The initial confession of Christ made by Peter, v16, is immediately followed by further teaching from the Saviour, v21. It is this development of the Divinely given wisdom that prompts Peter’s foolish outburst in v22.
The wisdom granted by the Father to His children is designed to be increased and developed. Cp Matt 11:25, 29. It is the Saviour’s business to communicate this instruction. Cp Rev 1:1, John 15:15.
I THE SAVIOUR TEACHES HIS DISCIPLES.
- This is the natural consequence of instruction by the Father, v17. There is a basic wisdom that motivates the disciples of Christ to follow Him, acknowledging Him as Christ and the true, living God. This is given in regeneration and is the essence of eternal life, John 17:3, 6:45. Yet this is to be developed and increased. This involves teaching by the Saviour Himself. If Christ is what the Father reveals Him to be then He has the authority to teach and the knowledge that needs to be grasped by the disciple. There is a unique teaching role that belongs to Christ, Matt 23:8, 10. He exercises this ministry directly in the life of the disciple through His word and Spirit, John 14:26, Eph 4:21.
- From that time… There is a time for the disciple to learn from the Saviour. The time in view here may be seen:
- to follow immediately from Peter’s confession. The statement Peter made indicated that the time was now right for instruction on these other matters. Until that knowledge of v16 is in place there can be no progress in knowledge.
- to immediately precede the events described. The time for the fulfillment of these things was coming very close. What the Saviour teaches must be closely listened to as it what we need to know now and apply in the very near future!
- Christ’s teaching described. It was a revelation—began to shew... He was exposing to their mental vision the truths detailed in the verse. The Saviour’s great ministry is to make men see certain things. Cp Eph 3:8-9, 2 Peter 3:18, Rev 1:1.
- His audience. He was speaking to disciples. Those who followed as ‘learners’. Here is the fulfillment of their calling and duty. To be taught by the Saviour is the chief function of the disciple. Cp Luke 10:39, 42.
II HIS SUBJECT MATERIAL—WHAT HE TAUGHT THEM.
- The sovereign purpose of God. He taught them what must be. The disciple is given an insight in to the determinate counsel (Acts 2:23, 4:28) of God as the Saviour instructs them. Cp Rev 1:1. Here is a perspective on the wisdom the disciple is to possess. We are to know the mind of God as it is communicated through Christ’s word. This was again His theme in Luke 24:25-27. This knowledge is to be received as unalterably determined. By the eternal decree of God. Cp Eph 1:11.
- He teaches them what He faces as the Divinely appointed Redeemer. He has been acknowledged as the Christ, v16. Yet this office and its implications had been subject to innumerable errors which affected even the disciples’ concept of the work of Christ. The names, titles and especially the work of the Lord Jesus must be defined in the light of His instruction. Many can use the titles but do so in utter folly. For a moment here, Peter is speaking of the Christ but entertains a devilish definition of that title/office.
- Rejection by Jewish authorities. The disciple must learn about the treatment of Christ by sinful, though religious, men. Cp Is 53:1-3. Rejection and not acceptance was the Saviour’s lot in His first advent. Cp John 7:7.
- Death. The whole emphasis of the Scriptures was upon this point—Christ would die as the sacrifice for sin. Yet clearly the disciples did not grasp this as they ought. God’s people can be wrong on very basic gospel issues! Our knowledge of Christ and His work is sadly limited and can vary wildly from day to day. The doctrine of the cross is one in which we are sadly deficient. The verses that follow find the Saviour returning to this point in application, v24ff. The doctrine of Christ’s death has practical implications for the disciple daily.
- Resurrection. The Saviour teaches that He will rise again from the dead, v21. While resurrection had rarely been witnessed at this point, it had happened. Most recently, in the case of Jairus’ daughter (Matt 9:25).
The Saviour’s words on these matters are explicit, clear and unmistakable if words mean anything. Taken at face value there can be no misunderstanding of them.
- He only made a beginning. Here is a subject in which there is a need for repeated, continual instruction from the Saviour. There was much to learn about these subjects and their implications. This is just an elementary statement of the truths they needed to know much more about. It is an outline of the syllabus of Christian learning. Though they did not know it at the time. The Saviour was dealing with the entire body of Divine truth, Luke 24:26, Acts 3:18, 24, 1 Pet 1:11. What scope for learning there is here!
- Teaching in action. The Saviour taught by His own example here. He speaks of the constraint that He Himself was under to comply with the Divinely revealed purpose. He must go… He sets a marvelous example that we must learn from, v24. He lived what He taught. He was compelled by the Word.
Learning and following Christ go together. One is impossible without the other.
III THIS TEACHING IS WHAT PETER OBJECTS TO.
In the face of the Saviour’s teaching and example of a Biblical imperative to act in a certain way, Peter rises in sudden opposition to it. This is nothing short of rebellion, mutiny against God and His Christ. This is a sobering incident as it shines light on what the best of Christians are capable of at times.
- Peter’s actions. There are several aspects to what Peter does here:
- He speaks against Christ. His actual words are recorded in v22. They are a direct contradiction of what Christ has just said. In this as v23 shows, he is speaking for and as the devil! He can still say Lord and yet be the mouth of Satan. This is a frightening display of how grievously a disciple can err, in a moment!
- He takes Christ aside. The idea in the expression, v22 is that he drew the Saviour close to himself. Even in this physical way Peter is seeking to influence the Saviour out of the course He has adopted and draw Him to Peter’s own path. How perverse such an action becomes however—what might normally be an act of love/kindness is an act of treachery and opposition.
- Peter began to rebuke the Saviour. Here is another beginning. Cp v21. The word rebuke comes from a verb that also means to honour. Peter is decidedly not honouring Christ in this encounter. This was just the start of what Peter had to say! There is no end to the folly a disciple may show in this way.