Matthew 16

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Matt 16:1 The Pharisees...desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven

Howard W. Hunter

"Perhaps it was with them, as with many today, that truth is not recognized as truth unless it is accompanied by the sensational. What would have been accomplished had the Lord called down thunder and lightning, or plucked a star from the sky, or divided the water to satisfy the curiosity of men? They would probably have said that it was the work of the devil, or that their eyes deceived them.

"Signs are evident to the faithful. Sick persons are healed; prayers are answered; changes are wrought in the lives of those who believe, accept, and live the commandments. We prove Christ by living the principles of his gospel." (That We Might Have Joy, 24.)

Matt 16:3 O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

Bruce R. McConkie

"The true signs of his divinity were before them. Let them pay attention to the doctrine he preached. Let them ask the lame and the blind and the deaf, who now leaped and saw and heard, let them learn from those whom he had healed whether he was the Son of God or not. Let them view the true signs of the times, not seek for something they had imagined in their evil hearts should be the case. The true signs were before them, and they could be read as easily as the signs foretelling the day's weather.

"And so it is today. The Lord has poured and is pouring out the signs of the times on every hand. He is showing forth the very things, promised of old, that are to herald the coming of the Son of Man. And the issue before all men is whether they are able to read the signs of the times or whether they will ignore the divine warnings and continue on their godless course to an assured destruction. The true saints have this promise: 'Unto you it shall be given to know the signs of the times, and the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.' (D&C 68:11.)" (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, 400.)

LeGrand Richards

"If the world could discern the signs of the times, it would not be difficult for them to understand that the God of Israel has set his hand to do a marvelous work and a wonder among his people in the earth and that there is a kingdom established that is ultimately destined to fill the whole earth. And it will do it because it is God's work and not the work of man.

"While I was president of the Southern States Mission, one of our missionaries wrote in from Florida and said, 'President Richards, I have been reading about the signs of the coming of the Lord.' He said, 'When the sun darkens and the moon ceases to give its light and the stars fall from heaven, everybody will know that he is coming.'

"And I wrote back and said, 'Probably they will know. The newspapers might announce some great phenomenon in the heavens, misplacement of planets, that have caused this consternation, and scientists will have their explanation to make of it, and unless they have faith in the Living God, unless as Jesus said, they can read the signs of the times, they may not know anything about what is going on in the world.'

"'Why,' I said, 'if the inhabitants of this earth had the ability and the power to read the signs of the times, they would know that already the Lord has given far more than the darkening of the sun or obscuring the light of the moon or causing the stars to fall from heaven, for what he has accomplished in the establishment of his kingdom in the earth in these latter days, and the unseen power operating in the world for the accomplishment of his purposes, are greater signs than any of these phenomena that we read about-the signs of his coming.'" (Conference Report, April 1951, Afternoon Meeting 40-41.)

Matt 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign

See also commentary for Matt 12:39.

Bruce R. McConkie

"Some sins cannot be separated; they are inseparably welded together. There never was a sign seeker who was not an adulterer, just as there never was an adulterer who was not also a liar. Once Lucifer gets a firm hold over one human weakness, he also applies his power to kindred weaknesses.

"'When I was preaching in Philadelphia,' the Prophet said, 'a Quaker called out for a sign. I told him to be still. After the sermon, he again asked for a sign. I told the congregation the man was an adulterer; that a wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and that the Lord had said to me in a revelation, that any man who wanted a sign was an adulterous person. 'It is true,' cried one, 'for I caught him in the very act,' which the man afterwards confessed when he was baptized.' (Teachings, p. 278.)" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1: 278)

Joseph Smith

"The principle is as correct as the one that Jesus put forth in saying that he who seeketh a sign is an adulterous person; and that principle is eternal, undeviating, and firm as the pillars of heaven; for whenever you see a man seeking after a sign, you may set it down that he is an adulterous man." (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3: 385.)

