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Matthew  ◦   Chapter 16

1 The lawyers and theologians from church headquarters came to challenge Jesus, questioning his legitimacy as a Bible teacher, and demanded that he show them a sign from heaven.

2 But Jesus said: "You have a saying, 'Red sky at night, sailors' delight;3 red sky at morning, sailors take warning.' How is it that you can read the signs for the weather but don't recognize the signs of the times?4 Only a generation lost in selfishness, who rejects God's methods, looks for miraculous signs while ignoring the evidence all around them. But no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah." Then Jesus turned and left.

5 They crossed the lake, but once on the other side, the disciples realized that they hadn't brought anything to eat.6 Jesus said to them, "Keep sharp, stay vigilant, and watch closely to keep the yeast of the lawyers and theologians out of church headquarters."

7 The disciples were too concrete in their thinking and said, "Is it because we didn't bring any bread with us that he mentioned yeast?"

8 Overhearing their conversation, Jesus said: "Do you have such little confidence in me? Is your perspective so small that you think only about food for the body?9 Don't you realize what is happening? Remember when we fed over five thousand people with five loaves? How many baskets of leftovers did you gather?10 Or when we fed over four thousand with seven loaves–how many baskets of leftovers did you gather then?11 Do you really think I am mainly concerned about food for the body? So keep sharp and stay vigilant, and watch closely to keep the yeast of the lawyers and theologians out from church headquarters."12 Then they understood that he was not talking about the yeast used in food for the body, but against the doctrines, theologies, traditions, and teachings of the lawyers and theologians from church headquarters.

13 When Jesus arrived in Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do the people say the Son of Man is?"

14 They answered, "Some people believe you are John the Baptist, others think you are Elijah, and still others believe you must be Jeremiah or one of the other of God's spokesmen."

15 "What about you? Who do you tell people I am?"

16 Simon Peter answered instantly, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!"

17 Jesus smiled and said: "Well done, Simon, son of Jonah. You did not gain this truth from humans, but from my Father in heaven.18 And though you are Peter — your name meaning small stone — it is on the solid Rock of the Son of Man that I will build my church, and hell's barricade of selfishness and lies will not stop it.19 I will give you the Spirit empowering you with truth and love, which are the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind to truth and love on earth will be bound to truth and love in heaven, and whatever you loose from fear and selfishness on earth will be loosed from fear and selfishness in heaven."20 Then Jesus instructed his disciples not to tell people that he was the Messiah, because it was not yet time.

21 From then on, Jesus began explaining to his disciples that he must face the church leaders in Jerusalem, suffer many abuses at the hands of the church elders, pastors, priests, church administrators and lawyers, and that they would kill him, but on the third day after his death he would arise to life.

22 Peter was shocked. He pulled Jesus into a corner and tried to dissuade him from this course, saying, "No way, Lord! Never will this happen to you!"

23 Jesus looked at Peter and said, "Get Satan's ideas of selfishness away from me! You are not encouraging me but trying to trip me up; you are not thinking through the lens of God's methods of love but allowing human fear and selfishness to dominate your thinking."

24 Then Jesus said to all the disciples: "If anyone wants to follow me into unity with my Father, they must surrender their life, willingly choose to die to selfishness, and follow me in love.25 For anyone who follows the survival-of-the-fittest instinct and seeks to save their life, will lose it because the infection of selfishness will not be eliminated; but anyone who loses their life in love for me will find eternal life, for they will have been restored back to God's design for life–selfless, other-centered love.26 What good does it do to selfishly hoard all the treasures of the world only to die eternally, consumed by selfishness? Or how much is a person's soul–their eternal existence–worth to them?27 For the Son of Man is going to return in the fullness of his Father's glory, with his angels, and then each person will receive the reward they have chosen.28 I tell you the plain truth, some of you right here will not sleep in the grave before you see the Son of Man glorified in his kingdom of love."