|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:13-20 Peter, for himself and his brethren, said that they were assured of our Lord's being the promised Messiah, the Son of the living God. This showed that they believed Jesus to be more than man. Our Lord declared Peter to be blessed, as the teaching of God made him differ from his unbelieving countrymen. Christ added that he had named him Peter, in allusion to his stability or firmness in professing the truth. The word translated rock, is not the same word as Peter, but is of a similar meaning. Nothing can be more wrong than to suppose that Christ meant the person of Peter was the rock. Without doubt Christ himself is the Rock, the tried foundation of the church; and woe to him that attempts to lay any other! Peter's confession is this rock as to doctrine. If Jesus be not the Christ, those that own him are not of the church, but deceivers and deceived. Our Lord next declared the authority with which Peter would be invested. He spoke in the name of his brethren, and this related to them as well as to him. They had no certain knowledge of the characters of men, and were liable to mistakes and sins in their own conduct; but they were kept from error in stating the way of acceptance and salvation, the rule of obedience, the believer's character and experience, and the final doom of unbelievers and hypocrites. In such matters their decision was right, and it was confirmed in heaven. But all pretensions of any man, either to absolve or retain men's sins, are blasphemous and absurd. None can forgive sins but God only. And this binding and loosing, in the common language of the Jews, signified to forbid and to allow, or to teach what is lawful or unlawful.
Verse 20. - Then charged he his disciples. Immediately after Peter's confession and Jesus' promise. St. Matthew's word "charged" (διεστείλατο) becomes more emphatic in the other synoptists (ἐπετίμησεν), implying a command with a rebuke attached to it on its infringement; Vulgate, comminatus est (Mark 8:30). That they should tell no man that he (au)to\) was [Jesus] the Christ. The received text inserts the word "Jesus," but very many good manuscripts omit it; and it seems to have been received by inadvertence, the point being that he was Messiah. The injunction to tell no man (with which comp. Matthew 8:4) was necessary at this time for many reasons. The time was not ripe for the declaration which might have led to tumult and disorder among an excited populace. Any ambitious ideas which the apostles might have formed from what had just passed were here nipped in the bud. They were not sufficiently familiar with the true notion of the Messiah, especially a suffering Messiah, to be competent to preach him to others. This we see by Peter's inconsiderate remonstrance in ver. 22. Till they received the Holy Ghost after Christ's ascension, they could not rightly and profitably preach of Christ's nature, office, and kingdom. Jesus may have looked forward to their desertion of him in his hour of trial, and prevented them from proclaiming his real character, which, in the face of such desertion, would have proved a stumbling block to the faith of believers. Some of these reasons we may reverently believe were those which led Christ to lay this severe restriction on the enthusiasm of his followers (see on Matthew 17:9).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then charged he his disciples,.... When Peter had so freely and fully confessed him to be the Messiah, and which was the sense of all the disciples; and when Christ had expressed his approbation of his confession, and had promised such great and excellent things upon it, he gave a strict charge unto his disciples,
that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. The word Jesus is not in some copies; and is left out in the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions; nor does it seem absolutely necessary; it was enough to charge them to tell no man that he was the Messiah: his reasons for it might be, lest his enemies, the Scribes and Pharisees, should be the more provoked and incensed against him, and seek his death before his time; and lest the jealousy of the Romans should be stirred up, who might fear he would set up himself against Caesar, as king of the Jews, which might lead them to take measures obstructive of his further designs; and lest some persons, hearing of this, should rise and proclaim him king of the Jews, who were big with the notion of the Messiah being a temporal prince: and moreover, because the disciples were to attest the truth of this after his resurrection; and he chose, for the present, that the people should collect this from his own ministry and miracles, which were sufficient to lead them into the knowledge of it, without any declarations of their's: and though they were possessed of true faith in him, as such, for themselves, as yet they had not the gifts and abilities to defend those doctrines respecting his person, and his offices, they had after the Spirit was poured down upon them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ—Now that He had been so explicit, they might naturally think the time come for giving it out openly; but here they are told it had not.
Announcement of His Approaching Death and Rebuke of Peter (Mt 16:21-28).
The occasion here is evidently the same.
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