Jesus Foretells his Suffering and Teaches a Paradox

Matthew 16:21-27

Jesus began teaching his disciples that he would at some time go to Jerusalem and “suffer many things” from the Jewish leaders, be killed, and be raised the third day.

Peter didn’t fully understand the meaning of this or the reasons that Jesus would knowingly and willingly go to his death.  Peter said,”Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.”

Jesus told Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”  Jesus was teaching that his suffering and death was the will of God and anything that would prevent it was against what God wanted.

Get Thee Behind Me Satan by James Tissot

Jesus then taught his disciples:

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Here Jesus teaches a gospel paradox, something that at first seems would work in the opposite way.  There are many applications of Jesus’ teaching.  One main lesson is that if we are only concerned with making our own life better, we will not have a happy one; but if we live our life in following Jesus and serving Him, our life will be a rewarding one.  Our own soul is saved not by us trying to save our own soul but by serving Jesus who is the only one who can save our soul.

What do you think?

  • Why did Peter tell Jesus that Jesus’ suffering would not happen?
  • Why did Jesus compare Peter to Satan?
  • What does it mean to “lose our life” for Jesus’ sake?  How hard is that?  Is it possible to start in small ways and make a little progress at a time?

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