Matthew 16: 13-20 Analysis

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Who is Jesus? The answer is ultimately revealed in the highly controversial Matthew 16:13-20 passage through Peter’s confession and Jesus’ response. This paper, through careful analysis of the greek text and critical use of primary and secondary sources, draws out an exegesis of three essential themes found within the passage. Firstly, Peter’s confession of faith that Jesus is Messiah as being a fundamental basis for the building of a new community. Secondly, the highly debated wordplay between Πέτρος and πέτρα, and the definition of Peter’s new role. Finally, the meaning of ‘binding and loosing’, and what that means for the church.

Examination of Greek text for Matthew 16:13-20
‘Jesus’ was a common name up to the beginning
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Jesus himself asks the disciples the question in a way that does not seek pure information. Rather, Jesus wishes to draw out an explicit confession of his messianic identity. While Jesus asks the group of disciples collectively “Who do you say I am?” (v 15), Matthew is concerned with showing Peter as the spokesperson who speaks on behalf of the whole group. Margaret Davies also believes that Peter was looked upon as the disciples spokesperson. In v 14 Matthew leads the reader to compare Jesus with great men of the past. As one reads, one realises that Jesus is much more than these men. He is the promised Messiah, the one they had been waiting for. For Matthew, the messiah is more than just a mere human, Jesus is the unique manifestation of God, a revelation. Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Messiah is indeed one of the key aspects of the passage and Peter’s confession of faith was a gift from God. Davies states that Peter was blessed due to the fact that he could not come up with this confession that Jesus is the Christ by himself, the human mind is not capable. This confession of faith itself was a revelation from God. Perhaps the response Jesus provides Peter in v 17 shows that the way in which Peter spoke was much like a prophet of old. Worthy of mention is …show more content…
16:13-20. It is key because without the Messianic title, Jesus would have no authority to be the ‘builder’ of this new community progressing from the days of the OT. In the same manner that Abraham’s faith was accredited to him as righteous and he was blessed, we see here that Peter’s confession of faith brings blessing and a new responsibility. Peter essentially becomes the new Abraham. The Πέτρος name change in v16 can be viewed as a reference to Abraham, and the imagery within the wordplay provides stability and assurance for a new community built on the foundation of Jesus. Peter became the first stone of this new building to establish the new Christian community, and every christian since Peter who also confesses Jesus as Messiah can play a role to metaphorically add stones to this building. As the initial spokesperson, Peter is thereby given the keys to the kingdom of heaven to bind and loose. This phrase in v19 contains significant priestly OT language and provides adequate evidence that Peter is to be a priest in the new temple community. Through the Holy Spirit, believers also have the rights through confession of Jesus as Messiah to play a part in the kingdom of heaven to bind and loose under Jesus’ established teachings. Jesus’ statutes do not change, whatever is bound or loosed on earth is recognised when it is linked to what has already been permitted through Messianic authority. The church has

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