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Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament Schaff's NT Commentary
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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 16". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ scn/ matthew-16.html. 1879-90.
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 16". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://studylight.org/
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Matthew 16:1. And Sadducees. First mention of them, in antagonism to Christ. Opposed to each other, these two parties united against our Lord; opposition to the truth overbears other antagonisms. Extremes of error consistently meet in opposing our Lord’s people and cause.
Tempting, or ‘trying’ Him, putting Him to the proof. But He never responded to doubt and disbelief; only to faith. To accede to their wish, would foster their carnal hopes.
A sign from heaven. Comp. chap. Matthew 12:38. It was the common belief that visible signs from heaven would attend the Advent of the Messiah. Their request implied that the many mighty works He had already wrought were not of heavenly origin. ‘The Jews require a sign’ (1 Corinthians 1:22); formalism and self-righteousness tend to superstition.
In consequence of the opposition of Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem (chap. Matthew 15:1; Matthew 15:21), our Lord had withdrawn to heathen and unfrequented regions. On His return, He lands at a retired locality in Galilee; the Pharisees seek Him, on this occasion in company with the Sadducees, tempting Him again. He then withdraws to the eastern side of the sea (Matthew 16:5), not far from Bethsaida (Mark 8:22). The connection of events shows the reason for these repeated voyages, which seem purposeless to many readers. Galilee being almost completely closed to Him, it was time for the decided confessions (Matthew 16:13-20) and revelation (Matthew 16:21-28) which follow. On the way the unbelief and ignorance of the Twelve were manifested (Matthew 16:7 ff.); instruction was given them which would separate them more decidedly from the Jews (Matthew 16:6; Matthew 16:12). It is one of the Twelve that tells of their weakness at this important crisis. Our Lord visited Galilee but once more, and then to take leave of it (comp, chaps, Matthew 17:22; Matthew 19:1).
Matthew 16:2. When it is evening, ye say, Fair weather, etc. In answer to their demand for a ‘sign from heaven,’ our Lord cites two weather ‘signs,’ such as all men look for, ‘in the face of the heaven.’ These signs (cited, not given by our Lord) hold good in other regions. The design was to rebuke their carnal and sensuous expectations (see Matthew 16:3).
Matthew 16:3. Symbolical meaning (not to be pressed):
‘The red at even of the Old Testament betokened fair weather at hand. Similarly, the red sky at the commencement of the New Testament, indicated the storm about to descend upon Israel. But they were incapable of understanding either one or other of these signs.’ (Lange’s Comm.)
Ye can not. Not a question, but an assertion.
The signs of the times, i.e., the fulfilment of prophecy; the miracles performed before them, showing that the Messiah had come. The Jews, with the promise of the Messiah, ought to have been as quick in discerning the signs of His coming, as those of the weather. Proverbially so keen to discern the signs of the times as affecting trade, etc., they have always shown lack of spiritual discernment. But all men are naturally slow in discovering the spiritual significance of passing events.
Matthew 16:4. Comp. chap. Matthew 12:39 (exactly the same words). The audience may have been in part the same, hence no explanation is added here.
And he left them and departed. Abruptly it would seem. As events proved, He now gave them up to their blindness, but with pain at their unbelief. See on Mark 8:12: ‘And he sighed deeply in his spirit.’
Matthew 16:5. And the disciples coming to the other side. To the eastern shore. It is improbable that this conversation took place during the voyage (see below).
Forgot to take bread. Provisions were not indispensable for so short a voyage. The original suggests that the neglect occurred after they landed. They had but one loaf in the boat (Mark 8:14), and started on a land journey to Cesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13), through a region comparatively desolate, without making provision for it. The visit to Bethsaida on the way (Mark 8:22), at a time when our Lord was avoiding public notice, may have been for the purpose of obtaining a supply.
Matthew 16:6. The leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. ‘Leaven; ‘figure for a permeating spiritual influence, generally an evil one (comp, however chap. Matthew 13:33). Their want of bread made the illustration apt. They were now withdrawing, both bodily and spiritually, from the Jews; hence there is probably a reference to Exodus 12:15-17; comp. 1 Corinthians 5:7. The two opposing sects are here connected (comp. Matthew 16:1); Mark, however (Mark 8:15), substitutes ‘the leaven of Herod.’ The Sadducees had already joined the Pharisees in opposing Christ, and Herod may have been in some alliance with them. Politicians often coquet with religious parties.
