicating that he was able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit (the dove), i.e. the revelation of the Holy Spirit and therefore he was blessed.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Knowing that Jesus is Christ is not a small thing and it is blessed.

2) No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 12:3).

3) The Father’s communion and revelation through the Holy Spirit are the root for men to truly know Christ (See John. 16:13); our knowledge of the Lord is that the Father has revealed His son in us (See Gal. 1:16) through the interpretation of the Holy Spirit (See Eph. 1:17)

4) Except that Christianity is revealed by God, all religions in the world are of men because they are made by the indication of the flesh and blood to the flesh and blood by imagining a way to worship and please God


Matt. 16:18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

   YLT: “`And I also say to thee, that thou art a rock, and upon this rock I will build my assembly, and gates of Hades shall not prevail against it;”

   Meaning of Words: “Peter”: petros; “church”: a calling out, assembly; “rock”: petra;

   The Background: “gates of Hades” In ancient times, the broad places of the gates were the gathering for the public and were also the places for judgment where officers sat in the gates. Therefore “the gates” represents the authority.

   Literal Meaning: “on this rock I will build My church” implies that:

  1) “I” shows that only the Lord Himself instead of anyone else is able to build the church. This also shows that the building of the church is after the death and resurrection of the Lord.

  2) “My church” shows that the church is not of anyone but the Lord Himself. Please note that in the four Gospels, “the church” was only mentioned two times in the book of Matthew (v.16 and Matt. 18:17). Matt. 16 means the universal church and Matt. 18 means the local church.

  3) “On this rock” shows that the foundation of the church is not Peter the “stone”, but the “rock” which Peter had confessed (See 1Cor. 10:4, 3:11, 1Pet. 2: 7-8); in other words, “rock” indicates Peter’s confession of faith towards Christ because of his revelation from God and therefore it indicates “the teaching of the apostles” (See Eph. 2:20, Acts. 2:42).

  “The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” “Hades” are the destination for men’s souls after the death (See Job. 24:19). Here it indicates the power of darkness which rules death (See Rev. 6:8, 20:14).

   Controversial Clarification: Roman Catholic misused this verse, considering that the church should be built on Peter the rock, and regarded Peter as the first pope. Then they advocated “Papal infallibility” and the church had to keep the will of the pope, otherwise it was to demolish the building of the church. Any Christian with conscience must not agree with this statement. (Note that Peter himself had made mistakes, pleas see Gal. 2:11-16).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord saved us in order that we, dust of ground (Gen. 2:7) may be transformed into living stones (the meaning of Peter), the material to build the church (See 1Pet. 2:5).

2) The church is built on the foundation------the true knowledge of Christ. Any idea, concept, way and reason that are of men are not the church but the meetings of men and man-made organizations.

3) “The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The life of resurrection that believers have received after they were born from above cannot be closed by death. Only relying on this life will we prevail against the gates of Hades.

4) A believer alone may be harmed by the power of darkness and therefore in spiritual conflicts, if we want to be protected, we have to be united to the body of Christ and do not leave the church.

5) What the Hades fear most is “the church that has been built up”. We have to edify the body of Christ unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (See Eph. 4:12-13). In this way, we are accounted the invincible and successful spiritual soldiers (See Eph. 6:10-17).

6) The Father revealed Christ and Christ revealed the church. Only those who have received the revelation by the Father’s mercy are able to know Christ. And only those who know Christ are able to truly know the church.

7) Knowing Christ without the Father’s revelation must be of mind, letters and words. Without Christ’s revelation it is dangerous and disorderly for someone to deal with the problems of the church.


Matt. 16:19 “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’”

   YLT: “and I will give to thee the keys of the reign of the heavens, and whatever thou mayest bind upon the earth shall be having been bound in the heavens, and whatever thou mayest loose upon the earth shall be having been loosed in the heavens.’”

   Meaning of Words: “bound”: impose sanction against, declare to forbid (legal terms); “loose”: release the punishment, declare to permit (legal terms).

   Literal Meaning: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heavens,” “keys” symbolize the authority; “you”: Peter. The entrusting of keys was fulfilled on the Pentecost (See Acts. 2:38-42) and in the house of Cornelius (See Acts. 10:34-48). Peter had opened the door of the kingdom of heaven for the Jewish and Gentile believers respectively.

