Are you serving God’s interests or man’s?

Matthew 16:13-28

Jerry A Collins




²                 What is the most important question we can ever ask?

²                 How can we set our mind’s on God’s interests?

²                 What does denying myself and taking up my cross mean?


A good way to determine whether a ministry is legitimate or not is how  the person and work of Jesus Christ is viewed in that ministry. God is very interested in that confession because His interests are bound up in the interests of His Son. Jesus Christ is of supreme value and His person and work as revealed in the Bible is the ultimate test of legitimacy for any work using His name. God takes this very seriously. Jesus was a bone of contention in His day and who he was and what He did caused the often sharp disagreements between His contemporaries. So Jesus is a watershed. What you say about Him and what you believe about Him matters. Jesus Himself even brought up this potential bone of contention about Him by asking His own disciples what they thought about Him.

Observation: 16:13-20


1. This section marks the transition To Jesus beginning of His private ministry to the twelve disciples vs 21 from that time. This was the same phrase used in Mt 4:17 that marked the beginning of His public ministry to the Jews. The first phase was primarily public with some private instruction. This phase will be private with some occasional public instruction.

2. There is also a clear connection between Jesus and His ministry with the disciples that launches this more private based ministry.  In vs 12 He asks His disciples a question. In vs 20 He warns His disciples to safeguard His ministry. In vs 21 He began to show His disciples the necessity for His death. In vs 24 He teaches (says) His disciples the path of discipleship. So we have the basic ingredients of a discipleship ministry revealed to us: (1) A discipler makes sure his disciple is engaged in learning not just acquiring information. (2) A discipler is concerned that his disciple comprehend the true nature of Jesus’ ministry not what people’s expectations of that ministry are. (3) A discipler is determined that his disciple is interested in the same things God is interested in not what the prevailing religious interests may be. (4) A discipler is committed to his disciple pursuing heavenly profit through denying and cross bearing not earthly profit or prosperity.

Question about Jesus identity 13-16

This takes place in Caesarea Philippi near the base of Mt Herman up in the north. This is like a retreat with Jesus and His disciples. Jesus wanted to know who people thought He was—possibly because of changing opinions about Jesus through influence of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Son of man had messianic use in Daniel and used of a prophet in Ezekiel so both ideas could be here. Some thought He was John come back form the dead; or a forerunner to coming messiah, Elijah; or prophet of doom as Jeremiah. This indicates that no group was openly confessing Jesus was Messiah and some who may have thought so still had enough misgivings to avoid open confession. Interesting since Jesus ministry spoke volumes all by itself. Jesus makes the question more personal in vs 15. The wording is such that Jesus was asking the whole group of disciples this question. Peter’s response is on behalf of all of them not just himself vs 16. Peter’s confession was direct—He was convinced that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the coming King, deliverer of His people. Later on this description of Jesus would be filled with more meaning for Him. Jesus would be the same as the Father.

Teaching Jesus mission 17-19  In Mt 11:25 Jesus said the Father had been revealing the Son and now we learn that Peter had gotten that message vs 17. In spite of the leaven of the Pharisees—their teachings—Peter had got it right. With the confusion and false teaching about Jesus prevalent in the land, the procedure the Father and the Son planned, had worked—no one could know the Father or the Son unless it was revealed to them and that procedure included all the authenticating signs, received by Peter and apprehended by faith. Jesus expresses that Peter—either his confession of Christ or more likely his role as an apostle—will be the basis upon which Christ will build his church vs 18. This building includes all the ministry of all of the apostles—their teaching, writing of scriptures, establishing and affirming the Church—were all necessary ways Christ began to build His church. There is no apostolic succession or papal infallibility or any kind of authority for successors to Peter. Jesus says He will build His church but Paul and the apostles build it (1 Cor 3:10). Jesus is the foundation of the church (1 Cor 3:11) but the apostles and prophets also the foundation (Eph 2:19-20; Rev 21:14). Peter has the keys here vs 19 but in Rev 1:18; 3:7 Jesus has them. So we learn Jesus is the builder, the foundation will be the apostles, Peter made the confession so is first among equals with these privileges. He can bind and loose on earth and in heaven with these keys meaning that he has the power to admit or exclude people. The idea being Peter, by proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, as he did in Acts (Peter brought the church to the Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles), would open or shut that kingdom to people. The key of knowledge had been taken away from the people by religious elite Jesus said. But Jesus was going to build His church through this proclamation and some would be alienated and others included by it. As long as Peter preached the true gospel he would be binding and loosing what had been bound and loosed in heaven and would be using the keys to the kingdom properly not as the Pharisees. So when we preach the gospel today it appears that it brings some into the kingdom and repels others. In proclaiming the good news the people of Christ will make it clear how others can enter in to the kingdom but we will also make it clear what will exclude them too. So Jesus forbids publicity since He wanted people to come by faith as Peter had not sensationalism without repentance.

Observation: 16:21-28


Jesus foretells his death 21-23 (1) He must go to Jerusalem. Right now he is as far as possible but shows voluntary nature and timing. (2) He must suffer many things because of unbelief and rejection—opposite of Peter. (3) He must be killed—word for murder—unsettling. (4) He must be raised in victory and triumph. Peter does not like this and repeatedly says no. Jesus gives a rebuke of His own—before Peter spoke from God vs 17 now he speaks from Satan vs 23. Satan’s goal in the temptations was to keep Christ from the cross. This whole mindset comes from not setting his mind on God’s interests but on man’s—not heavenly or above but earthly or below. This is how to discern if an activity is of God or Satan—look at it’s realm. It’s how we test the spirits. Apply this to counseling advice, conflict resolutions, music, forms of worship—it is serving God’s interests or man’s?

Path of discipleship 24-28 (1) Deny yourself—that is the basic rite of passage to discipleship. (2) Take up your cross—that is your life situation at the moment. (3) Follow me—that is obey my commands. (4) Lose your life for my sake—that is give up your comfort, recognition whenever required. The purpose is for profit vs 26. Place your value in the kingdom and Jesus return 27. Vs 28 refers to the Transfiguration in Chp 17.

1. Everything we do today is based on the work and teachings of the apostles commissioned by Christ inspired by HS.

2. Live for eternal profit by choosing daily, hourly, to follow the path of discipleship.