Matt 16:6 Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees

Neal A. Maxwell

"...Jesus perceptively warned His disciples against the 'leaven,' or doctrine, of the Pharisees and the Sadducees (see Matthew 16:6). Jesus' concerns would have included how their false doctrines led to false behavior, as in the ways in which Pharisees were ceremonial and proud. They expected an earthly paradise and a triumph in this world of a Messiah who would overthrow the hated Gentile rule. The doctrines in the plan of salvation do not so provide, however, since Christ's kingdom is not of this world (see John 18:36). The Sadducees denied the existence of angels and the preexistence; and not having the complete writings of Moses, they did not believe in a literal resurrection (see Acts 23:8). This haunting incompleteness regarding the words of Moses was confirmed by the Lord, who said: 'And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak. And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, I will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of men-among as many as shall believe.' (Moses 1:40-41.)

"No wonder a restoration was needed! No wonder the full scriptural record God has given us is so vital, lest we be affected by the 'leaven' of today's erroneous philosophies." (Lord, Increase Our Faith, 22.)

Matt 16:13 the Son of man

Christ often referred to himself as 'the Son of man,' although it should be rendered "Son of Man." The term itself is like a parable. To the spiritually blind, it implies that Jesus was a mere mortal, the son of Joseph and Mary. To the spiritually enlightened, the title means the Only Begotten Son of the Man of Holiness, a known title for Elohim, 'for in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of His Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ' (Moses 6:57).

Matt 16:13 Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Robert D. Hales

"Every person in the world at some point in his eternal progression is one day going to have to come to the moment of truth when he must answer the question, 'What think ye of Christ?' (Matt 22:42)

"Think of that. At one point in our eternal progression, each one of us is going to have to answer the question, Who is Jesus Christ? We are told that every eye shall see, every ear shall hear, and every knee shall bow, every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (see Philip. 2:10-11); 'When all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God' (Mosiah 27:31)

"...What think ye of Christ and whom say ye that he is? Many Christians profess to follow Jesus Christ but do not know him: 'And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent' (John 17:3).

"Many profess to be Christians and yet do not believe that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God, indeed, the eldest son of God the Father. Men are willing to follow some of his teachings but do not recognize the divine, eternal purpose and the significance of his life to all mankind. 'What think ye of Christ?' and 'Whom say ye that I am?' These were questions asked by Jesus to make men think, so that he might teach them who he was, that they might use their own free agency, come to their own conclusions and commitments, follow him, and gain a testimony that he is the Son of God, our Redeemer.

"Using the sacred scriptures we can know Jesus Christ. He is more than a great teacher; he is the Messiah. He was willing to lay down his life for us; he is the only one who could, as these scriptures testify." (Ensign, May 1979, 77)

Howard W. Hunter

"The Lord's invitation to follow him is extended to more persons than those who are ordained as special witnesses. The call is individual and personal, and it is compelling. We cannot stand forever between two opinions. Each of us must at some time face the crucial question: 'Whom say ye that I am?' (Matt. 16:15.) Our personal salvation depends on our answer to that question and our commitment to that answer. Peter's revealed answer was 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' (Matt. 16:16.) Many, many witnesses can give the identical answer by the same power, and I join with them in humble gratitude. But we must each answer the question for ourselves-if not now, then later; for at the last day, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ. Our challenge is to answer correctly and live accordingly before it is everlastingly too late." ("An Apostle's Witness of Christ," Ensign, Jan. 1984, 69)

Matt 16:15 But whom say ye that I am?

Neal A. Maxwell

"...Jesus' interrogation gave an opportunity for a declaration, and Peter seized upon it! This episode...seemed also to give the Twelve a chance to distinguish between various conclusions others had reached concerning Christ's identity and the correct conclusion.

"Jesus did not want erroneous or careless thinking done by his trusted Twelve. For instance, He did not want them following Him because they thought He was Elias! It reflects the precision that the Lord wants from us intellectually and spiritually-right reasons as well as right answers and right conduct!" (We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ, 163)

Matt 16:17 flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven

Robert L. Simpson

"Peter was the recipient of personal revelation! And in like manner this same sweet confirmation of testimony can permeate the hearts of all truth-seeking, conscientious Latter-day Saints the world over. This great gift of personal revelation is unmistakable; it is direct. It is a more sure communication than the audible spoken word, for that which we hear through mortal ears is sometimes distorted, so often misunderstood. This precious gift of spirit speaking to spirit is infallible and direct and, in the case just cited, came from a loving Heavenly Father to his faithful disciple Peter." (Conference Report, October 1965, Afternoon Meeting 77.)

