October 6, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Monday after the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

Morning – Psalm 89, 1 Kings 21:11-22, James 4:13-5:11
Evening – Psalm 92, Job 28:12, Mt. 16:13

Commentary, Matthew 16:13-28

The question posed to the disciples is the most important question that can be asked to a human being.  “But whom say ye that I am?”  Peter’s answer is the only correct one, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  It is doubtful that Peter understood the full meaning of his words, but they did express the truth about Jesus’ being and identity.

“Son” does not mean Jesus began to exist at some point, having been born or created in some mysterious way.  Nor does it mean Jesus is a God, similar to, but entirely distinct from the Father. It means there is unity and harmony within God, who is one God in three Persons. It is impossible for human intelligence to understand this, and attempts to clarify it usually cause more problems than they solve.  Our Anglican Articles of Religion state it as clearly as can be done.

There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible.  And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Christ’s response to Peter has caused much conversation through the centuries.  Some claim Christ made Peter the human head of the Church.  But Bible does not seem to give Peter the treatment due to a person in such a position, nor does the Apostolic and post Apostolic Church.  More than 200 years must pass before the Bishop of Rome begins to find acceptance as head of the Church, which claim is quickly refuted by men like Cyprian.  In the latter half of the fourth century, Jerome refers to Peter as “Peter upon whom the Church was founded.”  But John Chrysostom, Jerome’s contemporary and Bishop of Constantinople states that the “rock” of Matthew 16:18 is the faith of Peter’s confession, not Peter himself.  Doubtless, the Lord referred to the men who would become His Apostles and founders of His Church.  The “rock,” then, included Peter’s faith, and the men who would be called upon to proclaim it.

The keys to the Kingdom are two.  First is the Gospel of Christ, second is Biblical faith.  These alone open the door of the Kingdom to any person.  The authority to bind and loose is the authority to preach the Gospel and proclaim that those who believe are loosed and those who disbelieve are bound in their sins.  This authority is delegated, rather than personal authority.  It is given to the Apostles as ambassadors of Christ.

Verses 22-28 show Jesus telling the disciples about His forthcoming death.  It is interesting that Peter now is called Satan and an offence to Christ.  This is because he insisted on telling Jesus how to be the Messiah.  He was instructing God on how to be God.  Christ turns the event into a time to instruct His followers how to be disciples.  They must take up their crosses and follow Him.  The world, which they wanted Him to give to them in a miraculous display of Messianic power, is worthless in comparison to their souls.  And it is the life of the soul Jesus came to give, not the life of worldly indulgence.

Seeing “the Son of man coming in his Kingdom” (vs. 28) refers to the beginning of the New Testament Church.  It is the era of fulfillment leading to and including the Return of Christ to reward every man according to his works.  Some of the disciples, though not Judas Iscariot, will live to see the inauguration of that Kingdom.  scripture and Commentary 

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