Matthew 16:7. And they reasoned among themselves. In their own hearts and then with each other; not in dispute, but in earnest conversation.
It is because we took no bread. An unspiritual but not altogether unreasonable thought. As Jews they would naturally think about not eating bread with these sects; but this would imply separation from the whole nation, and separate provision for their wants, which they had forgotten. General anxiety about worldly things would follow.
Matthew 16:8. And Jesus knowing it said. This avoids the incorrect notion, that He took some time to discover it
O ye of little faith. Words applied to them before (chap. Matthew 8:26; Matthew 14:31) on occasions of great weakness. After such miracles their cares were unbelieving.
Matthew 16:9. Do ye not yet perceive. Mark (Mark 8:17-18) is more full. Besides want of faith, they had shown great want of perception.
Matthew 16:10. Baskets. A different word in the original from that used in Matthew 16:9, but the same one we find in the account of the miracle (chap. Matthew 15:37). This difference incidentally confirms the truthfulness of the account.
Matthew 16:11. How is it that ye do not perceive, etc. The recent instruction (chap. Matthew 15:19-20) that eating did not defile a man, should have prevented the surmise about not eating bread with the Pharisees and Sadducees; the miracles should have shown them that lack of earthly bread was not referred to. Mark stops at this point in the narrative.
Matthew 16:12. But beware. This is the correct reading.
The teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Comp. Luke 12:1. The leaven of the Pharisees is ‘hypocrisy.’ But the Sadducees, the ‘liberal Jews’ of that age, went to the other extreme. The reference is, therefore, not to what they taught in common, but to the mode and spirit of their teaching. In both cases hypocrisy; in the Pharisees hypocritical formalism, in the Sadducees hypocritical liberalism. These two apparently antagonistic tendencies have been practically united ever since in opposing Christ. Without Him strict morality (‘Pharisees’) and free inquiry (‘Sadducees’) inevitably become hypocritical. Comp, on Mark 8:15.
The emphasis here laid on false ‘teaching ‘is suggestive, Principles, tendencies, ‘teachings,’ are most permeating, and if evil, most dangerous. To those who after all the lessons of history, and of experience, fail to see this, we may apply the words of our Lord: ‘How is it that ye do not perceive?’
Matthew 16:13. The parts of Cesarea Philippi. Mark: ‘villages.’ Probably not the city itself, but retired localities in the neighborhood, better adapted for private intercourse. The city was situated at the foot of Mount Hermon, and formerly bore the name Paneas. Philip the Tetrarch beautified it, and called it Cesarea; his name (Philippi) being commonly added to distinguish it from Cesarea on the sea-coast (where Paul was afterwards imprisoned). The name was changed to Neronias by Agrippa II., but the village which now marks the site is called Banias.
He asked his disciples. While ‘in the way’ (Mark 8:27), not to that region but from some retired spot, where He had been praying (Luke 9:18).
Who do men say that the Son of man is? The common reading is an alteration to bring out more fully the implied thought: ‘I am the Son of man, the Messiah.’
Matthew 16:14. Some say. The people had never been fully convinced that He was the Messiah. In the presence of opposition they only held that He was a remarkable personage.
John the Baptist. Herod’s opinion, see chap. Matthew 14:2.
Elijah. The forerunner of the Messiah.
Jeremiah, etc. Some really believed that the old prophets would reappear in another form. As His preaching became more denunciatory, they would think of Jeremiah. The whole verse shows the change in popular opinion throughout Galilee.
Matthew 16:15. But who say ye, etc. The question does not imply that they doubted His Messiahship, but is a demand for a decided expression as to what He was as the Messiah. This is the main point in Peter’s reply.
Matthew 16:16. Simon Peter; answering for the others as well as for himself.