Matt 16:18 upon this rock I will build my church

Joseph Smith

"Jesus in His teaching says, 'Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' What rock? Revelation." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 274)

David O. McKay

"By that He meant that as Simon's name 'Peter' means rock, so this testimony that comes by revelation shall be the rock upon which Christ's Church shall be built. Because when one receives such divine assurance in his soul that the gospel is true, no views of men, nor waves of temptation nor 'the power of hell' can deprive him of it. You remember when Jesus first met Simon, He said He should be called 'the Rock.' Ever since then it would seem that Jesus has been waiting for the time when Peter's testimony would be like his character-expressive and firm. That time has come; and Peter is now prepared to receive a greater responsibility." (Ancient Apostles, 48.)

Harold B. Lee

"If there be those who believe falsely that his Church was to be built upon the Apostle Peter to whom he spoke, remind all such that the Master said on another occasion that he, himself, was the 'stone' which men had rejected that was now to become 'the head of the corner' (Matt 21:42; Eph 2:20; Col 1:18) or the head of the Church. A church founded upon Peter or upon any other man would not be the Church of Jesus Christ but the church of Peter or that of any other man upon whom it was founded." (Decisions for Successful Living, 64 - 65.)

James E. Talmage

"Jesus said to him 'thou art Peter,' adding, 'and upon this rock I will build my church.' In the course of the general apostasy subsequent to the ancient apostolic ministry, the Bishop of Rome laid claim to supreme authority as the alleged lineal successor to Peter; and an erroneous doctrine gained currency to the effect that Peter was the 'rock' upon which the Church of Christ was founded. Detailed consideration of this inconsistent and infamous claim cannot be undertaken here; it is sufficient to say that a church founded or dependent upon Peter or any other man would be Peter's or the other man's church, and not the Church of Jesus Christ. (See The Great Apostasy, chap. 9; also 3 Ne. 27:1-8; also chapter 40 herein.)" (Jesus The Christ, 341)

Joseph F. Smith

"Some have held that revelation alone was the 'Rock' referred to. This could not be, because without Christ, revelation would not avail. Some have held it was 'Christ alone' that was meant as the 'Rock'; but this could not be, because without revelation, not even Simon Bar-jona could know that Jesus was 'The Christ, the Son of the Living God,' for 'flesh and blood' not only did not, but absolutely cannot reveal Christ unto man. The revelation must come from God. Therefore, it may be summed up, that 'The Christ,' and 'Revelation from God' constitute the 'Rock' on which Christ built and will build His Church. . . . I know that both Christ and revelation are essential to the salvation of man, and indispensible to the building up of the Church. Both go together; they are inseparable, and one without the other would not avail." (Joseph F. Smith, From Prophet to Son: Advice of Joseph F. Smith to His Missionary Sons, compiled by Hyrum M. Smith III and Scott G. Kenney, 87-88.)

Matt 16:18 the gates of hell shall not prevail against it

The doctrinal argument of the Roman Catholic Church is that there could be no Apostasy because the Lord promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. One could argue that Jesus is teaching that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the rock of revelation, but for the sake of discussion, lets assume He was referring to his church. The Lord does not always refer to his church as an organized ecclesiastical institution, 'Behold, this is my doctrine-whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church' (DC 10:68). In this sense, the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. The Apostasy, however, came according to prophecy:

'And the woman (the Church) fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore years.

