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Ces: rea, the name of Philip was added, and it was called Cesarea Philippi, or Cesarea of Philip. It was situated in the boundaries of the tribe of Naphtali, and near mount Lebanon, and was in the most northern part of Judea. “When Jesus came. Mark says, viii. 27, that this conversation took place when they were in the way. Wnile in the way, Jesus took occasion to call their attention to the truth that he was the Messiah. This truth it was of much consequence that they should fully believe and understand ;, and it was important, therefore, that he should often learn their views, and establish them if right, and correct them if wrong. He wished to obtain the sentiments of the people respecting himself.
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
See note on Matt. xi. 14. They supposed he might be John the Baptist, as Herod did, risen from the dead. See Matt. xiv. 2. He strongly resembled John in his manner of life, and in the doctrines which he taught. "Jeremias,' Jeremiah.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am ? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Peter, expressing the views of the apostles, with characteristic forwardness answered the question proposed to them by Jesus: “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”''The Christ.' The Messiah, the Anointed of God. Note, Matt. i. 1. 'The Son.' That is, the Son by way of eminence, in a peculiar sense. Note, Matt. i. 17. This appellation was understood as implying divinity, John x. 29–36. of the living God.' The term living was given to the true God, to distinguish him from idols, that are dead, or lifeless blocks and stones. He is also the source of life, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. The term 'living is often given to him in the Old Testament, Josh. iii. 10. 1 Sam. xvii, 26, 36. Jer. x. 9, 10, &c. In this noble confession, Peter expressed the full belief of himself and his brethren that Jesus was the long expected Messiah.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona : for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Simon Bar-jona' is the same as Simon son of Jona. 'Bar' is a Syriac word, signifying son, John i. 42; xxi. 16, 17. ' Blessed.' That is, happy, honoured. • Flesh and blood.' This phrase commonly signifies man, see Gal. i. 16. Eph. vi. 12: he meant to say that man had not revealed it This they had been taught hy
his miracles, his instructions, and the direct teachings of God on their ininds.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The word ' Peter,' in Greek, means a rock. It was given to Simon by Christ, when he called him to be a disciple, John i. 42. Cephas is a Syriac word, meaning the same as Peter-a rock, or stone. The meaning of this phrase may be thus expressed : “I have given to you a name expressive of your character. I have called you Peter, a rock, denoting firmness, solidity; and your confession has shown that the name is appropriate. I see that you are worthy of the name, and will be a distinguished support of my religion.” And upon this rock,' &c. Upon this truth, that thou hast confessed, that I am the Messiah, will I build my church. Or, “ Thou art a rock. Thou hast shown thyself firm, and fit for the work of laying the foundation of the church, and labouring to rear it. Upon thee will I build it. Thou shalt be highly honoured ; thou shalt be first in making known the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles.” This was accomplished. See Acts ii. 14-36, where he first preached to the Jews, and Acts x. where he preached the gospel to Cornelius and his neighbours, Gentiles. See also Gal. ii. 9. But Christ did not mean, as the Roman Catholics say, to exalt Peter to supreme authority above all the other apostles, or to say that he was the only one on whom he would rear his church. See Matt. xx. 26; xviii. 18, and Acts xv. where the advice of James, and not of Peter, was followed. See also Gal. ii. 11, where Paul withstood Peter to his face, because he was to be blamed. The whole meaning of the passage is this: “I will make you the honoured instrument of first publishing my gospel to Jews and Gentiles, and will make you a firm and distinguished preacher in building my church."
Will build my church. This refers to the custom of building in Judea on a rock, or other very firm foundation. See note, Matt. vii. 24. The word church' means, sometimes, the whole body of believers, Eph. i. 22. 1 Cor. x. 32. This is its meaning in this place. Ii means, also, a particular society of believers, worshipping in one place, Acts viii. 1; ix. 31. I Cor. i. 2, &c. And the gates of hell, &c. Ancient cities were surrounded by walls. In the
gates,' by which they were entered, were the principal places for holding courts, transacting business, and deliberating on public matters. See note, Matt. vii. 13. The word 'gates, therefore, is sometimes used for counsels and designs. 'Hell' means, here, the place of departed spirits, particularly evil spirits. And the meaning of the passage is, that all the plots, stratagems, and machinations, of the enemies of the church, should not be able to overcome it-a promise that has been remarkably fulfilled.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
A 'key' is an instrument for opening a door. He that is in possession of it has the power of access, and has a general care and administration of a house. Hence, in the Bible, a key is used as a symbol of superintendence, an emblem of power and authority. See Isa. xxii. 22. Rev. i. 18; iii. 7. When Christ says, therefore, he will give Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, he means that he will make him the instrument of opening the door of faith to the world—the first to preach the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles. This was done, Acts ii. 14—36. and x. The power of the keys was given to Peter alone, solely for this reason ; the power of binding and loosing on earth was given to the other apostles with him. See Matt. xviii. 18. The only pre-eminence, then, thal Peter had, was the honourof first opening the doors of the gospel to the world. • Whatsoever thou shalt bind,' &c. The phrase to bind' and to loose' was often used by the Jews. It meant to prohibit and to permit. To bind a thing was to forbid it; to loose, to allow it to be done. Thus they said about gathering wood on the sabbath day, the school of Shammei binds itthat is, forbids it; the school of Hillel looses it—that is, allows it. When Jesus gave this power to the apostles, he meant that whatsoever they forbade or permitted, or commanded, should have divine authority-ihat is, should be bound, or loosed in heaven, or meet the approbation of God: they were to be guided infallibly by him in the organization of the church.
