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Peter's Great Confession

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 26, 2021 8:00 am

Peter's Great Confession

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 26, 2021 8:00 am

Listening to people’s varying opinions about Jesus can feel like watching an old episode of Superman. Instead of hearing, It’s a birdit’s a planeno! It’s Superman, we often hear something like, he was a propheta good manno, a great teacher! Today on The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice, we’ll learn that the truth about the person of Jesus is at the very heart of Christianity.


Listening to people's varying opinions about Jesus can feel like watching an old episode of Superman instead of hearing it's a bird it's a plain know it Superman. We often hear something like he was a prophet a good man know a great teacher today on the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will learn that the truth about the person of Jesus is at the very heart of Christianity.

Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly. The New Testament is chock-full of metaphorical language and analogies. Let's listen in as Dr. Boyce teaches on one building themed metaphor that comes complete with stones, gates and keys were going to talk about Jesus Christ or dealing with only talk about Jesus Christ is who is what he came to do those two things, Christian theology books. That's usually described as the person of Christ. On one hand on the work of Christ on the other and understand anything about Christianity. After begin, there can't merely say when you talk about Jesus Christ that he's a great example or Rhapsody is a tragic figure or he was a significant moral teacher approaches to the person of Christ, like that are insulting to Christ as his claims were that he is God and that what he did on this earth was dying for your sins so you could be saved from God's wrath out. That's a significant thing is what we come through in the 16th chapter of Matthew.

What this means is that Matthew is the critical chapter of the gospel. I talked about it last time when we began by that introductory section saying, but it's a great climax or the high point of these middle chapters in which Jesus has withdrawn from the masses in order to spend some time teaching his disciples privately. What we find is the climax of this teaching that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God and comes out in Peter's great confession.

Jesus amplified it by adding that this did not come to Peter merely by some kind of human insight but had been revealed to him by God the father himself, so this is God the father's testimony of Jesus is his son and Messiah are the Savior and then secondly we come to it next time we have some words about what Jesus came to do because what he says is it didn't come merely to teach error. In the example again to be the Savior. He said it's necessary that the Son of Man go to Jerusalem, and there be arrested by the leaders of the people and be crucified, but adding and on the third day he will rise again.

And thirdly, in this chapter will come to that again next time as well. He begins to talk about cross bearing is the Christian way of life words.

It's a way of saying that Christians are not to be triumphalist that were just here to rule and dominate and have everything happening always says what the entity means is following in my footsteps and that means wallowing in the way of the cross of you talk about the very essence of Christianity. I suppose there is no single chapter of the Bible that has more but in such a shorter space than this latter half of Matthew 16 are also problems. Of course it's a striking thing in this important chapter. There should be so many questions so many diverse interpretations of the problems of the lesser matters, but they stick in our minds and they are important. For example, Jesus says that he's going to build his church upon the rock. What is the rock as it Peter Peter's testimony Jesus a lot of debate about that talks about the gates of hell or Hades are going to prevail against the church was not referring to. And finally, also talks about the keys of the kingdom letter given to Peter is that mean does it mean that Peter really had the authority to admit or bar people from heaven I possibly have to look at all of those things are going to look at the problems later on. But the point to begin is with the clear teaching.

The important thing that's Peter's great confession.

Jesus let in too much. We approach the matter indirectly asked the disciples first of all, who the people were saying he was not. Presumably they were in a better position to know that because people would talk to them in a way I wouldn't talk to the master and yet Jesus certainly didn't need to ask them what the people were saying in order to know what he knew all things. Anyway, in addition, the kind of answers they gave the current answers of the day reason we know that is that when John the Baptist appeared on the scene. First of all their leaders in Jerusalem sent a delegation down to ask the movie wasn't a checklist that they follow. Are you the Christ. John tells us about it first chapter of his gospel.

John said no, the Christ, the Messiah now. Well, they said you will I jump and ask about Elijah's the very end of our Old Testament the end of the book of Malachi said that Elijah is going to appear before the great and terrible day of the Lord was understood to mean that he was the forerunner of the Messiah.

And so, if John wasn't the Messiah maybe was the forerunner you Elijah always said, are you back prophet because in Deuteronomy was a prophecy that in the latter days, God would raise up a prophet like Moses whom the people would listen more. You back, prophet, they said. John said no we know the answer. He said I just a voice crying in the wilderness saying prepare the way the Lord now that's the kind of things happening here only is this different sometime in past and now people and added to their checklist, whether perhaps any figure who stood out head and shoulders above the rest like well maybe be John the Baptist was Herod's idea inherited killed John were told that when Jesus appeared he thought maybe Jesus was John come back to Wi-Fi. Suppose since their ages were closely really meant might've been the spirit of John reincarnate somehow in this new figure, but that's the kind of question. People were asking and they ask about Elijah and ask about Jeremiah. This is the only place in the Gospels where Jeremiah is put forward as a possibility. It's because in the apocryphal book of Maccabees slurs were reference to the fact that when the Jerusalem Temple fell.