And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought against Michael;

And the dragon prevailed not against Michael, neither the child, nor the woman which was the church of God, who had been delivered of her pains, and brought forth the kingdom of our God and his Christ.' (JST Rev. 12:5-7)

In the greatest conflict of human existence, the prophecy teaches that the dragon, who is the gatekeeper of hell, would not prevail against 'the woman, which was the church of God' or those souls who repent and come unto Christ. Orson Pratt taught where the Church was to be taken for its preservation:

"They argue, that if the Church has ceased to exist, the gates of hell have prevailed over her and the promise of Jesus must be falsified. But we would inform the Catholics, that the Church of Christ has not ceased to exist, neither has Peter ceased his existence, but both the Church and Peter are in heaven (the place prepared of God to feed the woman), far out of the reach of the gates of hell, and far out of the reach of the abominable soul-destroying impositions of popery...And thus when the Catholics and Protestants hear all the heavens, and all the holy apostles and prophets, rejoicing over the downfall of Babylon, they will learn that the Church of Christ still exists in heaven and that the gates of hell have not prevailed against her; then they will learn where the apostolical and prophetical power rests." (Orson Pratt's Works, 198.)

Harold B. Lee

"There are those with limited or little understanding who believe that statement to refute our teaching that there has been an apostasy. They say, 'If there was an apostasy, then the gates of hell did prevail against the Church, contrary to the words of the Savior to Peter.'

"As I have thought of the true meaning of that statement, I have said to myself, 'Oh, how great is the wisdom of God as contrasted with the foolishness of men.'

"...As President Joseph Fielding Smith told us this morning, it was not God who sealed the heavens following a dispensation of the gospel. It was man. Hence, we are to believe that there would have been but one dispensation beginning with Adam and reaching down to now, except had it been for the wickedness of men.

"That plan contemplated the preaching of the gospel to those who were in the spirit world, who had departed this life without having had ample opportunity of hearing the gospel. It contemplated the vicarious work to be carried on in behalf of those who had died without that knowledge in holy temples here in order that they might be judged as though they had heard the gospel here in the flesh.

"The gates of hell would have prevailed if Satan had been victorious in the war in heaven, and if his plan which would have nullified free agency had been the order. The gates of hell would have prevailed had there ever been a time when the power to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel would not have been in each dispensation of the gospel upon the earth.

"The gates of hell would have prevailed if the gospel had not been taught to the spirits in prison and to those who had not had ample opportunity to receive the gospel here in its fullness. It would have prevailed if there was not a vicarious work for the dead, and had it not been instituted to provide for those in the spirit world who desired to accept the gospel.

"The gates of hell would have prevailed were it not for other vicarious work pertaining to the exaltation which those who accept the gospel might receive, both ordinances for the living and for the dead.

"Now, as I think of that plan, so perfect in its conception, it is clear that this plan could not have existed except it had been by the revelations of the Living God.

"So we begin to understand what the Lord meant when he said to Peter, 'upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' (Matt. 16:18.)

"He was speaking of the revelation of the Lord to his authorized servants and all the forces of hell combined could not prevent it." (Conference Report, April 1953, Afternoon Meeting 26.)

Elder Ray L. Pratt

"I reflected yesterday, in listening to the report of the President, on the fact that it seemed from the very incipiency of this work...that the gates of hell, in a measure, have been against this work. It seems as though most all the powers that could be brought to bear have been used in the effort to retard the progress of this work in this age. This Church has been organized, in fulfillment of the words of the Savior, upon the rock of revelation, and the gates of hell, and all the powers of men that can be combined and brought to bear against this work, will not be able to retard its progress. We heard from the lips of our President, yesterday, that the Church is in a better condition than it ever has been since it was organized. There are more people living in accordance with the doctrines and commandments of the Gospel, as they are taught to us, than ever before; and the quorums of the priesthood are more united in performing their duty, in extending and proclaiming the word to those who know not the truth, than they ever have been in the past. This is very gratifying.

"... It is said that the trail of our people across the plains could be traced by the graves of their loved ones, so many perished by the way; and then, of course, there were the hardships incident to redeeming the desert and laying the foundations of a new state. But notwithstanding all these things, the Church has come off triumphant, and the work has progressed, and is progressing today in the world more than it ever before has done. My testimony and firm belief is that it will continue to progress more and more.

