Matthew 16 – Thou art the Christ

Matthew 16 The Rock of Revelation

This chapter has many practical applications to young people.  At issue is what we believe Jesus to be.  We must come to know that Jesus is the Christ by the same means as Peter.  There is enough evidence to suggest to us that this is something to be taken seriously.  Witnesses have testified, and now we, the mortal jurors, must come with our own personal verdict.  Peter’s response is what I desire to see in every student that I teach.  His journey is our journey.  Peter, Joseph, Mary, and so many others in the New Testament came to know that Jesus is the Christ by the Holy Ghost.  God stands revealed or forever remains unknown.

Matthew 16:13. Coasts of Caesarea Philippi: Not a coastal but an inland area, located some distance north of the Sea of Galilee, near Mount Hermon and the source of the Jordan River. Coasts frequently means territory or region according to the usage of the King James translators. Mark designates the area as “the towns of Caesarea Philippi.” (Mark 8:27.) (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary,1: 381.)

Matthew 16:16 – Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God: Peter spoke as the Holy Ghost gave him utterance, bearing his own personal testimony and acting as mouth for his brethren of the Twelve. But great and majestic as Peter’s confession was, it brought forth no new or novel doctrine; it was not forthcoming as the climax of a long period of training and schooling which convinced the apostles that their Master was the Messiah, as some have falsely supposed. Rather, it was the spoken averment of what had long been in the hearts of each of them; it was a plain and inspired restatement of the same testimony the true disciples had been bearing from the very time of Jesus’ birth. (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary,1:382)

What is the rock in this passage?  It is revelation.

Joseph Smith

Jesus in his teaching says: “Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” What rock? Revelation. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 273-74. )

Even the least saint: “God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor, Know ye the Lord; for all shall know Him (who remain) from the least to the greatest” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 149).

The Spirit speaks to us in different ways: “The Spirit of Revelation is in connection with these blessings. A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith , 151).

T+E+P= TTOG (Time+Experience+Pondering= Knowing The Things of God): A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; because the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart!” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 137).

Matthew 16:19 The Keys of the Kingdom

Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Peter

“At the Copenhagen Denmark Area Conference held August 3–5, 1976, President [Spencer W.] Kimball went to see Thorvaldsen’s beautiful sculpture[s]. . . . After a few spiritual moments admiring The Christus, President Kimball bore his testimony to the caretaker who stood nearby. As he turned to the statue of Peter and pointed to the large set of keys in Peter’s right hand, he proclaimed: ‘The keys of priesthood authority which Peter held as President of the Church I now hold as President of the Church in this dispensation.’ Then he stated to the caretaker, ‘You work every day with Apostles in stone, but today you are in the presence of living Apostles.’ He then introduced President N. Eldon Tanner, Elder Thomas S. Monson, and Elder Boyd K. Packer. He presented the caretaker with a Book of Mormon in Danish, and bore his testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The caretaker was moved to tears in acknowledgment of the Spirit he felt in the presence of a prophet and Apostles. He acknowledged to me as we left the church, ‘Today I have been in the presence of servants of God.’” (Examples from the life of a prophet, Elder Robert D. Hales, October 1981 General Conference).

Keys of the Kingdom

Matthew 16:24-26 Lose your life for my sake “The Lord Wants You to Give the Balance of Your Life to the Church”

“We were in Canada. I was . . . an attorney for an oil company and a manager of it. We were drilling wells and making money. I was at the moment up in the Canadian Rockies, way back from the highways. We were drilling there. Everything looked very prosperous. I woke very early one morning before daylight. I was troubled in my mind, and I didn’t know the source or the reason for the trouble. And I began to pray, but didn’t seem to get an answer. And I remembered that the Savior was wont to go into the mountain tops frequently. You remember, his life was punctuated by mountain peaks. There is the mountain peak of the temptation, there is the mountain peak of the transfiguration, there is the mountain peak of the Beatitudes, there is the mountain peak from which he took flight into heaven. So thinking about this, I arose before daylight and went back up into the hills where I knew no one would be near. And when I got up on an advantageous point, I began to talk out loud. I was talking to God! Now, I do not mean that he was standing there listening to me or replying to me. But I mean from the center of my heart I was calling to him.

“Now my family were all in good health, all quite prosperous, and it looked as for myself that within a few days I would be a multimillionaire. And yet, I was depressed. And up there on that mountain peak I said to him, ‘O God, if what it seems is about to happen will happen, and if it is not to be for the best good of myself and my family and my friends, don’t let it happen. Take it from me.’ I said, ‘Don’t let it happen unless in your wisdom it is good for me.’ Well, I left the mountains and came down to the camp. I got into my car and drove to the city of Edmonton. It was a Friday, and while I was driving I was thinking of what had happened. And I felt that there was something impending that I couldn’t understand. When I arrived home, and after a bite to eat, I said to Sister Brown, ‘I think I’ll occupy the back bedroom because I’m afraid I’m not going to sleep.’ Now I went in the bedroom alone and there, through the night, I had the most terrible battle with the powers of the adversary. I wanted to destroy myself. Not in the sense of suicide; but something within me was impelling me to wish that I could cease to be. . . . It was terrible. The blackness was so thick you could feel it.

“Sister Brown came in later in the night, toward morning in fact, wanting to know what was the matter. And when she closed the door, she said, ‘What’s in this room?’ And I said, ‘Nothing but the power of the devil is in this room.’ And we knelt together by the bedside and prayed for release. We spent the night together, the balance of it. And in the morning I went down to my office. It was Saturday now and there was no one at the office. And in going into the office, I knelt by a cot and asked God for deliverance from the darkness that had enveloped me. And coming from somewhere there was an element of peace, the kind of peace that rests on the souls of men when they make contact with God. And I called her and said, ‘Everything is all right, or is going to be!’

“That night at 10:00 o’clock, October 1953—the telephone rang. Sister Brown answered. She called me and said, ‘Salt Lake’s calling,’ and I wondered who could be calling me from that far away. I took the phone and said, ‘Hello.’ ‘This is David O. McKay calling. The Lord wants you to give the balance of your life to Him and His Church. We are in a conference of the Church. The concluding session will be tomorrow afternoon. Can you get here?’

“I told him I couldn’t get there because there were no planes flying, but I would get there as soon as possible. I knew that a call had come. And the call came after this awful conflict with the adversary. And when he said, ‘The Lord wants you to give the balance of your life to the Church,’ I knew that it meant giving up the money; it meant that I’d turn everything over to someone else and go to Salt Lake without monetary remuneration.

“Since that time, I’ve been happier than ever before in my life. The men with whom I was associated have made millions. And yet, when one of them was in my office not long ago in Salt Lake, he said, ‘I am worth at least seven million dollars. I would gladly give every dollar of it to you if you could give me what you have. I can’t buy it with money, but I’d like to have what you have. What you have is peace of soul, and I cannot buy that with money.’” (Hugh B. Brown, “Eternal Progression,” Address to the student body, Church College of Hawaii, 16 Oct. 1964, pp. 8–10.)

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About LDS Scripture Teachings

I write about ways scripture applies in our lives: LDSScriptureTeachings.org
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