Summary: When we choose to follow Jesus we are called to a life of radical commitment

Living with a Radical Commitment

Matthew 16:21-28


The Wesleyan Church was founded on a radical commitment to the principle that the power of Christ could change the world.

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."


I. The Manifestation of Radical Commitment (21-23)

A. The nature of Christ’s commitment

Jesus shows us what it means to live a life filled with a radical commitment. Jesus had been proclaimed Messiah but no one really understood what it was that Jesus had come to do. In verse 21 Jesus reveals the mission that he had come to accomplish.

Jesus sets the example for us to follow in our commitment.

1. Jesus was committed to go where He was not wanted

2. Jesus was committed to suffer for a people who rejected Him

3. Jesus was committed to die for a lost world

4. Jesus was committed to the ultimate victory

B. The nature of Peter’s correction

Peter takes Jesus aside

The Greek here has an extremely strong meaning. The phrase “took him aside” implies that Peter literally grabbed Jesus and pulled him away from the others to talk with Him. This shows us just how completely clueless Peter truly was about Jesus

Peter “rebukes” Jesus and tells him that there is no way that he would die. In fact, Peter puts this in such strong terms that he says that heaven would not allow it. Peter’s focus was not on the plan of God but instead it was on the understanding of humanity.

2. Jesus corrects Peter

Jesus wastes no time in correcting Peter and totally shuts him down. Jesus uses some extremely strong language with Peter: “get behind me Satan.” The name Satan means adversary or enemy. Jesus understood Peter’s line of reasoning completely because it was nearly identical to that of Satan’s reasoning when he was tempting Jesus. Satan tempted Jesus to abandon the mission of the cross by promising Him the world without it. Peter is doing something very similar by telling Him that He did not need to die.

Peter messed up big time and we can look at his life and criticize him. We pass judgment on Peter too quickly because if we are honest with ourselves we have all done the same thing. There have been times when we have decided to follow our plan for life and wanted Jesus to get with our program.

II. The Mandate for Radical Commitment (24)

Following Jesus demands a price

There is no such thing as low cost grace. There is no such thing as low cost Christianity. Jesus is calling you to an all or nothing deal; He wants all of your life. Every area of your daily living, every moment that you draw breath and every aspect that encompasses your life. This sounds like an incredible cost. Following Jesus is a choice and we make it each and every day. Will you live life on your terms or will you live life on Christ’s terms?

Following Jesus costs us something incredible

The cost of all that you are and all that you ever will be sounds pretty high. In fact, it sounds almost too high but it’s the best offer you can ever be given. Following Jesus costs you a life that is dying to give you a life that never ends. Following Jesus costs you a life of bondage to give you a life of freedom. Following Jesus costs you a life that is cursed to give you a life that is blessed. All in all it doesn’t sound like such a bad deal after all does it?

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