Feb 112017

Matthew 16:21-28

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

  • Again, Jesus is in charge – no one is dragging him to Jerusalem.
  • How much more clear could Jesus make it? I will be killed and I will be

22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

  • Look at the difference between Jesus’ “this must” and Peter’s “this will never”
  • You cannot get anymore obstinate than this.
  • So, what does Peter do? The one who a few verses up said all the right things.
  • Peter’s response is equal to something like, “look Jesus, you just gave me the keys, you just gave me the church to build – Jesus I am going to make my proclamation —
  • Jesus, stand back, this shall never happen – this is no way to build a church.
  • This is no way for you to be the Christ – let me handle this.”

23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

  • Jesus then turns around and gives HIS proclamation – “Get behind me Satan.”
  • Who is Satan? Who is Satan using as his tool? Peter – an Apostle in training.
  • We learn from this verse about anti Christ.
  • Jesus shows up on the scene and Satan sets up shop – and shortly we see a disciple oppose Jesus.
  • In the apostolic ministry – in the apostolic church – anti Christ is at work.
  • This fits in with 1 Thess 2
  • Where the anti Christ sets himself up in the temple of God (the church), claiming to be a divinity himself –
  • This is precisely what Peter is doing – he sets himself up in the driver’s seat as if he is God and says, “I am going to call the shots here!”
  • This is anti Christ working in the church.
  • We all need to get over the Left Behind lie that the anti Christ is a political / economic figure.
  • The anti Christ comes from within the church 2 Thess & 1 John
  • So how do you recognize anti Christ within the church? If you find someone out front trying to lead Jesus, this is a good indicator.
  • Those who would try to correct and guide Jesus in what this person thinks is a better way.
  • A pious preacher in the pulpit teaching anything other than you are saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone for Christ’s sake alone – this is anti Christ.
  • Jesus says faith alone saves you and this one comes alongside Jesus (just like Peter) puts his arm around him and says “yes it is necessary, but it is not enough. Let me tweak your word a little to improve it.”
  • This is my body, this is my blood – words right out of the mouth of Jesus and the preachers says, “well this is just symbolism”
  • All of this and you have anti Christ going on.

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

  • Right after Jesus chastises Peter … You want to follow me? Take up your cross.
  • What does this mean? We don’t have too many crucifixions going on today, so how do we take up our cross?
  • Here we have the first passion prediction – God’s plan in Jesus is put out in the open.

25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

  • We do just the opposite – we do whatever we can to not lose our life.
  • To follow Jesus means to deny yourself.
  • In many church groups to follow Jesus is to fulfill yourself – Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar – Benny Hinn.
  • It’s about reaching potentiality of self and stuff.
  • In the old days of Norman Vincent Peale – The Power of Positive Thinking
  • Then Robert Schuller said in his book The New Reformation “the problem with you Lutherans (all the reformers) you think there is sin and / or you talk about sin. That time is over and we need to move on – we need to teach people they are good.”

26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

  • Use the example of the rope
  • 50 feet of rope – first 6” on the front end painted red
  • The 50’ of rope represents eternity and the red 6” represents our life span
  • We put all our energy and worry into the small 6” and don’t give a thought to the remainder of the rope.
  • What will it profit a man if he gains the whole 6” and forfeits the other 49.5’?

27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

  • Salvation by WORKS!!! Didn’t we just say that adding anything to faith alone was anti Christ? What is Jesus saying?
  • So here is the kicker – this is a true statement – What are the works that are God pleasing? –Those that flow from faith – and what kind of faith?
  • The faith alone that justifies a sinner before God.
  • The works are our evidence of the faith that is not seen – I cannot see your faith – I can only see the evidence of that faith.
  • I cannot see the wind – I can see only the evidence that there was wind.

28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

  • Calvary & Last Days? Suffering, death and resurrection which he just spoke of in v 21.
  • Jeffrey Gibbs in his commentary states “is a genuinely difficult saying, and confident conclusions about what Jesus was referring to may elude us.”
  • So I will leave it there also.