"...Now...., brethren and sisters...we must not believe, as I view it, that the persecutions that have been brought to bear upon us formerly will cease. Conditions confront us today that are different from those that confronted our fathers, and those who crossed the oceans and plains, and came to these valleys and subdued them, and made it possible for us to live here in peace and quietude, even in luxury, enjoying all the blessings of the Lord. There are conditions that we, particularly the younger people, have to encounter that are just as terrible, Just as potent in their influence to drag down the Church of Christ, and to bring to naught His purposes in the earth, as were the persecutions and influences that were brought to bear against our fathers. We must not flatter ourselves that we are immune to those temptations and persecutions. We should realize that we are surrounded, all the time, by the influences of the evil one; and it is only those that will set their faces as flint against evil that will triumph in the end. The Savior said that those who endure to the end shall be saved; and those who do not keep the commandments of the Lord will fall by the wayside. The decree has gone forth, and it will be fulfilled, that this Church will not be left to another people, and that this kingdom will increase, and go on to perfection; and the very gates of hell shall have no power or influence to overthrow the Church. Yet there is a possibility of some of us so far forgetting ourselves that we will slip out, and be left behind." (Conference Report, April 1914, Second Day-Morning Session 44-45.)

Matt 16:19 I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom

Bruce R. McConkie

"These keys, as we are aware, are the right and power to preside over the kingdom which is the Church. They enable the legal administrators who hold them to perform the ordinances of salvation so they will be binding on earth and sealed in heaven. Unless, for instance, a baptism performed on earth has efficacy and force in heaven, it will not admit the penitent person into the eternal heaven, which his soul desires. These sealing keys were, in fact, given to Peter, James, and John about a week later, when they climbed nearby Mount Hermon to meet with Moses and Elijah and to participate in the glory of the Transfiguration. Later they were given to all of the Twelve, so that all had the power to bind and loose both on earth and in heaven. (Matt. 18:18.)" (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, 125.)

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

"What are these 'keys' of which the Savior spoke? President Joseph F. Smith has declared that these 'keys' are 'the right or privilege which belongs to and comes with the Priesthood, to have communication with God...It is the right to enjoy the blessing of communication with the heavens, and the privilege and authority to administer in the ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to preach the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins' (Gospel Doctrine, p. 142); and the Prophet Joseph declared that these 'keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam's authority.' (Church History, Vol. 3, p. 386.)" (Behold the Lamb of God, 281.)

Gordon B. Hinckley

"In that marvelous bestowal of authority the Lord gave to his apostles the keys of the holy priesthood, whose power reaches beyond life and death into eternity. This same authority has been restored to the earth by those same apostles who held it anciently, even Peter, James, and John. ("The Marriage That Endures," Ensign, May 1974, p. 23.)

"We have been, this afternoon just before we came here, to the Church of the Apostles . . . where is found the original Christus statue by Thorvaldsen. It was the statue in this church here in Copenhagen which was copied in marble in Italy and which is on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. It is beautiful. . . . And then on either side of that beautiful chapel are the carved figures of the Apostles, [including] Peter, with the keys in his hand. I don't think the people who have responsibility for that church understand the significance of those keys, but for us they are real, they are genuine. . . . Those are the eternal keys of the priesthood which have been restored under the hands of Peter, James, and John, and also, Moses, Elias, and Elijah, the great keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times, the keys which have the fulness of the priesthood in them. They are the keys of the fulness of the priesthood as the Lord uses the word in the 124th section of the Doctrine and Covenants-those keys which are exercised in the House of the Lord. (Denmark Copenhagen Missionary Meeting, June 14, 1996.)" (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 472.)"

