Matthew 16

This devotional is written by Fiona English.

Matthew 16

The demand for a sign
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

2 He replied, ‘When evening comes, you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,” 3 and in the morning, “Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.” You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.’ Jesus then left them and went away.

The yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees
5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 ‘Be careful,’ Jesus said to them. ‘Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’

7 They discussed this among themselves and said, ‘It is because we didn’t bring any bread.’

8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, ‘You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’

14 They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’

15 ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’

16 Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’

17 Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Jesus predicts his death
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

28 ‘Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.’


Throughout this year time and time again I have heard God tell me to leave my job. During small group prayer I’ve asked for clarity on this and felt it confirmed, in passages that have been brought up, in pictures and dreams and when I’ve asked for confirmation I’ve felt God say yup: I should leave my job. Every time I’ve heard this I’ve then prayed again: “Yes but God should I leave my job?”

We arrive at Matthew 16 off the back of loads of really phenomenal miracles that Jesus has performed amongst the poor, vulnerable, lost and lonely. But the proud Pharisees and Sadducees come at the start of this chapter and ask for further proof. Jesus challenges them and then in perhaps the boldest and most disarming move he could play; he walks away.

How many times have we asked God to answer a question he’s already answered? Desperate perhaps for a more convenient answer. The good news we are reminded about in this chapter isn’t convenient but rather to take up our cross and follow Jesus.

I finally stopped asking this Autumn and handed in my notice. Within 10 minutes of that in-the-eyes-of-the-world absurd decision I’d been offered a dream job I hadn’t even applied for doing something I am under qualified for and even more remarkably part-time - something I was praying for but seemed impossible.

Today I pray that we would step forward boldly in to the things that God has promised. Let’s walk by faith and not by sight in to the good things God has in store.

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