For the Sake of the Call
Topic: Christian Living Passage: Matthew 16:21–16:26
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. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 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.”
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 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?
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 16:21–26). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
For the Sake of the Call
Matthew 16:21-27 – Read and Pray
Focus Point: A disciple of Jesus will submit every aspect of his life, his desires, his dreams, his aspirations, his very self, to the authority of Jesus.
v.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.
‘Began’ – defines a new emphasis on His (Jesus) ministry; ‘Show’ – exhibit; vividly demonstrate
‘Must’ – it is a necessary imposition; it is NOT an option!
Jesus MUST do 4 things:
v.22,23 – And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 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 men.”
This is an incredible passage:
Peter goes from one who has received special revelation from God – Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah - to speaking the words of Satan
Peter rebukes Jesus – think of this – rebuke is present tense meaning he is continually rebuking!
v.23a - Jesus says “Get behind me Satan, you are a hindrance to me.
hindrance – elsewhere translated as stumbling block; like causing someone to sin; to tempt.
The cross is God’s plan for delivering man from his sin. The idea of bypassing the cross was a stumbling block to Jesus.
It’s as if Peter is tempting Jesus to sin, in the same way Satan did! Think back to last temptation that Satan presents to Jesus (Matthew 4)
I can give you power – all the power of the kingdoms of this world
That’s why Jesus rebukes Peter like he does, he is speaking like Satan.
This was Satan’s last ditch effort to keep Jesus from going to the cross, to stop the prophecy of Genesis 3:15
v.23b - . For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men.”
Peter ‘mind’ was not on God’s plan, but his own plan. Jesus dying was not what he was thinking!
The death of Christ for the sins of man is not an option but a divine necessity.
v.24 – “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
‘Come after me’ – means there is a cost everyone must consider. Jesus identifies three costs that are required of us to be His disciple: Deny ourselves, Take up our cross daily [Luke adds] and follow Him
Denial of self and self-denial are not the same thing. Denial of self has to do with giving everything to God completely. Self-denial can be an ascetic approach to life to gain God’s approval.
Self-Denial looks like this:
Denial of Self looks like this: Jesus is talking about denying our very selves, the core of who we are, which would include:
It is submitting everything to Jesus authority!
“To deny oneself is to be aware only of Christ and no more of self, to see only him who goes before and no more the road which is too hard for us.” D. Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
The person who takes up his cross shows they are willing to pay the price. Jesus carried His cross on His death walk and we are to do the same.
If we stop only at self-denial, then it becomes about us and our efforts. We couldn’t successfully do it anyway. It would become nothing more than us trying to earn favor with God through human effort
Why does He use this “cross” language? Three main reasons
Disciples were very familiar with crucifixion. When someone was going to be crucified, they had to carry one of the beams that would be used in their own crucifixion
When you saw, someone carrying their cross, you knew they were going to die. They were not coming back. Their life was done!
So Jesus wanted His disciples, He wants us to know, that to follow Him by Denying ourselves, Taking up our cross, It was THE final death blow to our old life – there is no coming back from it
whereas it was a final reality, it was one of the worst ways to die in that day. It was a long, drawn out, tortious, humiliating and public death!
The power of His cross would enable us to effectively take up ours
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who [what] who loved and gave himself for me.”
“To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss. The great symbol of Christianity means sacrifice and no one who calls himself a Christian can evade this stark fact.” Elizabeth Elliot
This carries two aspects to it
This means doing His will, what He has called us to do with our lives, not what we want to do
Two main ones - Love God with everything and love neighbor as yourself
“Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever [would] lose his life for my sake will find it. 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?”
“Save our life”
Couches it in context of the negative - “would” is a verb of choice meaning “has resolved to” - It’s a decision of resolution, determination
Over and against the one who “would” has resolved, determined to lose or give up their own life (FOR THE SAKE OF CHRIST), will find it. This “finding” has meaning for both this life and the one to come.
“Receive Rewards” (when He comes in the glory of His father and the angels)
v.27b - “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.”
This is for the life to come. We will not only experience the goodness of life now, but will have eternal life after death
And it’s not just eternal life, but there will be rewards. We don’t talk about this very much as Christians. Idea of thinking we will receive rewards or working for future rewards seems to smack of pride
Jesus said we would receive rewards, Paul talks about it, so does James and John the Revelator
The bible talks about crowns - Crown of life, Incorruptible crown, Crown of righteousness, Crown of Joy, Crown of glory, Crown of exultation
Don’t know if they are literal crowns or not, but regardless they are real rewards
1 Corinthians 3:14-15 – “If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
All of us will stand before the judgement seat of Christ to either receive rewards (we will be saved no matter what) or lose rewards
So that is the admonition – we should live our lives, by denying ourselves, taking up our cross (losing our lives) and follow Jesus and He will reward us!
Conclusion: Following Jesus is costly. It will cost us everything, including our own desires and our very lives. But the rewards we receive now and what we will receive, the “sacrifices” we make won’t even begin to compare.