Boyd K. Packer

"Peter was to hold the keys. Peter was to hold the sealing power, that authority which carries the power to bind or seal on earth or to loose on earth and it would be so in the heavens. Those keys belong to the President of the Church-to the prophet, seer, and revelator. That sacred sealing power is with the Church now. Nothing is regarded with more sacred contemplation by those who know the significance of this authority. Nothing is more closely held. There are relatively few men who hold this sealing power upon the earth at any given time-in each temple are brethren who have been given the sealing power. No one can get it except from the prophet, seer, and revelator and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is more closely held than any other authority. I am an Apostle and in company with fourteen other men now living hold all of the keys. I have the sealing power. It was given to me at the time of my ordination, as is true of all the Brethren who hold membership in the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. I can seal and I can loose according to the directions given by the President of the Church. But I cannot give this authority to another. If another is to have it, he must get it from that one man on the earth who has the right to exercise all the keys of the priesthood. We know from the revelations that there will be but one at a time on the earth who has this right." (The Holy Temple, 88.)

Matt 16:19 whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven

Joseph Smith

"Or, in other words, taking a different view of the translation, whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven. . . . It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of-a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. . . .

"Now the great and grand secret of the whole matter, and the summum bonum of the whole subject that is lying before us, consists in obtaining the powers of the Holy Priesthood. For him to whom these keys are given there is no difficulty in obtaining a knowledge of facts in relation to the salvation of the children of men, both as well for the dead as for the living...This, therefore, is the sealing and binding power, and, in one sense of the word, the keys of the kingdom, which consist in the key of knowledge." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible, 99-100.)

Matt 16:20 they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ

James E. Talmage

"Proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah, particularly if made by the apostles who were publicly known as His most intimate disciples and associates, or open assumption of the Messianic title by Himself, would have aggravated the hostility of the rulers, which had already become a grave interference if not an actual menace to the Savior's ministry; and seditious uprisings against the political government of Rome might easily have resulted. A yet deeper reason for the secrecy enjoined upon the Twelve appears in the fact that the Jewish nation was not prepared to accept their Lord; and to ignore Him through lack of certain knowledge involved a lesser degree of culpability than would have attached to an unpalliated rejection. The particular mission of the apostles at the time then future was to proclaim to all nations Jesus, the crucified and resurrected Christ." (Jesus the Christ, 337)

Matt 16:23 he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan

It is hard to imagine what it must have felt like to be Jesus. He was faced with an awesome task, an unparalleled responsibility, and the assignment of an infinite sacrifice. He had no mortal role model. None of his associates could relate to his trials. Hence, Isaiah said he was, 'a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief' (Isa 53:3). Except in those instances when he communed with his heavenly Role Model, he must have felt incredibly alone.

Amidst such stifling emotional isolation, Satan must have been incessantly whispering in his ear, "You can't do it...It's not fair for someone as righteous as you to suffer...You have the power to destroy those who would persecute and kill you." In essence, this was the same message as Peter's. For Peter to suggest that Christ should not suffer was to unwittingly suggest that the entire plan of salvation be scrapped. Christ's reproof of Peter is a declaration that he must be killed and raised again-for this is the reason he came into the world. We might imagine that Christ's stern reproof spurred Peter to serious reflection as to why his suggestion was so unwelcome. Hereby, we see that Peter's spiritual knowledge was by no means complete-he understood Christ's identity, but he did not yet understand his mission.

David O. McKay

"This was a severe rebuke, and it must have impressed Peter deeply with the thought that his plan was not God's plan; and he no doubt realized that there was yet very much for him to learn before he could carry out the great responsibility that the Lord had this day conferred upon him. But in his zeal to save Jesus from death, he erred, though only in love." (Ancient Apostles, 47.)

JST Matt 16:26 And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments

See also commentary for Matt 10:38.

"We take up our cross as we seek to put down our sins and thereby enter the realm of divine experience. Thus Jesus instructed those who desired discipleship: 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments' (JST, Matt. 16:25-26; emphasis added). Having called the Nephites to a higher righteousness than that put forward in the Law, having cautioned them specifically against immorality, Jesus said: 'Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart; for it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell' (3 Ne. 12:29-30). It is presumably in this sense that Alma counseled his errant son Corianton: 'Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things' (Alma 39:9; emphasis added)." (Robert L. Millet, An Eye Single to the Glory of God: Reflections on the Cost of Discipleship, 39.)

