Sermon Title: He Must Go
Text: Matthew 16:21-28; 17:22-23; 20:17-19
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” (Matthew 16:21–28, ESV).
The disciples spent much of their time being confused, and they pretty much stayed that way until they were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. What really messed them up was when Jesus started talking about going to Jerusalem to be mistreated and then to be killed. If he’s the Son of God, how can anyone kill him? The Messiah is supposed to conquer his enemies, not be conquered by them.
Three times in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus stops to tell his disciples what lies ahead. It confuses and distresses them, even leading Peter to step in and try to persuade Jesus not to do it.
Jesus’s response to them is his response to us . . . “take up your cross and follow me.”
Jesus didn’t come to be pampered and served. He, quite literally, came to die. And he calls us to learn to live outward-focused lives and to be willing to live sacrificially, walking in his footsteps toward Jerusalem. It’s an all-encompassing and humbling call that we must spend our entire lives learning to follow.
- How can our class pray for you, a friend, or loved one tonight?
Start Reading (read Matthew 16:21-28)
- What questions or observations do you have from reading the text? What’s one thing you remember from the sermon?
- The other texts used in the sermon were Matthew 17:22-23 and 20:17-19. With the three texts (Matt 16, 17, and 20), what were the three responses of the disciples to Jesus’ predictions about his upcoming death? [Hint: for Matthew 20, keep reading past verse 19.]
- What could’ve caused Peter to “rebuke” Christ? How could he have acted so boldly (and recklessly)?
- Why do you think the apostles responded the way they did? What were their thoughts about the Messiah?
- What did Jesus mean when he told Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!”?
- What does this statement mean: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”?
- Are you ever tempted to follow Jesus only on the easy paths? What difficult paths have you turned away from?
- In what ways have we—like Peter—tried to conform Jesus into the Savior we want him to be instead of the One he is?
- For the apostles, following Jesus to Jerusalem meant persecution and, in most cases, death. What does it look like for Christians in Alabama in 2019?
- How can we avoid the trap of “gaining the whole world” and “forfeiting our souls”?