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See also Mark viii. 11, 12. "The pharisees also with the sad. ducees.' See note, Matt. iii. 7. • Tempting. That is, trying hira--feigning a desire to see evidence that he was the Messiah, but with a real wish to see him make the attempt to work a miracle and fail. “A sign from heaven.' Some miraculous appear. ance in the sky. It is proper to say, that though Christ did not choose then to show such wonders, yet most stupendous signs from heaven were exhibited at his death.
2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times ?
The meaning of this answer is, that as there are certain indications by which you judge about the weather, so there are sufficient indications by which you should judge concerning me and these times. My miracles, and the state of affairs in Judea, are an indication by which you should judge of these times. 'Is red.' Almost all nations have observed this as an indication of the weather. In the morning—the sky is red and lowering. That is, there are dark and threatening clouds in the sky, which in the east are made red by the rays of the rising sun. This, in Judea, was a sign of a tempest.
Men will often judge far more correctly about natural than spiritual things. About natural objects they are watehful. In them they feel a deep interest. And they watch for every sign that may affect their interest. They are too much concerned to judge falsely. But they feel no such interest in religious things. Men who have good sense, and much wisdom in regard to worldly concerns, are exceedingly foolish in regard to religion.
4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
A wicked and adulterous generation,' &c. See note, Matt. xii. 38–40. Mark adds, viii. 12, that he sighed deeply in spirit. He did not say this without feeling. He was greatly affected with their perverseness and obstinacy.
5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
This account is recorded also in Mark viii, 13--21. “And when his disciples had come to the other side.' That is, to the other side of the sea of Galilee. Mark says that he entered into a ship again, and departed to the other side. Had forgotten to lake bread.' That is, had forgotten to lay in a sufficient supply. They had, it seems, not more than one loaf, Mark viii. 14.
6 4 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the pharisees and of the sadducees.
" Take heed,' &c. That is, be cantious, be on your guard. • The leaven of the pharisees and sadducees.' Leaven is used in making bread. Its use is to pass through the flour, and cause it to ferment or to swell, and become light. It passes secretly, silently, but certainly. None can see its progress. So it was with the doctrines of the pharisees. They were insinuating, artful, plausible.
7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the pharisees and of the sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade their not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the pharisees and of the sadducees.
• They reasoned,' &c. The disciples did not understand him as referring to their doctrine, because the word "leaven' was not often used among the Jews to denote doctrines-no other instance of the use of the word occurring in the scriptures. O ye ot liitle faith!' Jesus, in reply, said that they should not be so anxious about the supply of their wants. They should not have supposed, after the iniracles that he had wrought in feeding so many, that he would caution them to be anxious about procuring bread for their necessities.
13 | When Jesus came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am ?
See also Mark viii. 27–29, and Luke ix. 18—20. "Cesarea Philippi.' There were two cities in Judea called Cesarea. One was situated on the borders of the Mediterranean, and the other was the one mentioned here. It was greatly enlarged and orna. mented by Philip the tetrarch, son of Herod, and called Cesarea, in honour of the Roman emperor Tiberius Cæsar. To dis'inguish
it from the other Cesarea, the name of Philip was added, and i 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 is right, and correct them if wrong. He wished to obtain the sentiments of the people respecting himse
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. “Jeremia ,' 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 terin 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 nohle confession, Peter expressed the full belief of himself and his brethren that Jesus was the long expected Messiah.
17 And Jesus answerea 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 Sull, 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 by
his miracles, his instructions, and the direct teachings of God on their minds.
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 Pal withstood Peter to his face, because he was to be blanıed. 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 ‘churcli' means, sometimes, the whole body of believers, Eph. i. 22. 1 Cor. x. 32. This is its meaning in this place. It 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 Fell, &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 ail the piots, 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 king dom 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 autho. rity. 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, that 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 cominanded, should have divine authority-that is, should be bound, or loosed in heaven, or meet the approbation of God: they were to be guided infallibly by himn 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
See also Mark is. 31–33; Luke ix. 22. From that time forth. This is the first intimation that he gave them that he was