20 Then charged he his disciples, that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
' Then charged,' &c. That is, he then commanded them. Mark, viii. 30, and Luke, ix. 21, says that he strictly or severely charged them. He laid emphasis on it, as a matter of much importance. The reason of this seems to be, that his time had not fully come ; he was not willing to rouse the Jewish malice, and to endanger his life, by having it proclaimed that he was the Messiah.
21 From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
See also Mark ix. 31-33; Luke ix. 22. From that time forth.' This is the first intimation that he gave them that he was
to die in this cruel manner. He had taken much pains to convince them that he was the Messiah; he saw by the confession of Peter that they were convinced ; and he then began to prepare their minds for the awful event that was before him. Had he declared this when he first called them, they might have been afraid to follow him. * Elders.' The men of the great council, or sanhedrim. See note, Matt. v. 7. Chief priests and scribes.' See note, Matt. iii. 7.
22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord : this shall not be unto thee.
Peter was strongly attached to him. He could not bear to think of his death. He expected, moreover, that he would be the triumphant Messiah. In his ardour, hé seized him by the hand and said. “Be it far from thee.' It expressed Peter's strong desire that it might not be. The word 'rebuke' here means to admonish, or to entreat earnestly, as in Luke xvii. 3. It does not mean that Peter assumed authority over Christ; but that he earnestly expressed his wish that it might not be so.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan : thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
The word 'Satan' means literally, an adversary. It is applied to the devil as the opposer or adversary of man. Chrisi meant to say that this interference was improper-that Peter's views and feelings stood in the way of the accomplishment of his designs. “Thou art an offence. That is a stumbling-block. Your advice and wishes are in my way. If followed, they would prevent the very thing for which I came. Thou savourest not."
That is, thou thinkest not. You think that those things should not be done, which God wishes to be done. You judge of this matter as men do, and not as God, who sees it best that I should die, to promote the great interests of mankind.
24 | Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
This discourse is also recorded in Mark viii. 34–38; ix. 1, and Luke ix. 23–37. 'Let him deny himself. Le: him not seek his own happiness as the supreme objeet, but be willing to renounce all, and lay down his life also, if required. "Take up his crass. See note Matt. x. 38.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it : and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
'Whosoever will save his life, &c. See note, Matt. x. 39.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?
To gain the whole world means to possess it as our own,-all its riches, honours, and pleasures. Those who are striving to gain the world, and are unwilling to give it up for the sake of religion, will lose their souls. If the soul is lost, nothing can be given in exchange for it, or it can never afterwards be saved. There is no redemption in hell.
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
'For the Son of man,' &c. That is, the Lord Jesus Christ shall return to judge the world. “Reward.' He will deal with them according to their characters. This fact, that he will come to judgment, Christ gives as a reason why we should be willing to deny ourselves and follow him. Even though now it should be attended with contempt and suffering, yet then he will reward his followers for all their shame and sorrows, and receive them to his kingdom. He adds, Mark viii. 38, that if we are ashamed of him here, he will be ashamed of us there. That is, if we reject and disown him here, he will reject and disown us there.
28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
“Taste of death.' That is, die. See John viii. 51–53. Before they die they shall see this. Son of man coming in his kingdom.' Mark and Luke have explained this, Mark ix. 1: ‘Until they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.' Luke ix. 27; 'Till they see the kingdom of God.'. The meaning is, till they should see Christ's kingdom, that is, his church, now small, feeble, and despised, greatly enlarged, established, and spreading with great rapidity and extent. All this was accomplished. All these apostles, except Judas, lived to see the wonders of the day of Pentecost; some of them, John particularly, saw the gospel established in a large part of the known world. It will not be long before he will come. At any rate, it will not be long before we shall meet him. Death is near. And then we must stand before him, and give an account of the deeds done in the body.
CHAPTER XVII. 1 AND after six days Jesus taketh Peter, and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a bigh mountain apart,