Mat 16 outline:
Mat 16:1-4, Pharisees and Sadducees seek a sign/ no sign but the prophet Jonah
Mat 16:5-12, Beware of the leaven (doctrine) of the Pharisees and Sadducees
Mat 16:13-20, Peter proclaims Jesus the Messiah/ Jesus blesses Peter, commands they tell no one
Mat 16:21, Jesus foretells His death + resurrection
Mat 16:22-23, Peter rebukes Jesus/ Jesus rebukes Satan
Mat 16:24-28, True disciples deny self, will see His glory at His coming
Mat 16 chiastic structure:
1a) Mat 16:1-4, Hypocrites seek to see a sign;
1a) Mat 16:1, Pharisees + Sadducees tested Him and asked for a sign from heaven;
1b) Mat 16:2-3a, You predict the weather by the red appearance of the sky;
central axis) Mat 16:3b, Hypocrites!
2b) Mat 16:3c, You can discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times;
2a) Mat 16:4, A wicked + adulterous generation asks for a sign/ no sign except that of the prophet Jonah;
1b) Mat 16:5-12, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees + Sadducees (self-love + self-promotion);
1c) Mat 16:13-20, Peter proclaims Jesus/ Jesus blesses Peter;
central axis) Mat 16:21, Jesus foretells His death and resurrection;
2c) Mat 16:22-23, Peter rebukes Jesus/ Jesus rebukes Satan;
2b) Mat 16:24-26, Let true disciples deny self + lose their lives for My sake;
2a) Mat 16:27-28, Some (who have not sought a sign) will see His glory.
Why couldn’t the Pharisees and Sadducees see the signs of Messiah that the centurions, tax- collectors, sinners, and Canaanites saw? When John the Baptist sent disciples to Jesus to ask Him, “Are you the One that we seek, or should we look for another?,” Jesus answered, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Mat 11:2-5). He was saying, “What do the message of the signs tell you? That is your answer.”
But Jesus has been working signs daily since the beginning of His public ministry. Why then did the Pharisees and Sadducees need to see a miraculous sign when miraculous signs followed Jesus everywhere He went?
It is the same reason that Jesus said, If a man won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, then he won’t be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead. The rich man, who died and whose life was now one of torment in Hades, wanted Father Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead, to warn his brothers what their end would be if they didn’t repent. And Abraham said, “Let them listen to Moses and the Prophets.” But the rich man wanted someone to rise from the dead to tell them – he wanted a miraculous sign, since neither he during his life, nor his brothers, had listened to Moses and the Prophets. Abraham replied that if they would not listen to Moses and the Prophets, then neither would they listen should someone rise from the dead (Luk 16:19-31).
In other words, people believe what they have already set their hearts on believing, no matter what evidence is presented to them to the contrary. But someone whose heart is already good soil, has ears to hear and eyes to see, and will recognize the message of the signs. The leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees inoculated their hearts, and closed their eyes and ears. And what was their leaven? They loved the praise of men. They loved being an authority. They loved their pride and prestige. They ceased being wise, because a wise man, when he is corrected, learns to be wiser still. He has a humble, contrite, and teachable heart. The doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees does not allow for correction. The doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees takes offense. They did not deny themselves, but they promoted themselves. Let us also be on guard against that tiniest foothold!