Gospel of Matthew Chapter Sixteen

16:1 The pharisees and the sadducees approached him, and requested that he show them a sign from the spiritual realm.
16:2 He answered them and said:
16:3 1
16:4 “A wicked and adulterous society seeks a sign – and a sign will not be given to it, except the sign of Jonah.”2 Thus he left them and departed.
16:5 And when his disciples had traveled to the other side, they had forgotten to bring bread.
16:6 Then Jesus told them, “Watch out and beware of the yeast of the pharisees and sadducees.”
16:7 Thus they speculated among each other, saying, “It’s because we didn’t bring any bread.”
16:8 When Jesus became aware this, he told them, “You of little faith, why do you speculate among yourselves about not bringing bread?
16:9 Have you yet to understand nor remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you picked up?
16:10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets you picked up?
16:11 How is it that you don’t understand that I was speaking to you not about bread, but that you should beware of the yeast of the pharisees and the sadducees?
16:12 Then they understood that he was warning them to beware not for the yeast of the bread, but for the teachings of the pharisees and sadducees.
16:13 When Jesus arrived in the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say I – the Servant of Humanity – am?”
16:14 They answered, “Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah; or one of the Prophets.”
16:15 He replied to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16:16 And Simon Peter replied, saying, “You are the Anointed of God [Messiah, Christ] – the Representative of the living God.
16:17 And Jesus responded, saying “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah: Because flesh and blood has not revealed this to you – but my LORD from the spiritual realm.
16:18 And I can also tell you, that you are Peter,3 and upon this rock will I build my following – and the temple of the dead will not overcome it.
16:19 And I will give to you the keys to the sanctuary of the spiritual realm, and you will forbid in the material world what is forbidden in the spiritual realm, and you will allow in the material world is allowed in the spiritual realm.”
16:20 Then he instructed his students not to tell anyone that he was the Anointed of God [Messiah, Christ].
16:21 From that point, Jesus began to show his students that he must go into Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes – and his body would be killed and he would appear on the third day.
16:22 Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbids it, Master! This will never happen to you!”
16:23 But he replied and said to Peter, “Get away from me wickedness! You are an impediment to me, because you are focused not upon the interests of God – but upon those of people.”
16:24 Then Jesus said to his students, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself and pull up stakes4 and follow me.”
16:25 Because whoever wants to save his life will abandon it and whoever will abandon his life on my behalf will find it.
16:26 For how does a person profit if he should gain the whole world but destroys his soul? Or what should a person give in exchange for his soul?
16:27 Because the Servant of Humanity will return to the majesty of his LORD and His angels - and every person will then be rewarded according to their actions.
16:28 Truly I tell you, there will be some who stand here who will not taste death until they see the Servant of Humanity appearing in His sanctuary.”


1. Verse 16:3. The earliest manuscripts do not contain this verse (numbers were added later):
“When it is evening and the sky is red, you say it will be fair weather – and in the morning will be bad weather, because the sky is red and impending. O you hypocrites, you can gauge the appearance of the sky but you cannot gauge the signs of the times?”

2. Verse 16:4. The “sign of Jonah” reflects the warning that God requested His messenger Jonah give to the people of Nineveh:
"Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has offended me." (Jonah 1:2 NIV)

3. Verse 16:18. The Greek word Πέτρος (Petros) also means “rock.”

4. Verse 16:24. Jesus is speaking to villagers and rural people, where subsistence farming was a common occupation. The Greek word σταυρός (stauros) refers to stakes used by farmers to hold up their vines, trees and bushes. These were often crossed to provide stability for the vine. The phrase, “pull up stakes” – still used to this day – refers to a person uprooting their life. In the context of Jesus' statement, he is asking his followers to "pull up stakes" in their mundane lives in order to follow Jesus. It is a phrase that indicates the process of fully committing oneself to the teachings of Jesus. This is confirmed by the preceding phrase, “he must deny himself.”