Matthew 16:21-28 – Jesus Tell the Disciples of His Death and Resurrection, and Says to Take Up the Cross and Follow Him
So here we are, on the way to Jerusalem, and Jesus pulls His disciples aside and tells them about what’s coming in Jerusalem. “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,” Matthew 16:21. But Peter tells Jesus not to talk that way, and tries to gently scold Him for His words. Of course Jesus understands that this is the tempting of the evil one who seeks to hold Jesus back from destroying death at the cross. So Jesus tells Peter to lose the attitude and understand that this isn’t for Him to have a say in at all. In other words, “Get behind me, Satan!” Jesus sees the selfishness of Peter in Peter’s desire to keep the Lord alive, so that Peter can be with Jesus. But Christ knows what is to come, and tells Peter to get his head out of the things of man and set his eyes on God’s purpose. Peter would soon learn that purpose, or, as we like to call it, the Theology of the Cross.
Then Jesus goes on to talk about that life with the cross. But it’s important to recognize here that Jesus doesn’t want these verses to be about what we have to do. These are not the things of the Law, for how could we ever expect to live like Jesus, to be able to follow Him where He went and to be perfect like He is? “None is righteous; no, not one,” as Paul says in Romans 3:10. And how could we ever come up with enough to purchase our souls? Could we use the whole world to buy the soul? Would having everything even matter if we would lose our souls anyway? The only One who could purchase our souls has done so, and did with His blood on the cross at Calvary. And that One is Jesus Christ! We are saved, our souls are not lost, because our lives are given over to Christ through faith brought by the power of the Holy Spirit, and not by living in the world and of earthly things. For this world and the things in it are not the goal, the end result. Neither is a life led bearing the cross. The final purpose is life with our Lord Jesus, who defeated sin and death to give us that life eternally through faith. Praise be to God in Christ Jesus!