  “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” According to the original, the Lord did not give men the rights to condemn whether it is guilty or not. The Lord gave men heavenly sight and enabled men to declare the heavenly judgments. Moreover, according to the context, here it was spoken for the authority and power of the glad tidings.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Only those who truly know Christ and the church are able to hold “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” so as to open the heavenly abundance for men and bring down heavenly blessing.

2) To anyone who truly knows Christ and the church, his deeds accord with heavenly deeds and therefore he has the authority to bind and loose.

3) The true spiritual authority comes from revelations------revelations bring in knowledge, knowledge brings in edification, and edification brings in authority.


Matt. 16:20 “Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

   YLT: “Then did he charge his disciples that they may say to no one that he is Jesus the Christ.”

   Literal Meaning: because the Jews had wrong concepts towards “Christ” (the Messiah). They thought that the coming Messiah is the salvation of the race and He would lead the Jews to rebel the domination of the different race to build a kingdom of peace of the Jews. Therefore if they had publicized that “He is Christ”, it is of no help to His work of salvation and it may cause trouble.

   Enlightenment in the Word: natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to Him (See 1Cor. 2:14) and therefore we should not tell the experience and things of the Spirit of God to others randomly (See Matt. 7:6).


Matt. 16:21 “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

   YLT: “From that time began Jesus to shew to his disciples that it is necessary for him to go away to Jerusalem, and to suffer many things from the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and to be put to death, and the third day to rise.”

   Literal Meaning: “from that time” indicates the time after God had revealed Christ and Christ had revealed the church (See v.16-19).

  “He must go to Jerusalem,” The Lord Jesus steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem to suffer many things and death. He did not have foolhardiness but to do the will of God and fulfill the work of salvation.

  “Suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes”: to be persecuted by the Jewish council. “The elders and chief priests” are the main members of the council.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) After the Lord had revealed that He would build His church (See v.18), then He mentioned His cross, showing us that the cross is the way to build the church.

2) One has to know Christ and the church first and then knows the cross. The lessons of the cross are effective and positive to someone only on the basis of the knowledge of Christ and the church.

3) The greatest cross of believers is not the trouble from unbelievers but from those who have position in the assembly and the knowledge of the Bible (“the elders and chief priests”) and the trouble is many-sided (“many things”).

4) After men have known Christ with His divinity, they have to know Christ who had redeemed men by death.


Matt. 16:22 “Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’”

   YLT: “And having taken him aside, Peter began to rebuke him, saying, `Be kind to thyself, sir; this shall not be to thee;’”

   Literal Meaning: “far be it from you”: “be kind to yourself” or “may God forbid” in original.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Peter, relying on his natural thoughts and feelings, dissuaded the Lord from the cross, showing that natural men do not know or receive the cross.

2) Obviously Peter only heard the word “suffer many things…and be killed” and did not hear the word “be raised the third day” (See v.21). He, representing the common people, made the mistake: he only paid attention to the negative words and neglected the positive words. Actually the latter was more important.


Matt. 16:23 “But He turned and said to Peter, Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’”

   YLT: “and he having turned, said to Peter, `Get thee behind me, adversary! thou art a stumbling-block to me, for thou dost not mind the things of God, but the things of men.’”

   Meaning of Words: “Satan”: the adversary, the accuser; “offense”: stumbling block, obstacle, snare, trap; “mindful”: to interest oneself in (with concern or obedience).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) One who has received God’s revelation (See v.17) has to be mindful of the things of God and do the will of God.

2) Anyone who thinks on God is the one who is mindful of the things of God. Only when someone thinks on God will he be mindful of the things of God.

3) Once Peter was not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men, he became “Satan”. It shows that things of men oppose (the meaning of Satan) the will of God and block (“an offense to Me”) the Lord to build His church.

4) Being mindful of the things of God, but the things of men is to concern men’s gain and lose, but to sacrifice God’s profit.

5) Satan is good at utilizing the inclination of human nature to “seek ease and comfort and be afraid of sufferings” and makes men be its tools unconsciously.