  11 Responses to “The Weekend Word”

  1. “let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

    This is a teaching which is fraught with danger. If we are not careful, we can easily end up in pietism and/or legalism. If we think that doing something like joining a monastery, giving up chocolate, donating a certain amount of money, serving on 3 committees at church, etc. is what Jesus is talking about, then we are headed down the wrong road. How much denying is he talking about? You get the idea. Neither is Jesus talking about a mystical death experience.

    Jesus is talking about something much more radical here. He is talking about justification by by faith alone. It is the death of our life, and the beginning of a new creation in Christ.

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

    “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.”

    So, what we see is that faith in unconditional declaration of justification is the death of all our attempts to reach God through the Law or religion or piety (i.e., the upward climb), and at the same time new life in Christ in which we are reckoned righteous (i.e., Christ comes down to us with forgiveness, life and salvation).

  2. Very good teaching today! Thank you

  3. Jean,

    I think that is a big over reach.
    I think MLD correctly parsed it out…following Jesus requires living in sacrificial love and knowing that when we follow Him the cost may be great.

  4. One shortcoming I have with these studies is that my written study is not as complete as my oral version done in the classroom. I may have something written in my lesson (which we see here) but have more of an explanation in my head.

    In this case I think the emphasis should be more on my 3rd point “Here we have the first passion prediction – God’s plan in Jesus is put out in the open.”

    So, the ‘take up your cross’ is more of a proclamation of Jesus going to the cross than it is a moralistic teaching of how the Christian should live.

  5. Michael,

    The saying “deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” comes right after Peter’s rebuke of Jesus and then Jesus’ rebuke of Peter. Peter wanted Jesus to conform to Peter’s will instead of God’s will. Jesus said no.

    Then, with the saying about disciples denying themselves, Jesus connected this to our wills. Jesus taught the disciples to pray “thy will be done….” We deny our self when we conform our will to Christ’s will.

    Regarding the cross, we don’t have crosses today, but Paul situates the cross post Easter in the life of the Christian:

    “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free[b] from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

    Justification by faith is the application of the cross to the individual.

    But, I have no problem with the idea that when our will is conformed to the will of Christ that He will work in us to bear fruit for our neighbor.

  6. denying self may be just as simple as not judging God… coming to Him as a learner – a child who is open to His (God the Holy Spirit’s) instruction and accepting of (His) correction? dunno, tho, do i 🙂

  7. I think you’re right Em. Denying self is listening to the small voice of the Spirit that teaches us to live according to the rules of the Kingdom as put forth by King Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and other times in His ministry. Today we focused Mark 10:42-45. This is an example of dying to self…..putting others first before our wants and needs.

  8. Jesus said several harsh things. This isn’t the toughest. I try to not apologize for Him.

    This saying (it was the account from Luke) is the thing that totally changed my life. Flipped open a bible on the break table at the motor shop I was working at. Read Jesus saying this and it cut me to the core. I knew I needed a Savior.

    Never turned back.

  9. I think what the OP passage is talking about is what Jean and Josh are saying, that this is more an application to the walk. This reminds me of Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. “Take” in this commandment has the same of idea of carrying a load as Jesus commanded us to take up our cross and follow him. The idea is that we wouldn’t receive unto ourselves/bear Jesus’ name while not actually following him, or as he scolded the Pharisees that they wouldn’t lift their little finger to follow the Law they were literally wearing on themselves. It is the expectation that God will crucify in us our old nature, and the expectation that we will probably suffer to death for it. Poor Americans are robbed of this physical manifestation of the spiritual reality. IMO.

    But the greater physical manifestation of that is love of God, love of others, as Michael pointed out. This is the indelible footprint of bearing the cross, his name, his death. It is the evidence of our hope. “…For by it the men of old gained approval.”

  10. “26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

    Use the example of the rope
    50 feet of rope – first 6” on the front end painted red
    The 50’ of rope represents eternity and the red 6” represents our life span
    We put all our energy and worry into the small 6” and don’t give a thought to the remainder of the rope.
    What will it profit a man if he gains the whole 6” and forfeits the other 49.5’?”

    while it may worry MLD, i have to say this makes all the sense in the world…
    “quit concentrating on the first 6” – i want that bumper sticker 🙂

  11. okay, now i’m stuck thinking about MLD’s rope… those first six inches are for tying off, otherwise we just drift into …?…

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