Not What You’d Expect
Lord Jesus, help me to follow You, no matter what the cost. Help me to see life with Your perspective.
Read Matthew 16:21-28
 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.  Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”  Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.  “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAre you prepared to suffer for Jesus?
From this point on in the Gospel story, Jesus is focused on his Jerusalem goal. Along the way he prepares and teaches his disciples about the nature of his kingship. A Messiah who is to suffer and die?! This didn’t fit with the kind of messianic leader the disciples had imagined. Rise from the dead?! What was Jesus talking about? (They hadn’t gotten his earlier reference to the sign of Jonah in v. 4; cf. 12:38-40.) Peter, who had shortly before proclaimed his belief in Jesus the Messiah, Son of God, now tells his Lord he has got things wrong (22)!If the disciples had gotten the wrong idea about the Messiah, then they’d also gotten the wrong idea about what it would mean to be his followers. Taking up your cross, denying yourself, forfeiting your life–this wasn’t the picture the disciples had of discipleship, which is clear from their argument about who would get the best place in God’s kingdom (Mark 10:35-45). They had a lot to learn. And so do we. Gaining the whole world–riches, power, status–might seem desirable, but that’s not what Jesus is interested in. All of that is nothing compared to our eternal salvation.
Peter’s perspective excluded suffering. He wasn’t prepared when the moment came (Mark 14:71). Prepare yourself.
Lord Jesus, as You gave up Your life for me, help me to give my life to You.