James E. Faust

"Is it not time that we begin denying ourselves, as the Savior counseled, and surrender and master ourselves rather than indulge ourselves in a 'do my own thing' selfish little world? The question is not so much what we can do, but what God can do through us. Paul said, 'If a man therefore purge himself. . . , he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work' (2 Tim. 2:21). ("A Crown of Thorns, a Crown of Glory," Ensign, May 1991, 70.)

Matt 16:25 whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it

Neal A. Maxwell

"Unconditional surrender of our shortcomings...brings us unforeseen opportunities...In fact, unconditional surrender to God is actually a personal victory! Such surrender is giving up squinting through a homemade telescope in exchange for a chance to see things as they really are. This fresh view made possible by this dispensation's flood of light is made more breathtaking by our using an eye single to the glory of God.

"This surrender is giving up our hovel, which we have cobbled together in the earthly slums, in exchange for a celestial mansion on the hill.

"It is giving up the headaches that go with intense selfishness in exchange for being able to focus all of one's mind on Him and on His cause. This relief from recurring spasms of selfishness produces its own special form of rest (see Matthew 11:28).

"It is also leaving the church of selfishness with its solitary member in exchange for belonging to a genuine community of saints.

"Why, therefore, the resistance to such surrender? There is one particular reason among many. When citing the scripture about losing oneself and finding oneself, we often fail to take into account the vital, preceding verse:

'Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' (Matthew 16:24-26.)

"But what are we first to deny ourselves? Verse 26 in the Joseph Smith Translation reads: 'And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments.' The 'giving away' of all of one's sins is a preceding and accompanying condition to losing oneself for the Savior's sake. Unless we give away those wrong things we cannot 'give place' for the seed of faith to grow (see Alma 32:27). The crowding cares of the world will constrain the things of the Spirit (see Luke 8:14)." (A Wonderful Flood of Light, 96.)

David O. McKay

"May we realize as never before that mastery of one's personal inclinations is the heart of the Christian religion and of all religions. By nature the individual is selfish and inclined to follow his immediate impulses. It requires religion, or something higher than an individual or even a society of individuals, to overcome the selfish impulses of the natural man, which will lead him to a more successful, fuller life. Self-mastery comes through self-denial of little things. Christ in these singular words said: '. . . whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.' (Matt. 16:25.) Whenever you forget self and strive for the betterment of others, and for something higher and better, you rise to the spiritual plane. If, in the moment of quarreling, in the moment of temptation to find fault with another, we will lose our self-centered self for the good of the Church of which we are members, for the good of the community, and especially for the progress of the gospel of Jesus Christ we will be blessed spiritually, and happiness will be our reward." (Conference Report, April 1967, Afternoon Meeting 135.)

Spencer W. Kimball

"What a strange paradox this! And yet one needs only to analyze it to be convinced of its truth. I know a man whose every thought through three quarters of a century had been for and of himself.

"Everything desired and everything that happened was interpreted in terms of the big 'I' and the little 'u.' He had sought to keep his life for himself, and to gather all the good things of life for his own development and enjoyment. Strangely enough, trying to keep his life for himself, and he has shrunk, has lost his friends, and his own people shun him as a bore.

"And now, as life is ebbing out gradually, he finds himself standing alone, forsaken, bitter, unloved, and unsung; and with self-pity, he can still think of only one person, himself. He has sought to save for himself his time, talents, and his means. He has lost the abundant life.

"On the other hand, I know another man who has never given thought to himself. His every desire was for the protection and pleasure of those about him. No task was too great, no sacrifice too much for him to make for his fellowmen. His means brought relief from physical suffering; his kind work and thoughtfulness brought comfort and cheer and courage. Wherever people were in distress, he was on hand, cheering the discouraged, burying the dead, comforting the bereaved, and proving himself a friend in need. His time, his means, and his energies were lavished upon those needing assistance. Having given himself freely, by that same act he has added to his mental, physical, and moral stature until today he stands in his declining years a power for good, an example and an inspiration to many. He has developed and grown until he is everywhere acclaimed, loved, and appreciated. He has given life and in a real way has truly found the abundant life.