6) Peter just said rightly and for a short while he said wrongly. It shows that even if someone has received many revelations and is of spiritual, once he is carless, he may be utilized by Satan.

7) Anyone who knows Christ is “blessed”. However, once someone rejects the cross, he becomes “Satan” immediately. Here it shows that we need to not only know Christ, but also know the cross (See 1Cor. 2:2). Anything that holds someone back from taking his cross is of Satan.

8) Not only the serpent (which deceives men to commit sins) is Satan, but also the natural love of men who do not understand the will of God and things of men are Satan.

9) Once the enemy wants to usurp the worship that God deserves, the Lord said immediately: “Get behind me, Satan!” (See Matt. 4:8-10). Once the enemy wants to hold up things of men and overshadow the will of God, the Lord also said promptly: “Get behind me, Satan!” The reason why it is called Satan is that it opposes God in these two things.

10) The greatest aim of Christ’s coming into the world is to fulfill the salvation on the cross. Anyone who attempts to hold the Lord back from fulfilling the salvation is of one mind with Satan and he will be rebuked by the Lord.


Matt. 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

   YLT: “Then said Jesus to his disciples, `If any one doth will to come after me, let him disown himself, and take up his cross, and follow me,”

   Literal Meaning:  “let him deny himself,” “deny”: disown, abstain. It means that not only denying the connection but also breaking off the connection.

  “Take up his cross” There are two kinds of crosses: 1) Christ’s cross------it is for atonement (1Pet. 2:24); 2) the individual cross of believers (his cross) ------it is for one to be crucified with the Lord (Rom. 6:6). The cross includes three aspects: suffering many things, being killed and being raised. Unfortunately, common believers only know and experience the aspect of suffering many things and lack the experience of being killed and being raised.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Our “selves” are the greatest trouble to block men to follow the Lord. Only when we have denied ourselves will we obey the Lord’s guidance unconditionally and walk on the way of the Lord.

2) The slogan of the cross is to “take away” (John. 19:15) and therefore taking up the cross is taking away, that is to deny oneself------being crucified to the world and to himself (Gal. 6:14).

3) If we want to follow the Lord, we have to deny ourselves. If we want to deny ourselves, we have to take our own crosses. The Lord has arranged different crosses for everyone and everyone has his own cross.


Matt. 16:25 “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

   YLT: “for whoever may will to save his life, shall lose it, and whoever may lose his life for my sake shall find it,”

   Meaning of Words: “loses”: die, miss, destroy.

   Literal Meaning: “life” is “soul” in original. It includes thought, feeling and will.

  This verse means that anyone who seeks comfort and ease in this time and satisfies his soul will suffer in the coming age and lose the enjoyment of soul. Anyone who suffers for the Lord’s sake will receive the enjoyment of soul in the coming age.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The one who wants to save actually loses and the one who wants to lose actually saves; the one who gains actually loses and the one who wants to lose actually gain (See v.26). The knowledge of this principle will save men from grudging eternally.

2) “Losing his life” in this verse is also “denying oneself” and “taking up his cross”; what the cross deals with finally is the self and the life of soul.

3) Taking up one’s cross and denying oneself always make the soul suffer. Anything that is unable to make the soul suffer could not be counted as the cross.


Matt. 16:26 “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

   YLT: “for what is a man profited if he may gain the whole world, but of his life suffer loss? or what shall a man give as an exchange for his life?”

   Literal Meaning: “loses his own soul” means death.

  If a man gains the whole world, he only let his soul have short enjoyment. If someone loses his won soul, his soul will suffer eternal losses. Everyone knows fairly well that which one is profitable in these two conditions.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The world is useful when men are alive. However, men are unable to exchange the world for life because life is more precious than the world.

2) This verse shows that “the world” is opposite to “life”. If someone loves the world, he will lose his life. Therefore we should not love the world and should treasure the life.


Matt. 16:27 “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

   YLT: “`For, the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father, with his messengers, and then he will reward each, according to his work.”

   Meaning of Words: “works”: deeds.

   Literal Meaning: “for” shows that because the Lord Jesus will come to command judgments in the glory, He does not consider His life and the enjoyment in this time.