Jeremiah took the altar and some of the furnishings in the ark and that when the Messiah came back. Jeremiah would reappear and produce these things and so that was part of the mythology of the day.

One interesting thing here is that no one seems to have been suggesting that Jesus was the Messiah, especially since they had offered. That is a possibility to explain John the Baptist Jesus said who do men say that I am, I came up with all those answers, John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, one of the other prophets. Nobody said the Messiah, presumably because Jesus didn't fulfill the people's popular messianic expectations and Jesus turned the disciples had a way of doing that you know you can study theology and learn all kinds of important answers to important questions. You're doing it in a spiritual way. Jesus always has a way of putting the question to you this case, the question was this, but who do you say I that's always the critical question, another side what you say this occasion, Peter gave the answer.

Presumably the others thought the same thing that probably have been discussing it, but Peter didn't write came up with his great confession. You are the Christ, the son of the living God. That answer did two things simultaneously. First, that identify Jesus as the Messiah is what that word Christ means she's the one the Jews had been looking for that one would been promised the descendents from David. It was going to sit forever on his throne. But at the same type also identified him as the son of God, which is to say a divine Messiah. All that's important.

Of course, because the deity of Jesus was necessary what he was going to do. They were a mere man is death with a pattern for nobody but himself says son of God. God himself, he was able to die for lost humanity, not in the Greek text. I confession is as definite as it can be only has 10 words in it for them, or the definite article in the translated, emphasizing that would translated like this.

You are the Christ, the son of the God living one just can't be more positive about and that's what Peter did was so true, so important that Jesus had to pause and point out the benefit of the others that this should come to Peter not as so many of his ideas came and is off the wall or out of an empty head. He blurted out things that usually work true and more often than not are foolish, Jesus pointed out that this wasn't for Miami didn't think enough of himself.

Rather, he said this is been revealed to you by my father in heaven.

It was the result of a specific line revelation and so what is today. This is the first thing that anybody needs to understand about Jesus Christ that Jesus is the son of God, very God of very God and some of our creed supported is because the value of his work is dying for sin depends upon you believe it. Do you know what people of come to faith may become Christians. Many many times through just getting that one insight Jesus Christ really is God. And when they see that all the rest of it sort of falls into place, you do say that if you do believe it. I point out is because God himself is revealed it to you. Human wisdom is ever going to convince you of lack, no eloquent preaching is ever going to bring you to that point.

God may use the wisdom and the books and the preaching of many other things of God himself doesn't serve you come to that insight you come to it by the grace and power of God, and you need to be thankful for it now. So far so good. Come to the problems are quite a number problem was I mentioned. First of all there's this problem about the rock Jesus said after he had pointed out that Peter's understanding of been given to him by God. He was just Peter on this rock he said I will build my church mean been three main interpretations of it. First of all it Peter is the rock the church is built on Peter and of course is the Roman Catholic position.

Roman church teachers that not only was Peter rock. But as the foundation of the church.

He has passed that position on the successors of the prophecy of the popes, even the day of the foundation upon which the church is built now as I say that's the Catholic position but there are students who will affirm that though in a very limited way, and some of them are very good scholars is possible to believe that the rock refers to Peter without all of the implications of Which draw from it, and which would be unacceptable to Protestants right if you think of Peter as the rock in the sense that he was the first to make this confession, so he became along with all of the other apostles, the foundation upon which the church was built as a matter of fact, the apostle Paul uses that language in some places he will say, for example, as he does in Ephesians 220 that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ himself as the chief cornerstone DA Carson takes out interpretations of his William Hendrickson only they made very clear that that doesn't imply anything about Peter successors about infallibility or about exclusive authority that resides in Scripture that's first few as a second Peter is the lot but the Peter's confession as the rock probably been the majority view among Protestants, and I quote one RB Tasker said the faith that was expressed by him was the rock upon which Jesus would build his church on the interesting thing here is that a number of Catholics hold this position, especially in the early church. For example, here's Chrysostom, right, preacher of the early church age on this rock said Chrysostom, that is on the faith of his confession. He did not say upon Peter because it wasn't upon a man let up on his faith of the commentators list the early fathers who take that view and it's quite an impressive list. Gregory of Lisa is adorable Lucian Ellery Theodore and theophanies, and John of Masco someone others.

So exactly a difference between Catholic and Protestant opinions so there are a lot of overlapping gray areas. That's a second position is the third one. Christ is the rock is a minority view among Protestants, but it's usually explain this way by saying that what Jesus was doing was making a pun on Peter's name is name is Petross's the Greek word for a stone or a rock's Hebrew name Cephas means exactly the same thing, but when Jesus said Peter upon this rock can change the masculine form Petrus the patois, which according to this view, means foundation Walker bedrock. The idea would be Peter your Little Rock.

