Being able to tell the weather is pretty useful – Matthew 16 has a version of “Red Sky at Night shepherd’s delight, red sky in the morning shepherd’s warning” – but the Pharisees are now characterised to be blind to belief. They may have insight into the weather but they have no insight into the kingdom breaking in.
They liked the signs but without obeying the God who gives them. Two enemies the Pharisees and Saducees come together against Jesus. They will see no sign except the sign of Jonah. The Saducees didn’t believe in resurrection, so they wont see that or the other sign of Jonah that repentance leads to forgiveness.
In the action of Matthew 16:13-20 Peter gets it!
He receives the revelation that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God. That’s remarkable and it only comes by revelation
Where it happened – a thoroughly pagan area, with a white marble temple on the hill to the Emperor. That’s the place where Jesus reveals himself. Multi-faith belief was as popular then as it is now and as dangerous. Jesus directly challenges that – he is the only way to the Father.
The titles are special too!
“Son of man” is a form of Aramaic speech for I – it can mean nothing or everything
“Messiah” (Christ) The anointed one – so associated with Jesus it acts as His surname!
“Son of the living God” – far more than the crowds who have associated Jesus as one of the end time figures. Peter seems him as God’s final self disclosure.
Only God can reveal god and God has revealed it to Peter
In the next section Matthew 16:21-28 Peter forgets it or at least misses it
Jesus is the Messiah – through suffering. He has to die and Peter doesn’t like that – where’s the political deliverance? the glorious future?
Michael Green’s excellent Bible Speaks Today Matthew of five things to remember from Matthew 16
1) Have to choose between the world religions and Jesus
2) Called to publicly confess what God has revealed to us about Jesus
3) Constantly tempted to be like the Pharisees who put Jesus into a box of what he should be
4) Following Jesus = a battle
5) Costly to follow him – suffering, taking up a cross
Are you up for it?