Matthew 16:21-28 - 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. 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 man." Then Jesus told His disciples, "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses 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? 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. 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."
Interesting. Right before this passage, Peter declares to Jesus that "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," and Jesus tells Peter "on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (see Matthew 16:16-18). At this point, Peter must have been feeling pretty good about himself: "Sounds like these many months of following Jesus are going to pay off. With Jesus' flair for words, and my skill in management and crowd control, we can launch our plan for world domination, by announcing that Jesus is the Messiah—maybe even later this week!"
Well, Peter—having seen Jesus at work—might have predicted that things wouldn't turn out quite as he hoped. And true to form, they wouldn't be turning out that way this time either. After giving Peter nothing less than "the keys of the kingdom of heaven," Jesus "strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that He was the Christ" (Matthews 16:19a, 20). So, even before Peter steps into the limelight, Jesus pivots.
Rather than riding high on His fame and glory, Jesus shows His disciples that He will suffer miserably at the hands of the elders, chiefs priests, and scribes. And not just that—if that wasn't bad enough—He will be killed. But just as quickly as He took the wind out of Peter's sails with this grim news, Jesus fills them again: on the third day He will be raised.
This is the message for us today, too. Jesus came not to set up an earthly kingdom, but to save us from "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2b). By His death and resurrection, He has freed us from our bondage to sin and the works of darkness and called us "into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9b).
How well Peter learned these truths over time! By God's abundant grace, may we do the same.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, increase our faith in Jesus' wonderful love for us. Thank You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. Which characters in the Bible most inspire you? Make you angry? Confuse you?
2. How do you think you would have handled hearing that Jesus was going to have to suffer and even be killed?
3. Peter was a bold character all the way around (faithful declaration, bitter denial); how do you think God used this quality in Peter's ministry?
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