Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 68
Matthew:16:21-28 Jesus Predicts His Death
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:16:13-20 Peter 's Confession of Christ
What is God doing?
"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples"
It cannot be said that Jesus did not warn His disciples about His soon coming sacrifice. nkjv@Matthew:17:22-23 nkjv@Matthew:20:17-19 nkjv@Matthew:20:28 nkjv@Matthew:26:2 all show that He took a great deal of time and effort preparing them for it. What He had been hinting at in figurative/prophetic language He will from here on out speak to them plainly.
The popular misconception is that Jesus' life was taken from Him, the biblical conception is that He gave His own self in obedience to the Father. Jesus had consented to it from before the time of creation. It happened according to the Father's time frame not man's. It was the wrath that the Father had for all mankind that Jesus under went upon the cross not man's sinfulness. The price that He paid for us was to the Father not Satan and is all sufficient/complete with the Father for our redemption, no further price could/need we pay.
"The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works".
Note that He does not state that a man's works buys him entrance in His kingdom, works are something to be rewarded after he has already entered. Works are not judged based upon their exceptional goodness nor their exception quantity, reward is based upon one's denial of self and the picking up of the Lord's cross.
"There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom".
There are a couple of ways Jesus could possibly of meant this. The one that seem most plausible to me is that Jesus is soon to be transfigured, three living disciples will see Jesus in a glorified state attended to by Moses and Elijah. These three men (some of you) will never see Jesus again the same way as He obediently marches (comes) His way through His passion towards His Cross.
What is man doing?
"Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him"
It may have been Peter's mouth, but it was likely the thought of every man in the room that this should not happen to their master. When you have been with the man this long and know Him as you do, when you know the things that He is capable of doing, it seems an unlikely ending to this triumphant story. When you have given yourself to a cause so completely and think of it as you do to the point of even projecting what your position will be in the kingdom, it is hard to think of it being any other way than as you expect. It is very difficult to hear that what you have come to expect and the way that you are reacting is as much corrupted as if given by Satan himself.
We have stated throughout this devotion that in various shapes and forms, to various extents and degrees that man corrupts all things. Everyone in the room has each taken all the information presented by Jesus and bent it to his own liking and image, the image that serves his needs the best. In the Old Testament this process was depicted as the "Vain Imagination".
"Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men".
The response from Jesus to Peter is just as stunning either way we choose to think of it. It could be meant literally that it is an imagination planted by Satan. Man is filled with perceptions, analysis and derived expectations. Who is to say that these articles and the desires that motivate them are not the fertile ground that the Prince of the Air plants his further directions into to achieve his objectives? Or else it could be meant that the men's projected outcome of Jesus not having to die though well intended so closely achieves as similar result projected by Satan.
Could it be that Jesus is indicating that Satan does not want Jesus to die on the cross either? Perhaps it is Satan's great mistake that he has made for the environment for stirring man's enmity with God to unintentionally make for man's rash resolve to kill the Savior off before he could out maneuver Jesus (if such a thing could be possible).
Either way, if Jesus does not die for the sin of man then the sin of man yet remains. On top of that Jesus Himself would be disqualified as the Savior having disobeyed the will and directive of the Father; all that the Father for so long had established to pull man from man's vile and contaminated quarantine, man's mortal bond to eternal rot and decay, the very promise of God to Eve and Adam and Abraham to save HIS creation from all this is ultimately broken. All for what? So that tiny Israel could enjoy another few months or years in the world's limelight before she corrupted the image of God again and fell once more to her idols and foreign lovers?
Surely these men intend well to keep their friend from death, but His death is the very thing (the only thing) that will save them, deliver them to the created intention of being in God's eternal glory. It was just made known verbally to Jesus that these men believed Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God. In return it was made known that flesh and blood had not revealed this to them. How strange we thought it that they would be disallowed from telling this to anyone yet. Now perhaps we see why. Their image of God and what is yet to happen and why it is to happen has yet to properly been formed; it is still humanly corrupted.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me".
Part of what must be denied, the most important part, is our own images and expectations projected upon Christ. It is one thing to believe that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the living God. It is another thing to know what that truly means and how that must play out in order not just simply be another corruption. Giving one's entire self sacrificially over to a cause is actually an easier thing to do then picking up the true cross as it is intended by Jesus and to follow after (as proven here by the disciples). These men have given themselves over substantially so far, but yet for the time being what they have picked up on so closely resembles the subtle devices of the Devil as to require a stern warning if it is not connected to the Father's uncorrupted will and commandment.
In future devotional considerations especially in the Gospel According to John we will consider the essential and advantageous works of the Holy Spirit teaching and guiding and putting into remembrance all things pertaining to this walk or carrying on of Christ's Cross.
Next: devotion:Matthew:17:1-13 The Transfiguration