This Week's Focus Passage

Matthew 16:17 ‘Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee.’

This Weeks Focus Passage: Matthew 16:17

‘Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee.’

This grand declaration from the lips of our Savior were uttered in response to the blessed and renowned statement of Peter; his confession of faith, if you will, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter’s ‘confession’ was, of course, in response to the interrogation of Jesus, when He inquired after this fashion:

Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Who do men say that the Son of man is? And they said, Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But who say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.             —Matthew 16:13-16.

Upon which the answer containing the notice of God’s absolute sovereignty in the  the salvation of all those for whom Christ lived on earth and died on Golgotha, when the Christ spoke responsively to His disciple, Peter, pointing out to the old fisherman, that, Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.

This blessed truth is most paramount for a true understanding of the source of our salvation. It corresponds, of course, to that which we find in the Gospel according to John, the disciple who informed us of the reason for his writing that gospel narrative, when he wrote in John 20:30-31:

Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name.

There are as many, or more, uses of the word ‘signs’ in John’s gospel account than in any book of the New Testament. There are eleven occasions of its usage in John. This is equaled only by the book of Acts; sometimes referred to as the Acts of the Apostles, or even, the Signs of the Apostles. Interestingly, the first times that the word ‘signs’ is employed in John is in the second chapter with reference to the well-known ‘marriage at Cana.’ After Jesus had turned water into wine because of the shortage of wine which had ensued, the narrator, John, informs us in verse 2:11, that this sign was evidently the first sign that our Lord had performed up to that point. He said this most clearly in unmistakable terms:

This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

This manifestation of His glory connected with ‘and his disciples believed on him,’ would suggest, would it not, an important relationship—perhaps an essential relationship—between the signs and belief? This would, at least, seem quite reasonable on the surface; especially when we are able to read just several verses later, in 2:23, that now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed on his name, beholding the signs which he did. This would, at the very least, lend some testimony of corroboration to such a connection.

But then, how should we understand when we read later in the very same gospel narrative, that of John, and in 12:37, a seemingly contrary statement”

But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they believed not on him.

This last verse cited powerfully intimates that there is no necessary or absolute relation between believing and the witnessing of signs done by Jesus, who is God. Does this not correspond accurately with Jesus’ comments to Peter? It is not signs and wonders that are needed, Peter. Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee. And then the heart of Christ’s answer to His confessing disciple; not flesh and blood, Peter, but my Father who is in heaven. It is the irresistible, regenerating grace of God, when the Holy Spirit, sent from the Father, through the Son, apprehends any one elect sinner, and convicts that man, woman, or child, in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. (John 16:8) Thus, it was the Father who is in heaven that revealed to the apostle Peter that Jesus was the Christ—the Anointed One, the Messiah—the Son of the living God. And this is the very reason that John has told us, in his prologue, at 1:13, that those ‘that believe on his name did so only because,

They were those who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

They believed because they were born anew; their hearts having been regenerated by the mysterious operation of God the Holy Spirit, according to the very words of Christ spoken to Nicodemus in chapter three. If one is to see the kingdom of God, he must be born again, born from above, born anew. Except one has the new heart promised in Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36—that New Covenant promise of a new heart and a new Spirit—it is not possible for them to see the kingdom of God.

To see the kingdom of God is to see the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who has brought in the kingdom of God. He is the King; it is His Kingdom. In Mt. 12:28, He informed His auditory of the presence of His Kingdom: But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come among you. To enter the Kingdom, one must be born again; the new birth is conferred by God the Holy Spirit; through the faith given in that regeneration, it is revealed unto the elect sinner that Christ has died for them in particular. The Father through the Spirit has revealed this.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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