Summary: The cost of the cross. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Matthew chapter 16 verses 21-28.
• A police sergeant was lecturing to a class of cadets;
• He posed for them this situation:
• ‘Imagine you’re on duty when two cars smash into each other.
• You are just about to go to their aid;
• When you notice an articulated lorry heading down the hill;
• Right towards this blind corner where the accident occurred.
• Suddenly you hear a scream and see that the shock of the crash;
• Has sent a pregnant woman on the pavement into premature labour.
• Meanwhile, a fireball from one of the car’s petrol tanks;
• Is heading towards a crowds pub full of under-age drinkers.’
• The Police sergeant then asked the cadets;
• ‘What do you do?
• There was silence around the room,
• So the Sergeant decided to pick on one of the cadets.
• The cadet thought for a moment and then replied;
• ‘Sir, I would slip off my uniform and merge with the crowd!’
In the difficult situations of life:
• Often there are no easy or simplistic answers:
• And life does not permit us the luxury of opting out!
• It has been a key episode in the disciples walk with Jesus;
• He has challenged them as to who do they think that he really is?
• Simon Peter took courage (wrong it was blasphemy) and declared him to be:
• “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.
• Having confirmed this remark;
• Jesus quelled their excitement with a warning.
• Verse 20:
• Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
• Although the disciples had reached the point of understanding;
• That Jesus really was the Messiah.
• There was still a big problem still to sort out;
• They had not yet realised what kind of Messiah he would be.
• Like their fellow country men they were looking for a political king,
• Some one to kick out the Romans and usher in God’s kingdom.
• They needed to know that Jesus had come this time to defeat an even bigger enemy than Rome;
• Sin, death and the devil!
(2). 4 Things to note:
(1). An explanation (Verses 21):
21From 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.
• Having declared His person, Jesus now declared His work;
• The two must go together.
• He would go to Jerusalem, & suffer at the hands of the “elders, chief priests and scribes”,
• These three groups of men made up the Sanhedrin who would condemn Jesus.
• Jesus said his suffering would lead to his death.
• This was His first clear statement of His death,
• Although He had hinted at this before; (i.e. John chapter 2 verse 19; chapter 3 verse 14)
• Now he was stating the matter plainly.
• Death would not be an accident, nor even martyrdom.
• It was part of a master plan and his death would be an offering, a sacrifice!
• Famous painting by Goethe’s in Louvre Museum in Paris called ‘Checkmate’.
• It is a picture of the devil and a man called Faust engaged in a chess match.
• Faust won he would get youth, knowledge and power.
• If the devil won he would get Faust soul.
• You could see Faust’s helpless situation.
• He’d been checkmated,
• One day a tourist stood in front of the painting an inordinately long time;
• Studying the facial details and the location of the chessmen on the board.
• And all at once the visitor shouted,
• "It’s a lie! It’s a lie! Faust still has a move!"
(3). An objection (Verse 22):
Peter said; "Never Lord” he said, “This shall never happen to you!“
• Peter was shocked by this statement of Jesus;
• The other disciples no doubt felt the same.
It was hard for any Jew at this time in history to imagine the Messiah:
• Suffering, rejection and death.
• This was a picture of weakness not power.
• The nation were looking for a powerful Messiah,
• One who would kick out the Romans and set up his earthly kingdom.
• No wonder Peter was aghast,
• This description of the Messiah given by Jesus did not fit his understanding at all.
(4). A rebuke (Verse 23):
23Jesus 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.”