Summary: JESUS NOT ONLY PROMISED THE CROSS IN HIS JOURNEY, BUT IN OURS AS WELL!
JOURNEY TO THE CROSS PART 1: THE PROMISE OF THE CROSS
MATTHEW 16: 21 – 28
SUNDAY MARCH 30, 2003
INTRODUCTION: Salvation is free, ... but discipleship will cost you your life.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer
He who lives only to benefit himself confers on the world a benefit when he dies.
The Italian freedom fighter Garibaldi offered his men only hunger and death to free Italy. Garibaldi had an incredibly committed volunteer army. He would appeal for recruits in these terms: “I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor provisions; I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart and not with his lips only, follow me!”
Jesus invites you to discipleship. But He lets you know up front that it is a commitment that will cost you something. It’s not going to be easy. To paraphrase Garibaldi, “Let him who loves the Lord with his heart and not with his lips only, be Jesus’ disciple!”
Brett Blair, E-sermons, 2001
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for today moves us into the heart of Lent. Jesus predicts his death and even points out clearly that a cross will be involved. He would soon transition for His disciples the truth that He had not come to establish a temporal earthly kingdom, but an eternal kingdom that would never pass away. However, this kingdom building would not be as in the past. This kingdom would come through sacrifice and it would be His life on a cross. This was disturbing news and yet Jesus promised the disciples, THE CROSS WILL COME!
THESIS SENTENCE: JESUS NOT ONLY PROMISED THE CROSS IN HIS JOURNEY, BUT IN OURS AS WELL!
I. THE PROMISE OF THE CROSS IS JESUS WOULD GO VV. 21
A. AN EXPLANATION GIVEN
1. Everything was going great. Peter had finally figured it all out. In three Gospel texts, Peter has identified Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” 2. Could life get any better? The Messiah had come to liberate His people. The Savior of the Jews had arrived and Peter was a ranking official in the Higherarchy! 3. Then Jesus seems to take on a strange tone and the explanation doesn’t sound right!
B. A DEATH PROMISED
1. Suffering? Can this be the language of a rising King?
2. Those that He had come to rule would cause Him to suffer: “The elders, chief priests and teachers of the law (vv. 21)!”
3. “He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life (vv. 21).”
4. This sounds so strange and as we will continue to read and learn of this King, a Cross will be His destination. The CROSS was in the Way of the Kingdom! 5. Do you think they heard the part, “and on the third day be raised to life”?
ILLUSTRATION: A young man was making poor grades in school, particularly in math. His parents tried various things, none of which seemed to produce the desired improvement. Finally, they decided to enroll him in a private school.
At the end of the first grading period, the young man came home and proudly presented his report card to his parents. They were shocked to find that all of his grades had improved significantly. Most noticeably, he had received his first-ever "A" in math.
His parents were overjoyed and began to question him to determine what it was that had finally produced the improvement they had sought. "Was it the non-traditional teaching methods in the private school?" No. "Was it the strict discipline?" No. "Was it the smaller class sizes and more individual attention?" No. "Well, what WAS it then that caused such a big turn around?" they asked.
"Well," the son replied, "when I walked into that school on the first day and the first thing I saw was that man nailed to that plus sign, I KNEW I’d better take math seriously here."
TRUTH: JESUS WOULD GO TO THE CROSS
II. THE PROMISE OF THE CROSS IS IT CANNOT BE DENIED VV. 22—23
A. Man’s Way!
1. Remember, Peter just got it right! Peter has just spoken on behalf of all the disciples and has proclaimed Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God (vv. 16)!”
2. How had he done this? Jesus proclaims, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven (vv. 17).”
3. Now what? “Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’”
4. What was Peter saying? Had he just broke stupid? Did he have a mind lapse? Let’s think this one through. First, he knew Jesus was the Son of the Living God, the Christ. To Peter this meant Power. He could not understand this language of suffering and death. On the other hand, he knew Jesus was the Son of the living God, the Christ. This meant for him obedience. If this is the one we are to follow, we must follow. It also meant this man meant more to him than just a leader; JESUS was “THE LEADER” of all Leaders. Let’s not be to quick to kick ole Peter around.