Matt. 16:21-28 – The Messiah’s Mission & The Cost of Discipleship
After the disciples confess their belief that Jesus is the promised Messiah, Jesus opens up to them that what he will face in the immediate future is not the throne in Jerusalem but in fact a painful death, followed by his resurrection. The distance from the high of their faith and the reality of what this is going to cost Jesus is more than Peter can take and he “rebukes” Jesus, or protests that this has to be a mistake, that the Saviour of the people is finally here and instead of embracing him, they will kill him. It’s a plot twist that Peter rejects as impossible. Jesus responds to Peter’s protest with equal intensity and sees the enemy’s desire to dissuade Jesus from the one thing that he must do if he is going to save the world.
Then Jesus spells out that those who follow him will have to have the same selfless mind-toward-the-things-of-God that draws him to his fate in Jerusalem. It’s time to pay the piper. No more is it the cry, “Come to me you who are heavily laden and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28-30), now it’s time to follow him and see that one has to give up in order to really “have” and that what he offers is worth more than any gain that one might have without him. Alas, when he does come in glory he will reward those who have followed him based on “what he has done” (Matt. 16: 27). It is not enough to intend but one must do, one must take up ones cross and follow him. JBB