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Monday, April 23, 2012

Bible Study - verse by verse # 45

Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducee's demanded a sign from heaven. They tried to explain away Jesus' other miracles as slight of hand, coincidence, or use of evil powers, but they believed that only God could do a sign in the sky. This, they were sure, would be a feat beyond Jesus' power. Although Jesus could have easily impressed them, He refused. He knew that even a miracle in the sky would not convince them He was the Messiah because they had already decided not to believe in Him.

Matthew 16:4 Many people, like these Jewish leaders, say they want to see a miracle so that they can believe. But Jesus knew that miracles never convince the skeptical. Jesus had been healing, raising people from the dead, and feeding thousands, and still people wanted Him to prove Himself. Do you doubt Christ because you haven't seen a miracle? Do you expect God to prove Himself to you personally before you believe? Jesus says, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29). We have all the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testaments, 2,000 years of church history, and the witness of thousands. With all this evidence, those who won't believe are either too proud or too stubborn. If you simply step forward in faith and believe, then you will begin to see the miracles that God can do with your life!

Matthew 16:13-17 The disciples answered Jesus' question with the common view - that Jesus was one of the great prophets come back to life. This belief may have stemmed from Deuteronomy 18:18, where God said He would raise up a prophet from among the people. Peter, however, confessed Jesus as divine and as the promised and long-awaited Messiah. If Jesus were to ask you this question, how would you answer? Is He your Lord and Messiah?

Matthew 16:18 The rock on which Jesus would build His church has been identified as: 1. Jesus Himself; 2. Peter; 3. the confession of faith that Peter gave and that all subsequent true believers would give. It seems most likely that the rock refers to Peter as the leader of the church (for his function, not necessarily his character). Just as Peter had revealed the true identity of Christ, so Jesus revealed Peter's identity and role. Later, Peter reminds Christians that they are the church built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus as the cornerstone (1 Peter 2:4-6). All believers are joined into this church by faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour, the same faith that Peter expressed here (see also Ephesians 2:20, 21). Jesus praised Peter for his confession of faith. It is faith like Peter's that is the foundation of Christ's kingdom.

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