Some people would say your little pebble stone not work much easily kicked around. Certainly he was upon this bedrock, meeting himself on going to build a church on the view has some weaknesses on obvious one is a Jesus was speaking in Aramaic, not in Greek and Aramaic you don't have that distinction somewhat even argue that the distinction doesn't exist in Greek either course we have the Bible in Greek those words we have to work with. That's what has been inspired by the Holy Spirit. But there's another side to it. One thing Jesus and his teaching is already been introduced as a foundation stone in Matthew you find it in the sermon on the Mount, Jesus called attention to the wise man who built his house upon the rock onto the very word was the teaching and person of Christ, and later on, even in this gospel.

Jesus is going to refer to himself as the stone the builders rejected, which has become the capstone. Where entire Gospel of Matthew ever hinted Peter is the rock and there's a theological argument.

Many times in the Old Testament you find the God of Israel, Jehovah being described as the rock which is entirely appropriate because that's the foundation and security of his people the same way.

It's quite natural to have Jesus the son of God, and remember he has just been identified as the son of God.

In this passage being described as the rock will not make sense. Peter vacillating Peter week Peter a mere man in the foundation of the church. They when you begin to think that way. It becomes difficult to hold that earlier interpretation. I suppose it's this that got through to St. Augustine as St. Augustine later in his life, wrote a volume called retractions in which he went back over his earlier writing and corrected mistakes that he obeyed one of them had to do with the treatise he had written in opposition to the Donatists and the acknowledge there one point and not working at called Peter. The rock that he was wrong and he had since come to believe that the rocket only be Jesus Christ. As far as I'm concerned. I couldn't believe that Peter is the rock in that limited sense. Some of the best of the Protestant commentators states that is, Jesus started with that great confession was foundational a certain sense and Peter had a certain amount of leadership in the early church, but the reason I hold of this third position is for this reason, that is Peter's own testimony, you come to first Peter second chapter, verses four through eight you find Peter talking there about Jesus Christ and these drawing from the Old Testament to bring in all of the teaching that has to do with Jesus being the rock has three great Old Testament quotations.

Isaiah 28, 16, first of all, this is where he begins because it's the clearest of all these texts and identifying Jesus Christ is a cornerstone in the stone laden his lie and say I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone one trust in him will never be put to shame saying there is a Jesus was chosen by God. It was precious to God and that people are saved on the basis of their relationship to him by trusting in him because Isaiah in order to make his point that he is another tax that's all modern 18 verse 22 is the text that talks about rejection or Jesus is the stone but the stone the builders rejected, which is become the capstone. Jesus himself and use the verse that way.

On one occasion he told a parable certain man who was a farmer at a vineyard.

He went away and he left it in the hands of tenant farmers were to take care of it when he came back they were to give them a share of the of the results with what they produce.

The course I didn't want to do that so he sent servants to them beat up the servants. Finally, he said well I'll send my son. Certainly I respect him when he sent his son these dishonest farmers killed the son, saying that we just get rid of the air, then it will all become ours in Jesus asked the question is what is the farmer going to do when he comes back. How's he going to treat this on a tenant farmers and they got it right. They said when he comes back it will bring those wretches store wretched and rent the vineyard. Other farmers and they'll give them a share of the crop harvest time. And Jesus said that's right.

That was the right answer. Then he said you never read in the Scriptures stone the builders rejected has become the capstone report is done. This is marvelous in our eyes they understood exactly what he was talking about, they hated important, the owner of the vineyard was the father. They were the tenant farmers. He was the son going to kill him. The only thing I could expect was the judgment of God for their evil deeds.

Peter was Larry heard that he learned from that. So when he came to write about.

Jesus is the rock as he does in his first letter he quotes that verse also then the final money goes back to Isaiah again Isaiah 84. This adds the thought of stumbling the prior thought of rejecting Jesus he meant that rejecting him is no small matter has serious consequences stumble at the stone of stumbling as the ball bounced spiritually and forever lost a parish go to hell. So Peter seems to have understood that the rock was Jesus anywhere claims that it would be otherwise.

I think Peter of all people would be the last person on earth to claim that he was the rock and take away anything from Jesus Christ was not the only question about this matter. The gates of Hades, can be taken in a couple ways. Jesus says the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church. This is in such an important question, but it is a puzzle is usually understood as saying that the attacks of Satan will never succeed in overthrowing the church forgets the image backward. That's where gates are concerned. Gates are defensive you closure gates of the Army can't get in veiling is in Christ, write words and I would be the church attacking the stronghold of Satan and then gates would have to be over, and so on. It's true that were engaged in spiritual warfare. But that's not usually the way the Bible talks about gates and evangelism. One other way of looking at it is to say that this is just an image for death because it was a popular image in the day to say that the gates of hell represented death passing through the gates was to buy doesn't mean the hell of suffering as we talk about it today, but she all the abode of the data might be. That's what Jesus is saying are not sure the answer in that case, I suppose.

