Matthew 16:13-20 has been an essential passage in the lives of all Christians. many denominations use these verses to teach of the revelation of Simon and the critical role that he played during his discipleship and the upstart of the church. we have heard it preached using the entire passage and using quotes from one verse at a time. this assignment will break down the passage with the emphasis, first on verse 20, and then concluding on verse 18 (in blog post part 2). For verse 20, “Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.”, we strive to explain why Jesus did not want it announced that He was the Christ, when was it told, and why do we miss this while reading through the scriptures.
so why would Jesus insist on not having His fame spread abroad? He was the one they had been waiting for. He held the “words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Phil Ware wrote a devotion regarding this passage. in it, he states, “Jesus wants to redefine the meaning of Son of God. He wants to re-wire the circuits of what people think that it means to be the Christ, the Messiah. So until he can live it and show it, he doesn’t want others to spread it. He will let his life, the cross, and his resurrection define his identity. Only then will he send his disciples out to tell the entire world who he is! There is something wonderfully essential about the cross and resurrection that helps us define Jesus’ identity. Without them, not only are we misinformed, but we are also without a true Savior!”1 it is true that in the minds of most people of the day, they were awaiting a military leader, a king to save them from the oppression of Roman rule. Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world and the process through which He had to overcome would be misunderstood by many. only when the big picture was complete were the disciples able to explain to the multitudes who Jesus was, the purpose of the Christ and His Kingdom, and how these events have made it possible to lay claim on eternal life. in addition to the above explanation, I feel like Jesus was biding His time. romans would be after him as “King” and religious leaders would come after him earlier than he wanted for blasphemy. He wanted the focus to be on the message and not on being the “Messiah”. maybe His followers would stop the crucifixion and rise against religious leaders if they knew he was messiah. also, the religious leaders might not have pursued death if the majority was against them. in Spiritual matters, we often refer to “God’s perfect timing”. the blessing is in the waiting.
if Jesus had been so persistent as to His disciples not revealing His true identity and mission, when was it told? when was the perfect timing for this mystery to be brought to light? i believe the big reveal happened on the day of Pentecost. the stage was set, it was “finished”, Jesus was glorified, and the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon all flesh. in Acts 2:22, Peter begins to explain what they have observed and know about Jesus. they know He performed miracles and they know through first-hand account that He was delivered up to be crucified. suddenly, the crowd leans in, quiets down, and concentrates on the words being spoken as they hear, “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death” and “it was not possible that he should be holden of it”. their interest has been peaked as Peter quotes David’s words from Psalm 16, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Peter continues by preaching how this Psalm spoke of the resurrection of the Christ and they were witnesses to Jesus being alive. the event unfolding before the eyes of this congregation, and in their ears, was the promise of the Holy Ghost. I’m pretty sure there was not a drum-roll, maybe there should have been, for Acts 2:36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” there it is! the “Shhh” has been squelched forevermore and replaced with the knowledge of who Jesus Christ is, His purpose and resurrection, and the plan going forward!
when you look at these scriptures in this way, it is painfully evident that this was the plan the whole time. so why do we miss this when reading through the scriptures? why do we pass over the shhh? i believe we are viewing the scriptures from the right now. the disciples were living it each day and did not have access to the big picture. as Christians, knowing that Jesus was born to die and rise to bring hope, we casually skip past the shhh and continue with our devotion or reading, disregarding this vital moment. looking back, it was important for interactions and the miraculous to have been kept within the trusted group of followers until Jesus’ time was fully come.
1 Phil Ware “What Jesus Did! ‘Don’t Tell…Yet!’ – Matthew 16:20” Heartlight Devotionals,