Thou art the Christ (‘the Messiah’), the Son of the living God. Peter’s reply is a decided, solemn, profound confession, that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God in a specific sense. This specific sense is clearly vindicated: ( 1 .) by the presence of the article, which otherwise might have been omitted: ( 2 .) by the addition of the phrase itself, otherwise unnecessary, since the confession of His Messiahship includes all lower ideas; ( 3 .) from the word ‘living,’ which is not opposed to dead idols, but indicates that God is the source of all life, and that His Son is the fountain of life to men; ( 4 ) from the declaration that God had revealed this to Peter, since men of themselves readily form lower conceptions of Christ. This is the germ of the true and full statement respecting the Divine Human Person of Christ. The germ itself was a revelation, and its development was through subsequent revelation to the Apostles. The doctrine of Christ’s Person is not the result of human speculation, but a truth revealed by the Father of our Lord respecting His only Begotten Son. As at the beginning of His ministry our Lord received an attestation from man (John the Baptist) preceding the attestation of His Son-ship from heaven (chap. Matthew 3:17), so at this turning-point a confession from man precedes the renewed attestation from heaven on the mount of Transfiguration (chap. Matthew 17:5).
Matthew 16:17. Blessed art thou. An answering confession of Peter as an object of the Divine favor, a subject of Divine grace (comp. Romans 10:9).
Simon Bar-Jona , son of Jonah. His human name and paternity are introduced, probably with an allusion to the title: Son of man (Matthew 16:13); there is a similarity in the phrases in the language then spoken. Simon confesses his belief in the higher title of Christ; our Lord refers to Simon’s higher name, Peter.
For flesh and blood revealed it not unto thee. The knowledge was not from, any human source (comp. Galatians 1:16).
But my Father who is in heaven. The real knowledge of Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God, is and must be a matter of Divine revelation. Men may, of themselves, hold such a doctrine as part of a creed, but a belief that influences heart and life is the result of a Divine revelation made in us. Peter’s confession was based on such a belief. For the trials of faith before them during the remainder of our Lord’s earthly life the disciples needed a knowledge of His Person far above the carnal notions of the Messiah; the reply of Peter shows that they had it, and our Lord tells whence it came.
Matthew 16:18. And I also say unto thee . In answer to thy concession. The meaning of our Lord’s words has been angrily discussed, and misapprehended by Romanists and Protestants alike.
Thou art Peter (‘petros’), and upon this rock (‘petra’) I will build my church . The name Peter ‘had been prophetically given to Simon long before (John 1:42), but is now solemnly bestowed. It is a masculine form of the Greek word meaning ‘rock.’ In the dialect of the country the same word may have been used in both cases.
EXPLANATIONS: 1 . The phrase refers to Peter, but as a confessor, as in Christ, representing the other Apostles. This explains both the resemblance and the difference of the words: ‘Petros’ and ‘petra;’ it is on the whole preferable. From personal qualities he was the first among equals, and as he had represented the Apostles in the confession, so now in the Lord’s declaration. He was also the first to preach on the day of Pentecost, when the Church was fully established, and first to preach to the Gentiles. When he was disobedient and dissuading, censure was pronounced upon him (Matthew 16:22-23); hence only confessing Peter is meant. The other Apostles are included; since what is addressed to Peter in the next verse is afterwards repeated to all the Apostles (chap. Matthew 18:18), to which some add Ephesians 2:20; Revelation 21:14.
2 . The Romanist view: Peter is referred to, but as the official head of the Twelve; as such the Bishop of Rome is his successor. Were this correct, Mark and Luke would not have failed to record the saying in their accounts of this interview. Further objections: ( 1 .) It obliterates the distinction between petros and petra; ( 2 .) it is inconsistent with the true nature of the architectural figure; the foundation of a building is one and abiding, and not constantly renewed and changed; ( 3 .) it confounds priority of time with permanent superiority of rank; ( 4 .) it confounds the apostolate, which, strictly speaking, is not transferable but confined to the original personal disciples of Christ and inspired organs of the Holy Spirit, with the post-apostolic episcopate; ( 5 .) it involves an injustice to the other Apostles, who, as a body, are expressly called the foundation, or foundation stones of the Church; ( 6 .) it contradicts the whole spirit of Peter’s epistles, which is strongly anti-hierarchical, and disclaims any superiority over his ‘fellow-presbyters;’ ( 7 .) finally, it rests on assumptions, unproven either exegetically or historically, namely, the transferability of Peter’s primacy, and its actual transfer to the bishop, not of Jerusalem nor of Antioch (where Peter certainly was), but of Rome exclusively. Comp, the note in Schaff’s History of the Apostolic Church. p. 374 ff.