The first is probably better, but in any case, the meaning is the same. Nothing is ever going to overcome the church on is establishing the church is doing a powerfully those were joined to him in faith are certainly going to persevere and be safe. I would even suggest that this supports the interpretation of the rock that I take because you may recall that when Satan asked permission to blow on Peter say just be like chaff wills puffed from Satan would blow it away entirely.

Jesus acknowledges that was true. Satan would fall, but he said I prayed for you that your faith may not fail so Peter Massa later certainly a parish of the reason he didn't perish is that he was built upon the rock, which is Jesus Christ become the last question I want to wrap this up in a positive way.

Peter is also said to be given the keys of the kingdom of heaven was added promise, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven, I will. The world does that mean that mean that Peter was given the exclusive and daunting privilege of determining who it was and would get to heaven, and it would not. Jesus really placing the eternal destinies of human men and women in Peter's hands number of interpretations.

First of all Peter and his successors have been given authority to receive or exclude individual people from salvation. This is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church for Catholicism teaches that there is no salvation apart from the fellowship of the church folk to be excluded from the church by excommunication is to be severed from the body of Christ person dying in that state will go to hell. Priests have this authority in a limited way, but ultimately it resides in the hands of the Pope Catholic position now.

Secondly, is the idea that what this means is that ministers have authority to announce forgiveness of sins of those who repent of sin and turn to Jesus Christ and this is the Protestant position. Generally speaking, finds expression in those parts of Protestant services which are known as the confession of sin and the assurance of pardon many liturgical services is a moment when people confess their sins and historic language and then minister speaks to that after assuring him that if they have confess their sin, seeking forgiveness in Christ. They can be assured that the Heidelberg catechism has a classic statement of this position goes like this, they asked the question how is the kingdom of heaven open and shut by the preaching of the gospel and the answer is this by proclaiming and openly witnessing. According to the command of Christ to believers one at all whenever they receive the promise of the gospel by a true faith all their sins are really forgiven them abroad. The sake of Christ merits. On the contrary, by proclaiming and witnessing to all unbelievers, such as do not sincerely repent of the wrath of God and eternal condemnation abiding on them. As long as they are not converted.

Let's second interpretation. The third what is this Peter was given the keys to them and that he use them. Use the Persky at Pentecost when he preached the gospel to Jews in many were converted and enter the kingdom. Use the second key when God led him to the house of Cornelius the gentle Alan he preached the Gentiles in the kingdom of heaven was opened to them through that preaching now that's a minority view among Protestants is one that could be taken seriously. For one thing, it seems to be the view that has been adopted by no less careful and influential commentator and John Stott says in his commentary on acts we've already watched Peter use these keys effectively opening the kingdom of the Jews on the day of Pentecost and then to the Sanhedrin soon afterwards we still use them again to open the kingdom to Gentiles by evangelizing and baptizing Cornelius the first Gentile convert when we come to the end of this section and let me wrap it up in this way, Matthew records, there that what Jesus said to his disciples was that they should not tell anyone that he was the Christ.

We can understand the reason for that. And it's because in his day.

There were so many misconceptions of what the Messiah was to do the disciples had gone out and said well Jesus is finally declared himself. He actually is the Christ, we confess that instead it's a revelation from the father that would've introduced all kinds of misunderstandings among the people they would've expected him, be a king drive out the Romans, all that kind of thing Jesus kept that quiet as much as possible until after his death and resurrection when they could proclaim it with the understanding of what he actually had come to do that was then this is now on the day there's no reason to preserve what some people call the messianic secret.

On the contrary, is every reason and in fact there is Christ's own command proclaim it and proclaim it widely. Who is Jesus Christ.

He is the Christ the son of the living God, the divine the Savior become the duly came to die for our sin, he is the sinner Savior.

Therefore repent of sin and the trust them for salvation is to find salvation is to pass from death to life rejected Mr. Parrish forever will reason the parish will do it Protestant men have the opportunity before you all your life telling other people they can trust to father, we thank you for this clear confession on the part of Peter from Lowe's down through the history of the church of likewise confess Christ before the world, acknowledging him as the son of God and the Savior. Thank you for those were doing it today.

We pray that your blessing might be upon them and upon all who truly know you there witness might be blessed Manny through that witness blessed by your spirit might pass from death to life. We pray in Jesus name. You are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON, and one scene 2Y9 ask for your free resource catalog between books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and thank you again for your continued support and for listening to Bible study

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