"Only when you lift a burden, God will lift your burden. Divine paradox this! The man who staggers and falls because his burden is too great can lighten that burden by taking on the weight of another's burden. You get by giving, but your part of giving must be given first." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball, 251.)

Matt 16:26 what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Milton R. Hunter

"'For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' (Matt. 16:26.)

"In answering those questions for the members of the Church, I would say there is nothing that this world offers which would be equal to the eternal exaltation which God promises those who love him; nor is there anything in this world which we would give for our souls.

"Yet I do recognize the fact, also, that there are many temptations in mortality which we have, and some of the Latter-day Saints, as a result of these temptations, fall into sin and thereby exchange their souls for the things of this world; for example, the desire to attain wealth, position, or power, accompanied by greed, selfishness, covetousness, and other earthly contaminations, cause some Latter-day Saints to lose their souls. The Savior has warned against covetousness; he said:

"Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

'And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
And he thought within himself, saying What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.' (Luke 12: 15-21.)

"And, we could say, so shall it be with the Saints in our day who love gold more than they love God." (Conference Report, October 1953, Second Day-Morning Meeting 47.)

LeGrand Richards

"What is there in this world that we could do as individuals to repay for the privilege of coming forth in the morning of the first resurrection and receiving our loved ones and being united with them and with the servants of the Living God, and with the Redeemer of the world, when he comes in the clouds of heaven?

"If we understood really what the gospel is, we would know why Jesus said that the merchantman seeking costly pearls would sell all that he had in order that he might acquire it and called it the Pearl of Great Price, and we would also understand what he meant when he said,

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16:26.)

"We just do not have the capacity to appreciate the great blessings that await the faithful, for the Lord said to the Prophet: 'Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.' (D & C 76:6.) (Conference Report, October 1955, Afternoon Meeting 27-28.)

Matt 16:27 then he shall reward every man according to his works

Sterling W. Sill

"The same Jesus who upon the Mount of Olives said, 'And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come,' has under the direction of his Father, restored that gospel, in preparation for that day. He himself looked forward to that day saying, 'For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.' (Matt. 16:27.) What a tremendous day that will be. That is also the day foretold by Malachi who said 'For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.' (Joseph Smith 2:37.) That tremendous event is fast approaching, and we must work while it is called today, for the night cometh, wherein no man can work." (Conference Report, April 1963, Second Day-Morning Meeting 43.)

Matt 16:28 There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death

Without modern day revelation, this passage is difficult to understand. The last chapter of John leaves the reader with the impression that it was just a rumor that John the Beloved would live until the Second Coming (See John 21:21-23). Yet, thanks to modern revelation, we understand that John was indeed to remain as a translated being until the end, 'Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people' (DC 7:3).

While we may be happy with this pearl of wisdom, another question remains. Christ did not say that one would not taste of death, but that some would not taste of death. Was another disciple to be translated? Tradition suggests that all the disciples, save Judas Iscariot and John, were killed as martyrs. So why did Christ say that some would not taste of death? Perhaps there were others who were also translated. Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"...for special purposes a few persons who have lived in the Christian Era have been translated. Our Lord said on one occasion, 'There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.' (Matt. 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27.) The Lord may have had reference to these or other translated persons when he said in March, 1831, 'All are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself holy men that ye know not of.' (D. & C. 49:8.) ...In any event John was translated. (John 21:20-23; Rev. 10; D. & C. 7; 77:14.) And on the American continent, among the Nephites, three of the Twelve were also given power over death so that they could continue their ministry until the Second Coming. (3 Ne. 28.)

"There are no other known instances of translation during the Christian Era, and unless there is some special reason which has not so far been revealed.isa. 65:17-25 (Mormon Doctrine, 806)

Perhaps another of the meridian disciples was translated, but perhaps John was the only one, and the scripture has another meaning. We are told that 'those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them' (DC 42:46). Perhaps Christ's message had another layer of meaning-that although many of the apostles would die-and die as martyrs-they would not 'taste of death', for God's mercy would make even martyrdom 'sweet unto them.'