3 . The ultra Protestant view: Peter’s confession alone is referred to. Only partially correct.
Objections: ( 1 .) ‘This’ can scarcely refer to something so remote as the confession: on this theory the clause ‘thou art Peter,’ has no force whatever, and our Lord is represented as making a play on words almost meaningless; ( 2 .) the Church is founded on living persons, not on abstract doctrines and confessions; ( 3 .) the whole context is against it: the confession about the Person of Christ, the solemn utterance of Peter’s usual name (Matthew 16:17), the personal statement of Matthew 16:19. Most later Protestant commentators reject it.
4 . Christ means His own Person. So Augustine (in later years) and many excellent commentators. This view claims that petros means a stone and petra a rock, so that Peter is a living stone from Christ the true rock, and whosoever would become a living stone, a ‘petros,’ must make this true confession of Christ, the Rock, on whom as God and man the Church will be built. Objections:
( 1 .) The distinction between the words may not have existed in the language used by our Lord; ( 2 .) ‘this’ is made to refer to something not stated, we are forced to insert in the narrative, that our Lord pointed to Himself. ( 3 .) Our Lord is usually represented, not as the foundation, but as the Builder and Master of the spiritual temple, into which living stones are built, the first ones laid (the Apostles) being the foundation. This view, moreover, avails nothing against the assumptions of the Papal interpretation.
My Church. This word occurs only twice in the Gospels (here and chap. Matthew 18:17). The Greek word, meaning ‘an assembly called out’ (with a technical sense in classical Greek), was used to translate the Hebrew expression: Kahal, ‘congregation.’ While it usually means a local congregation, it must be taken here in a general sense. It refers to a congregation distinct from the Jewish (‘my church’); the first intimation of such a separation. Its formation is only predicted (‘I will build’). It is not the precise equivalent of ‘the kingdom of heaven,’ so often spoken of before this time by our Lord. ‘The kingdom of heaven’ is the new dispensation of grace from heaven of which our Lord was Ruler and Dispenser; His Church was to be an organized and visible congregation of the faithful, manifesting and extending by its worship and ministry that kingdom. The next verse points to such a visible organization, as does the fact that confessing Apostles are spoken of as the foundation. The Jewish idea was that it was to be a ‘temporal power,’ a State, as the Papal theory allows. This Church is represented as one edifice having one Builder, one foundation, one plan, and hence with a continuity in its history and development, but the New Testament nowhere prophesies or enjoins its external uniformity. The Sacraments and the ministry are directly instituted, but little else. Outward form is required, to prevent anarchy, but the history of the Apostolic Church implies that this outward form may be modified by ecclesiastical enactment which, however useful, cannot be of equal authority with the direct institutions of Christ and his Apostles. Uniformity as the free expression of internal unity, is a great blessing; but it has generally been the result of ecclesiastical or civil tyranny. Visible unity is the end rather than the means, of the growth of Christ’s Church. Essential unity is maintained, in the confession of the Personal Christ, by believing persons, in the participation of the divinely instituted Sacraments, in the preaching of the Word by an ordained ministry. All these essentials centre in Christ.
And the gates of hell, or ‘hades.’ An oriental phrase for ‘the power of the kingdom of death.’ The figure is that of a strong castle.
Shall not prevail against it. The Old Testament organization would perish by violence; but no adverse power shall prevail against this Church. The particular reference is to the spiritual victory of life over death. The Romanists give this a more temporal sense, in keeping with the erroneous view of the first part of the verse.
Matthew 16:19. Unto thee. To Peter, who is addressed throughout; but as chap. Matthew 18:18 includes the other Apostles in the second promise of this verse, they are probably included here also.
The keys of the kingdom of heaven. Power to open and shut Peter first admitted Jews (on the day of Pentecost) and Gentiles(Cornelius) to the Church; and first excluded (Ananias and Sapphira; Simon Magus). This promise in its full sense does not extend beyond the Apostles, who needed special power for their foundation work; for the keys are not the keys of the Church but ‘of the kingdom of heaven.’ It is applicable to the Christian ministry, only in the subordinate sense of proclaiming the word and exercising prudential (not punitive) discipline.
