Memory Verse: Matthew 16:24
16:21-23 Jesus Reveals The Cost Of Salvation
- 16:21 The turning point: “from that time forth”—from the time that Jesus made it clear that He indeed was the Christ, the Son of the living God and declared He was building a church (16:13-20), He began to reveal to His disciples that one day He would be killed but also be resurrected. This would help correct their understanding of what the mission of “the Christ” was (Suffering Servant)—not to setup up a physical earthly kingdom but to save people form their sins and establish God’s kingdom in the hearts of mankind. He began to outlined the events that would happen: (1) how that He must go unto Jerusalem (the holy city of the Jews)—He will go to the center of Jewish life to accomplish His mission; (2) how that He must suffer many things of the elders; chief priests and scribes (all leaders in Jewish society)—He will be judged and endure suffering from the highest authorities in the land; (3) how that He must be killed—He will endure suffering unto death on a cross on mount calvary; (4) how that He must be raised again the third day—but there will be victory because after Jesus is put to death He will arise on the third day.
- 16:22 But it seems the disciples didn’t fully understand why Jesus had to go through the suffering and be killed. Therefore, Peter took Jesus and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Peter had confessed Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” and couldn’t see how this disgrace, humiliation and shame through suffering and death (he overlooked the part about the resurrection) could be part of Jesus’ plan. He was against Jesus’ plan, but He didn’t understand it.
- 16:23 Then Jesus turned to Peter and rebuked him for his suggestion to avoid the plan Jesus just reveal to the disciples. What Peter didn’t understand was that the only way to redeem mankind from the consequences of sin was though the death and resurrection of the Christ. Therefore, for Peter to suggest anything different was to act like Satan—an enemy of God and one who tries to thwart His sovereign plan. His suggestion was that of being on the side of Satan and Jesus refers to Him as such. If Jesus followed Peter’s suggestion He would disobey the will of God and cause Him to sin (like Satan tried to tempt Jesus to do in 4:1-11). Peter was thinking on the things of men and not God. Thus Jesus tells him to “get thee behind me”—meaning he needs to stop and go away because his temptation to sin would not be heeded to. Jesus has revealed and is committed to the cost of salvation: selfless sacrificial love.
16:24-28 Jesus Reveals The Cost Of Discipleship
- 16:24 After Jesus finished rebuking Peter, He addressed His disciples and tells them the cost of discipleship: selfless sacrificial love. Just like there is a great cost (suffering, death) for salvation, there is also a great cost (suffering, death) for those who want to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus says that, “If any man will come after me”—meaning that if any person (including today) is willing to accept and submit to Jesus as Lord (to be a committed disciple of Jesus) then they are also called to live a life of selfless sacrificial love just like Jesus. First, Jesus says, “Let him deny himself”—like Jesus they no longer live for themselves, but for the will of God. (Jesus made Himself of no reputation, was an obedient servant, and humbled Himself.) Second, He says, “Take up His cross”—symbolizing a person, like Jesus, who carries a cross to the place of crucifixion, which symbolizes suffering and even possible death of those who follow Jesus. (Jesus became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.) Third, Jesus said, “Follow me”—like Jesus they are to be faithful to the end. They are to keep following Jesus as disciples no matter how hard the pathway of discipleship is. (Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.)
Matthew 10:38; Philippians 2:5-11
- Jesus reveals the cost of discipleship to His disciples. Not only did He let them know that He himself would suffer and be killed but that He also expected them to follow in His footsteps. This goes against our natural sense of security (note Peter’s response to Jesus), but that is why Jesus tells us to deny ourselves—it isn’t about us, there is something greater to live for than self. Then we are to faithfully follow the path that God has prepared for us with selfless sacrificial love.
- Jesus is calling His disciples to full surrender—meaning you give up your whole way of life to follow Jesus. Your life is no longer about “your plans” for your life but it is about “God’s plans” for your life.
- 16:25 God is calling you to discipleship because (1) there is a greater meaning to life than living for yourself. Jesus continues with a great paradox. All who concentrate on obtaining life for themselves (live for themselves and not God) will loose their lives, but those who loose their lives for Jesus’ sake (live for God and not themselves) will find it. The paradox is that we have to concentrate our lives on Jesus, not ourselves, to really find it. He is asking you to give everything up so that He can give you something greater. If you live for Jesus you will find life in the fullest sense—now and in eternity. On the contrary, if you live for yourself then life has no purpose—now and in eternity.
- 16:26 God is calling you to discipleship because (2) your life is the greatest thing you have. Jesus asks us two questions to help us consider the importance of our lives. If we sell (disregard God and live for worldly pleasures) our souls (lives) in exchange for the whole world (everything in the earthly realm so that we are financially and materially wealthy), how will it benefit us? Answer: It has no benefit because our lives are the most valuable thing we have. So then Jesus asks, what can we give to buy back our souls that we gave up? Answer: Nothing. On Judgement Day, we can do nothing to buy back our souls from eternal punishment and damnation. Is it worth living for your own pleasure but end up in hell? It makes no sense to live for this temporary life at the expense of losing eternal life.
- 16:27 God is calling you to discipleship because (3) there is a day of judgment that has eternal consequences. Jesus (the Son of man) tells His disciples that there will be a day when He returns (after His death and resurrection) as a “Reigning King” (“in the glory of his Father with his angels”) and at that time there will be a judgment where He will reward every man according to his works—meaning He will reward or punish based on what we deserve. Those who choose God are rewarded. Those who reject God are punished
Romans 2:5-11; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
- 16:28 Finally, Jesus declares to His disciples that some of them who were standing there would not die until they saw Jesus (the Son of man) “coming in His kingdom”—which most likely refers to the event that follows in 17:1-13 where Jesus transfigures before three of the disciples and they become eyewitnesses of “His majesty”.
2 Peter 1:16-18
- From “that time forth” what did Jesus began to reveal to His disciples?
- Why did Jesus call Peter Satan and rebuke him?
- What did Jesus tell those who wanted to be disciple to do?
- Why is God calling us to discipleship?
- What is the cost of salvation and discipleship?