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In the steps of the Christ
Bible Passage Matthew 16: 13- 28
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & books Mark, Matthew.

In the steps of the Christ

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached July 10, 2023

13 When Jesus had come to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They said, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 He asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”

17 Then Jesus told him, “How blessed you are, Simon son of Jonah, since flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, though my Father in heaven has.

18 I tell you that you are Peter, and it is on this rock that I will build my congregation, and the powers of hell will not conquer it.

19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom from heaven. Whatever you prohibit on earth will have been prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven.”

20 Then he strictly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he would have to go to Jerusalem and suffer a great deal because of the elders, the high priests, and the scribes. Then he would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God be merciful to you, Lord! This must never happen to you!”

23 But Jesus turned and told Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an offense to me, because you are not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts!”

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continuously.

25 Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it,

26 because what profit will a person have if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life?

27 The Son of Man is going to come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to what he has done.

28 I tell all of you with certainty, some people standing here will not experience death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Jesus and the disciples travelled up to Caesarea Philippi, in the far north of Palestine. While there, Jesus asked them who they believed Him to be. Peter, probably speaking for the group, replied that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of God.

Delighted at this insight, Jesus told the group (through words addressed to their spokesman Peter) that they would be the foundation on which He would build His church, and no power would be able to conquer it (Matt 16:17-18; compare Eph 2:20).

By preaching the gospel they would open the kingdom to all who wished to enter. They would carry Jesus’ authority with them so that the things they did on earth in His name would be confirmed in heaven (Matt 16:19; compare Acts 2:32; 3:6,16,19). But that was still in the future. For the present, they were to support Him in His ministry, but they were not to proclaim His messiahship openly till the appointed time had come (verse 20).

Jesus then made it clear that in order to fulfill His messianic ministry, He had to suffer, die and rise again. Peter’s objection to this showed that the disciples still did not understand the true nature of the Messiah’s work. The suggestion that Jesus should turn back from the cross was yet another temptation by Satan. It was an attempt to persuade Him to gain His kingdom by some way other than death, and so cause Him to fail in the very thing he came to do ( verse 21-23; compare Matt 4:8-10).

Immediately after telling His disciples of His coming suffering and death, Jesus told them they had to be prepared for similar treatment. The disciples of Jesus are those who have given their lives to Jesus, and they will be obedient to their master even if it leads to hardship, persecution, and death. They will no longer rule their own lives but will deny themselves personal desires in order to please Jesus.

In sacrificing the life that puts self first, they will find the only true life. On the other hand, those who live for themselves may gain what they want in the present world, but they will lose the only life of lasting value, eternal life (verses 24-27).

Jesus promised His disciples that those who accompanied Him in His ministry would, in their present lifetime, see something of the triumph of the Son of man’s glorious kingdom. This was possibly a reference to the victorious expansion of the church after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension (verse 28; Mark 9:1 )

🔷 It is not easy to know Jesus and confess Him as the Messiah

🔷 Pain and suffering proceed to the crown and eternal life that is found in Christ Jesus

🔷 All leaders must avail themselves for assessment and appraisal to make them know how people see them and think about them

💥 Pray that the Spirit of God will continue to reveal the identity of Jesus to you
💥 Pray that you’re able to pick your cross and follow Jesus

Following Jesus involves commitment and self-denial. It means going through part of what Jesus Himself went through. When we enjoy everything in this life without any eye on God, we only call on eternal condemnation unto ourselves in the end.

In series Bright Morning Reflections