And whatsoever thou shalt bind, etc. Jewish usage would explain: ‘bind’ and ‘loose,’ as equivalent to forbid and permit; the reference therefore is to the power of legislation in the Church (‘on earth’) in the case of the Apostles, Peter being their representative; this was in accordance with heavenly design (‘in heaven’). Things are probably referred to here; in the previous clause persons (admitted or excluded). The power seems to be judicial also (comp. chap. Matthew 18:17-18). This promise also is, in its full sense, applicable only to the Apostles. Most of the difficulties connected with the interpretation of this passage are obviated by considering that the full gospel could not be preached until after the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord; the Apostles, who had to lay the foundation and be the foundation, must therefore have knowledge and authority which no one after them needs or can rightly claim. The foundation thus laid, the Church enters upon a conflict in which final victory, though long delayed, is assured. Church authorities must indeed legislate and exercise judicial power, etc., but not as having final and supreme power nor with any assurance of infallibility. For such binding and loosing on earth they may implore, but cannot assert, heavenly direction and sanction.
Matthew 16:20. That they should tell no man. Until our Lord Himself announced His Messiahship before the Sanhedrin (chap. Matthew 26:64), the Christian acknowledgment was to be kept separate from the carnal expectations of the Jews.
Matthew 16:21. From that time began Jesus. The confession prepared them for the revelation. We infer that He spoke often and familiarly on this topic, to prepare them for their own trials, and to impress upon them the truth they deemed so strange. (Comp. chap. Matthew 17:22-23; Matthew 20:17-19, and the parallel passages in Mark and Luke).
He must go. The necessity of His sufferings was revealed: not in all its bearings, since after His resurrection He must still ask: ‘Ought not Christ to have suffered,’ etc. (Luke 24:26.)
Unto Jerusalem, Peculiar to Matthew; in keeping with the character of his Gospel.
Suffer many things. His sufferings included more than the outward persecutions.
Of the elders, etc. These classes represented the whole Jewish nation. Christ did not reject the covenant people; they rejected Him.
And be killed. A startling announcement to the disciples, and yet Daniel (Daniel 9:26) and Isaiah (Isaiah 53:4-10) had foretold it ‘The cross’ is the necessary climax of His sufferings.
The third day be raised up. ‘According to the Scriptures.’ (1 Corinthians 15:4.) Despite this plain announcement, they were full of doubt and despondency after His death.
Matthew 16:22. Then Peter took him. Either laid hold on Him to interrupt Him, or took Him aside. The explanation, ‘took by the hand,’ for friendly entreaty, is unwarranted.
And began to rebuke him. He did not proceed far in this chiding.
Be it far from thee, Lord, lit, ‘propitious to thee,’ equivalent either to, God be favorable to thee, or spare thyself.
This shall never be to thee. An over-confident declaration, betraying pride as well as opposition to the purpose of God (‘must go,’ Matthew 16:21) revealed by our Lord. Peter was bold as confessor and as opposer, was impulsive, perhaps vain and ambitious. Moreover Satan is most busy in seducing us when we have been most highly exalted and favored by Christ.
Matthew 16:23. But he turned. Not turned from Peter, but turned round.
Said unto Peter. In the presence of all the disciples (Mark 8:33), whom Peter again represented to a certain extent.
Get thee behind me, ‘avaunt,’ ‘begone.’ Comp. chap. Matthew 4:10, where the same words are addressed to Satan himself.
Satan. The meaning ‘adversary’ is too weak. There was a Satanic influence at work in Peter, though he was not conscious of it. ‘Has Satan come again?’ The Apostle himself was no doubt startled.
Thou art a stumbling-block unto me, or ‘stone of stumbling.’ Perhaps a further allusion to Peter’s name. Comp, his own words (1 Peter 2:7), in which the same contrast is found. Not without a caution for those claiming to be the successors of Peter.
Thou mindest not the things of God, i.e., as represented by Christ, not regarding God’s purpose in the foretold death.
The things of men, i.e., he had carnal views, expected the temporal exaltation of the Messiah. Human nature is here represented as opposed to God, and under the influence of Satan. A rebuke for all who have a sentimental admiration for Jesus of Nazareth, but stumble at the cross, which belongs to ‘the things of God.’
Matthew 16:24. Unto his disciples. To others also whom He called about Him (Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23: ‘to all’).
If any one would come after me. A general statement, involving on this occasion the question, will you follow me even to the death, which, I have assured you, must come. Unlike worldly leaders, Christ declares the darker side of His service; He asks for willing followers. A religion of force cannot be Christ’s religion.