  “According to his works” “works” are not sudden or accidental, but habitual deeds all one’s life. Therefore they will receive eternal recompense.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The reward in the kingdom of a thousand years is according to “his works” instead of the common identity when we were saved.

2) If believers want to know whether they have reward in future, they should consider their ways (See Hag. 1:5, 2Cor. 13:5).

3) If indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with Him (Rom. 8:17); however, if we enjoy the pleasure of sin, we will receive the recompense which is fit.

4) The order of the revelations in this chapter is: 1) Christ; 2) the church; 3) the cross; 4) the glory. Christ is the center of revelations; the church is the vessel to manifest Christ; the cross is the way to manifest Christ; glory is at the peak of manifesting Christ.

5) Only knowing Christ, edifying the church and walking on the way of cross will fully manifest Christ and it is the glory.


Matt. 16:28 “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.’”

   YLT: “Verily I say to you, there are certain of those standing here who shall not taste of death till they may see the Son of Man coming in his reign.’”

   Literal Meaning: “who shall not taste death” means “before the departure”.

  “The Son of Man coming in His kingdom” means when He comes in His kingdom (See Luke. 23:42).

  According to literal meaning, it is fulfilled in the experience of the Mountain Hermon (See Matt. 17:1-8).

   Enlightenment in the Word:                                          

1) The cross makes believers partake in the glory of the kingdom of heaven. If we are willing to take up the cross and deny ourselves to edify the church of the Lord, we will see the glory of the kingdom of heaven.

2) Though the overcoming believers will fully and completely taste the glory of the kingdom of heaven in the coming age, they have a foretaste of being glorified in this time.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Spiritual Revelations

I. The obstruction of revelations------the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees:

   A. Religious believers do not know the Lord:

       1. They only pay attention to the outward signs and makes (v.1).

       2. They are able to discern natural signs and unable to discern spiritual signs (v.2).

       3. Only Christ who had died and had risen again is able to solve the problems of this wicked and adulterous world (v.3).

   B. Teachings of men block men to know Christ:

       1. We should take heed and beware of teachings of men (v.5-7).

       2. We should walk by faith not by sight (v.8-10).

       3. What we should beware of is the hypocritical and practical teachings (v.11-12).

II. The Father revealed Christ:

A. Nobody could know Christ without revelations (v.13-14).

B. One is able to know Christ truly with revelations (v.15-17).

III. Christ revealed the church:

A. The church is built on the foundation of the knowledge of Christ (v.18a).

B. The power of darkness couldn’t prevail against the church that has been built up (v.18b-20).

C. The cross is the way to build the church:

   1. The cross is to suffer many things, be killed and be raised (v.21).

   2. Natural men do not know the preciousness of the cross (v.22).

   3. Satan utilizes things of men to block the Lord to build His church (v.23).

   4. If one is willing to partake in the Lord’s edification, he has to deny himself, take up his cross and follow the Lord (v.24).

   5. If someone is willing to take up his cross, deny himself so as to build the Lord’s church, he will be glorified with the Lord (v.25-28).


Be not Foolish, but Understanding What the Will of the Lord (Eph. 5:17)

I. The Pharisees and Sadducees were foolish------they knew to discern “the face of the sky” but could not discern “the signs of the times” (v.1-4).

II. The disciples were foolish------they did not understand the Lord’s words or remember the Lord’s deeds (v.5-12).

III. The Peter living in spirit was wise------he received God’s revelation and knew Christ truly (v.13-20).

IV. The Peter living in soul was foolish------he “was not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (v.21-28).


The Mystery of the Building of Assembly

I. The foundation of the building of the church------this rock------the faith Peter had declared: “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v.16-18b).

II. The origin of the faith of the church------flesh and blood has not revealed to you, but My Father who is in heaven (v.17).

III. The material to build the church------“you are Peter” (v.18a) ------living stones after someone has been born from above (See 1Pet. 2:5)

IV. The builder of the church------“I will build…” (v.18b) ------the Lord Himself.

V. The owner of the church------“My church”------it belongs to the Lord instead of anyone else.

VI. The authority of the church------“the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (v.19).


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren