Not What You'd Expect


Are you prepared to suffer for Jesus?


Lord Jesus, help me to follow You, no matter what the cost. Help me to see life with Your perspective.


Matthew 16:21-28


Are 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.

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