Deny himself. Let him renounce self as the object of supreme regard; this involves the relinquishment of all that interferes with the higher object.
Take up his cross. The person to be crucified bore his own cross; the death was a painful and shameful one. The reference is to readiness to endure for Christ, even death in its worst form. It includes of course all minor forms of endurance. Comp. Luke 9:23, where ‘daily’ is added. Continuous cross-bearing is implied here.
Follow me. Here in the path of suffering, but also in the path of holiness and in the path to glory, as the following verses suggest.
Matthew 16:25. For whosoever would save his life, etc. Comp, the same thought in chap. Matthew 10:39. Whoever makes the lower life the supreme motive shall lose the higher life, and whoever, making Christ supreme, shall lose even life for His sake shall find it in the highest, truest sense. The contrast throughout the passage is not between body and soul, but earthly life in all forms with true heavenly life here and hereafter. Life, worldly, selfish, fleshly, is opposed to life eternal, Christian and spiritual. ‘The fear of death subjects to the bondage of death (Hebrews 2:15); while readiness to suffer a holy death for Christ’s sake opens up before us true life.’
Matthew 16:26. What shall a man be profited. In view of this saving and losing.
Forfeit his life. Same word as in Matthew 16:25. The variation in the common version is unfortunate. It has the double meaning ‘life’ and ‘soul.’ But here ‘life’ in the higher sense is meant, not ‘soul’ in distinction from ‘body.’ It is plainly implied that gaining the world in a selfish manner involves the loss of true life, that such a gain is really only an apparent gain of the world, while the loss is real, irreparable, irretrievable. The usual inferences, based on the sense ‘soul,’ are true enough, but not suggested here. (See further on Mark 8:37.)
Matthew 16:27. For. The reason this transaction is so unprofitable is now given.
The Son of man, who now in humble form asks to be followed on the path of suffering.
Shall come in the glory of his Father. Through suffering to glory. He spoke first of His own sorrows, then of His people’s; now He predicts glory and triumph; their’s also, because His. In this second coming, afterwards more fully spoken of (chaps, 24 , 25 ), He shall appear as Judge of all, in the glory of God the Father, and the attendants shall be his angels. Both a threatening and a promise in view of the judgment which it involves.
Unto every man according to his doing. His whole character and conduct. This depends upon the effort either to save the lower life or gain the higher. This ‘doing ‘results from faith or unbelief.
Matthew 16:28. Verily I say unto you. Solemn preface.
There be some of them that stand here. The Twelve and the people about (Mark 8:34).
Who shall in no wise taste of death. Death is represented under the figure of a bitter cup. Some of those present should be still alive when the event referred to in the next clause should take place, though they should afterwards die.
The Son of man coming in his kingdom. Not the ‘coming’ in Matthew 16:27. ( 1 .) That was ‘in the glory of His Father,’ this ‘in His kingdom,’ or a coming of the kingdom of God ‘with power’ (Mark 9:1, comp. Luke 9:27); ( 2 .) So definite a prediction of the final coming is inconsistent with chap. Matthew 24:36: ‘But of that day and hour knoweth no one,’ etc. Nor is it the transfiguration, which was a temporary revelation, but the establishment of the new dispensation, which was the coming of the kingdom of God with power. The more precise reference may be ( 1 .) to the coming of our Lord after the resurrection; but all of them except Judas lived to see that, and it is implied that some would die; ( 2 .) to the day of Pentecost, but this is open to the same objection; ( 3 .) to the destruction of Jerusalem, which ended the old dispensation. Chap. Matthew 10:23 refers to this, and chap. 25 supports the same view. That event was of awful significance. In view of the circumstances, the hostility of the Jews now manifest, the prediction that Jerusalem would be the place of His sufferings, the announcement of His Church as distinguished from the old economy to be abrogated fully in the ruin of that city, it seems clear that if one event be referred to, it is this, which was in so many respects ‘a type and earnest of the final coming of Christ’ (Alford). ( 4 .) A wider view refers it ‘to a gradual or progressive change, the institution of Christ’s kingdom in the hearts of men and in society at large’ (J. A. Alexander), extending from the day of Pentecost to the destruction of Jerusalem.