TEXT: Matthew 16:21-28 (Read 13-28)
READING: Psalm 50:1-23
SUBJ: Open opposition to the work of the Cross and the role of the Cross in true discipleship.
AIM: That we might daily take up our Cross and follow Him.
INTR: We will examine in this text satanic opposition to the Gospel and its implications in our age. The enemies of the cross will minimize the understanding of it and water down the necessity.
1. In the process of scriptural interpretation there is a danger of failing to connect important thoughts. For example, we should connect the thoughts in vv. 21-23 (having to do with Peter’s offense at the cross) with vv. 24-28 (having to do with one’s personal identity with the cross).
2. Peter is often seen to act capriciously, and this is certainly a prime example. His actions are taken in the absence of Spiritual leadership and exercising self-will…
3. The intensity of the rebuke of Christ to Peter tells us that Peter has crossed the line into obstruction of the very purpose of God in salvation. Peter, under the influence of Satan, stepped directly in the path of our Lord’s work of salvation.
THESIS: The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and all that was included in it, is at the heart of all that we may claim in salvation. We must not minimize either its importance in salvation or its role in our lives here on earth and certainly we should not neglect it in our personal testimony.
I. The “must” of Christ in salvation (v. 21)
1. Many instances are recorded in which He spoke of those things He must suffer. Here He speaks plainly and graphically of that which must occur.
2. But He must suffer:
1) Specifically at the hands of those mentioned in the text: elders, chief priests, and so on.
2) Specifically, that He must be killed and
3) That He must be raised again the third day.
3. We consider then what will have been done through the work He declared (and consider that the disciples were not grasping this as essential to salvation leaning to their own understanding).
1) Man will have done his worst
2) Death will have been met and defeated
3) Life will have been claimed for His people.
II. Satan’s hatred of what Jesus would do (vv. 22-23)
1. Compare Peter here (under the influence of Satan) and in verse 16 in that which was revealed to by Our Father Which art in Heaven.
2. The intent of Peter seemed good. He was saying Lord propitiate yourself. They can’t do this to you. Like the temptation in the wilderness, the goodness and worth of Christ is acknowledged.
3. Compare the words of Christ here and in Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
4. The rebuke is scathing.
1) Thou art an offence (stone in the way or a stumbling block)
2) This has nothing to so with the things of God but with the things of men. If Satan had had his way at this point, men would still be unsuccessfully aspiring to worship in their sins and would still miss the mark. Do these things have a familiar ring to them?
3) Man’s thoughts are not God’s thoughts nor were Peter’s thoughts here.
5. Satan and all forms of false religion hate the Cross. See Galatians 5:11 and the mention of the “offence of the cross.” Because therein is:
1) Human depravity declared
2) Divine purpose is asserted
3) Atonement is made in accordance with the eternal design of God.
4) New life is claimed from the dead AND here we make the connection.
III. Perseverance will be seen in true discipleship. (vv. 24-28)
1. The 5th thing to be realized is that His people follow Him in “the way.” After salvation comes following.
2. The taking of “our cross” is to take up an identity with the cross of Christ. While our lots in life may differ greatly, there is only one implication as to the cross. We walk by faith in what was accomplished at the cross.
3. A precious precept is here taught in that the realization of salvation comes in losing the life of the flesh. Jesus brought salvation to us by giving up all.
4. The only alternative is the loss of one’s own soul.
5. It is through the death of the cross that Jesus claimed the right to come again “in the glory of His Father with his angels.” Whose works shall we present? Ours or the righteousness of Christ?