Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus, who saves sinners through His suffering, death, and resurrection. Help us discern and turn away from any teaching that seeks to move us away from the cross of Christ. Help us deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow You. In Christ, help us to be humble, hate sin, love sinners, and forgive others. In Jesus name, amen.
Read Matthew 16-18
WHO DO YOU SAY JESUS IS?
Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’
Matthew 16:1–27 Any gospel that doesn’t include Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection is deceptive and false. Following Jesus requires adherence to pure teaching as well as total surrender to His kingdom work.
‘He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.’
– Jim Elliot
What will it benefit a man if he gains the world and loses his soul?
Matthew 16:27–17:27 Jesus’ death was not permanent and the cross was simply the path toward His coronation as King of His kingdom. The glory of King Jesus is unparalleled (16:28–17:13). Notice God’s verdict on His Son as the Father approves Jesus in the presence of Moses and Elijah. This is the final prophet whom Moses mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:15-18. Jesus is the final Word of God, so we should listen to Him and interpret all Scripture in a Christ-centered manner (17:1–8). The power of the Son of Man defeats Satan, saves sinners from the curse of sin, and makes nothing impossible (17:14–20). The cross of King Jesus brings sinners into His family (17:22–27).
THE TITLE: SON OF MAN
Jesus’ favorite title for Himself was ‘Son of Man.’ We find this term in the Old Testament in Ezekiel (2:1–3; 3:1–4) and Daniel (7:13–14). In Jesus’ day, people likely associated the Son of Man with the Messiah, but Jesus used the Son of Man title to communicate His divine authority, His suffering, His death and resurrection, and also His glorious second coming. Jesus was both the Suffering Servant of Isaiah and the Son of Man of Daniel.
Matthew 18:1–35 When believers come into the new covenant family, they are transformed and should live differently from the world. God’s children, as disciples of Jesus, should be humble and avoid tempting others. Disciples should hate personal sin—and, like their Heavenly Father, they should help others turn from sin (18:1–14).
Because God the Father lovingly pursues straying sinners through the church and church discipline, God’s church must love sinners and hate sin enough to practice church discipline toward those who are unrepentant (18:15–20).
Notice finally that because of the Father’s great mercy and forgiveness toward us, we ought to quickly forgive one another every time someone sins against us (18:21–35).
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’
- Because believers are a part of God’s family, their lives are expected to represent the character of God. In this section, Jesus outlines many characteristics and behaviors of believers. Which of these seem hardest for you to adopt, culturally or personally? Do you currently hold values or behaviors that might be preventing you from embracing God’s call of discipleship? Ask God to set you free as you turn from these and turn afresh to following Jesus.
- How are you doing with forgiving others? Do you think you always need to forgive? How might meditating and considering God’s forgiveness toward you help you forgive others?
- Discuss some ways we’re tempted to stray from focusing our lives on Jesus’ death and resurrection. Share with at least one person what it means that Jesus is the Christ, the Beloved Son of God to whom all should listen.