We can't even just plain understand who the Son of Man is without help with a capital H. Big help. God needs to reveal who He is, to Peter (Matt 16:14-17).
Some things are people's responsibility to understand; for example, in the Pharisees' and Sadducees' case, the signs of the times (16:3); the word of God (15:6), not to transgress (15:3) and invalidate it (15:6) for the sake of tradition.
There are things to beware of, in the pursuit of what the disciples need to know, for example, the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees (16:12). The disciples fail in the area of understanding (16:11), and it involves their not remembering what they have seen (16:9) and its significance, and it somehow should be associated with being "men of little faith" (16:8; 17:20) as well.
But it is not a quid pro quo. It's not that Peter achieved some ladder-like position of greater faith, but that God the Father revealed to Peter the two parts of his answer (16:16-17). The subsequent promises are also unilateral acts (16:18-19).
Previously, Jesus had antagonistic opposition to His actions, and, as we would have expected from early on (5:20), to His teaching. Now, some of the opposition is even picayune (15:2), or that of petty offense taking (15:12), or trap-setting (16:1), but some of it was of the worst consequence to the those who opposed Him (12:24-32). What kind of thing is opposition to the Lord's practice (15:2), to His teaching (15:11), to the continuing of His agenda without their approval (16:1)? Is it not ultimately over time ensuant of Jesus suffering and death (16:21)? Perhaps that's the leaven-aspect of the teaching He warns about (16:12). What is taught has effect.
Jesus introduces the subject of His suffering and death here, and we read of Peter and the disciples' (16:20) dealing with it for the first time. For Peter, James, and John, the Transfiguration, and the accompanying understanding they were given (17:5) did not prevent their grief (17:22-23).
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