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Summary: Following Jesus has become too easy for many people. We like to take the benefits without the discipline and responsibilities. What does it really mean to take up our cross and follow him?

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!”

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. -- Tertullian

Society today:

• Something for nothing

• Free Gifts make us buy more!

• Scavengers on Branscombe beach

Following Jesus comes at a cost.

Do we offer cheap grace too much?

• Making light of Christ’s sacrifice?

• Bonhoeffer on Costly Grace (Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Discipleship, p43-45)

Our passage today is a reminder that if we are to be true disciples of Jesus Christ, it will cost us.

3 S’s:

• Suffering

• Sacrifice

• Sentencing (Judgement)

Read vs 21-23

• New beginning in Jesus’ teaching

• There was a cost for Jesus too!

• He would suffer & serve

• Mk 10:45 – ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’

• Peter didn’t like this

• Not the understood idea of messiahship

• Michael Green quote p182 (Bible Speaks Today commentary series, Matthew by Michael Green)

• Peter is horrified at the possible future for Jesus and even himself maybe?

• Read 16:15-18

• Read 16:22-23

• From building block to stumbling block.

• From church’s foundation to voice of Satan!

• Peter saying the same thing that Satan offered Jesus in desert temptations – messiah without suffering.

• Peter’s proclamation in v15 of who Jesus was, was divinely inspired. His rebuking of Jesus in v22 was humanly inspired.

• As the Son of man had to suffer in order to empathise with humanity, to understand what we have to go through, to enter into the pain of the world and share in it, to overcome the deadly disease of human sin… as He had to do that, so discipleship means identifying with the Master and sharing in his sufferings.

• Read v24-26

• Read Mt 10:38-39 expanded here in ch16

A Pastor from Ohio writes, ‘Have we misunderstood what it is to take up their cross? Our cross is not the boss in our job who gives us a hard time, a child that’s involved with drugs, a prison sentence that we are living out, an incurable disease that we have, or a problem in our lives that we would like to get rid of. Many times you will here people say of something that’s come into their lives, “well I guess this is just my cross to bear.”

In the first century, the cross was an instrument of death. After a criminal was found guilty by the Roman Government, the person would be forced to carry his own cross to the place of crucifixion. Carrying the cross was a public admission that you were wrong and Rome was right, and now you’re in submission to the government. People knew what it was like to leave a city and see people hanging on a cross in great suffering eagerly waiting for death to come.’

• This is what Jesus was on about when he said this to his disciples: ‘You may have to die because you follow me’

• Still happens today!

Story:

Maximilian Kolbe was a Catholic priest, who was put in a Nazi concentration camp for his faith. On May 28, 1941, he was transferred to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. One day a man in Kolbe’s block escaped. All of the men from that block were brought out into the hot sun and made to stand there all day with no food or drink. At the end of the day, the man that had escaped was not found. So the Nazi commandant told the prisoners that ten men would be selected to die in the starvation cell in place of the one that had escaped.

One man, a polish sergeant was one of those selected. He begged to be spared because he was worried that his family would not be able to survive without him. As he was pleading with the commandant, Maximilian Kolbe silently stepped forward and stood before the commandant. The commandant turned to him and asked him what he wanted.

Kolbe pointed to the polish sergeant and said, "I am a Catholic priest from Poland; I would like to take his place, because he has a wife and children." The commandant stood silent for a moment in disbelief.

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