Summary: To be like Jesus we have to be completely dedicated to our mission.
A Messiah on a Mission
Text: Matt. 16:21-28
1. Illustration: “[Most people] act as if they were simply dropped down in creation and have to entertain [them] selves until [they] die. But we [Christians] were sent into the world by God, just as Jesus was. Each of us has a mission in life. Jesus prays to his Father for his followers, saying, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” We seldom fully realize that we are sent to fulfill God-given tasks” (Henri J. N. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, April 23 reading).
2. It should be the goal of all Christians to be like Jesus, and he was a Messiah on a Mission. Therefore, we ought to be a people on a mission.
3. To do so we have to:
a. Know the Mission
b. Focus on the Mission
c. Live the Mission
Proposition: To be like Jesus we have to be completely dedicated to our mission.
Transition: First we must...
I. Know the Mission (21).
A. It Was Necessary For Him
1. As we read the gospels it is easy to see that Jesus was a Messiah on a mission.
a. From his adolescence to his public ministry he knew what his mission was and he never wavered from it.
b. Furthermore, he made it clear to his disciples the extent of his mission.
2. Matthew tells us, "From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem..."
a. This is the first time in Matthew that Jesus indicates that his mission was to suffer and die on the cross.
b. He knew that he had to die, why he had to die, and how he would die.
c. Tell his disciples plainly: make known the character or significance of something by visual, auditory, gestural, or linguistic means (Louw and Nidda, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains).
d. Notice that he says that it was necessary for him to die as a part of God's plan of salvation for the human race.
e. Necessary: to be that which must necessarily take place, often with the implication of inevitability (Louw and Nidda, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains).
f. The gospel message is incomplete without the cross.
g. The cross was the most scandalous form of criminal execution in Jesus' day.
h. Even the term sounded terrible to ancient readers, and we may not blame the disciples if they hoped he was speaking metaphorically(Keener).
3. Jesus also told them "that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law..."
a. The word suffer means more than dying, but it also included his persecution and rejection by the Jews.
b. The elders, priests, and teachers were the three groups of the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish legal authority during the Roman period (Horton, 349).
c. The significance of the rejection coming from the Sanhedrin is that they were responsible for the the spiritual life of Israel, which presents a paradox of the leadership rejecting its only hope (France, 631-632).
4. Not only was Jesus mission misunderstood by the religious leaders, but even his own disciples didn't get what his mission was all about.