The Messiah - Cecil "Creed" Reed Jr.

After Peter suggested Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus began to explain to the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem where he would suffer many things at the hands of the elders, priests, and teachers of the law. He revealed that he must be killed and on the third day he would be raised to life.

Peter took Jesus aside and argued, “Never, Lord!” he said. “This will never happen to you!”

Jesus turned to Peter and said,

“Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me. You do not have the concerns of God in mind, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus told the disciples,

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? What can anyone give that is worth their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.”

“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

What the story means to us today

A simple choice – turn away from worldly ways

From this point forward, Jesus no longer speaks of his impending death in vague, symbolic terms. The disciples now recognize him as the messiah, a major turning point in the New Testament narrative. Now we see Jesus openly discussing his death and resurrection, preparing his disciples for his inevitable death, and letting them know that he must face those that are about to persecute him.

The guidance Jesus provided the disciples is equally applicable to us today. We must turn our backs to the world and its worldly ways and instead, “take up the cross” and follow Jesus’ teachings, even if it means others will reject us. As Jesus points out, “turning from worldly ways” is an obvious choice. After all, what good are worldly ways if the cost is your soul.

Additional thoughts and considerations

A critical turn of events in Jesus’ narrative

Several critical events occur in these verses. This is the first time Jesus openly predicts his death. It is the first time he reveals he will rise from the dead after three days. And it closes the Gentile ministry so Jesus can refocus his attention on Jerusalem and the final events that will take place there.

Sacrifice for Jesus

Jesus tells the disciples,

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”.

In other words, a Christian must be ready to reject the world and attempt to mimic Jesus’ attitude and behavior.

Jesus follows with,

“Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it”.

Jesus is explaining that the choice to follow him will result in rejection by others. If you give up the world and follow Jesus, you will find a more meaningful (and eternal) “life”. But If you choose to ignore Jesus’ call, your spiritual life will be forfeited.

What did Jesus mean when he said, “Some will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming to his kingdom?”

Jesus tells the disciples,

“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man in his kingdom”.

Mark phrases Jesus’ words slightly differently:

“Some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power”.

There are various ways to interpret Jesus’ statement.

Some believe Jesus was referring to the Second Coming. This is clearly not the case. The New Testaments shows that Jesus expected his Second Coming to be quite some time in the future. In several instances, he told the disciples that his arrival would happen a time after many others came claiming to be the messiah, after many wars, after Christianity becomes despised, and after many Christians turn away from their faith. Clearly the verses show that the event known as the Second Coming would take place in the far future.

Others believe Jesus was referring to his resurrection (i.e. “some of you will see me resurrected”). Still others believe he was refereeing to the foundation and growth of the Christian church.

It is more likely that Jesus was referring to the story in the upcoming verses. The next chapter describes a supernatural event known as “The Transfiguration”. Six days following the statement Jesus made in these verses, Jesus is seen by three of the disciples radiating light and speaking to Old Testament prophets. Possibly this is what Jesus meant by “seeing Son of Man in his kingdom”.

The prophecy of Isaiah – and the disbelief of the disciples

Isaiah 53:1 prophesizes Jesus’ death with uncanny accuracy.

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

The disciples do not foresee a messiah that suffers and dies at the hands of his enemies. They see a savior instead. Matthew tells us Peter questioned Jesus’ prediction. Mark and Luke go further and reveal the disciples thought Jesus’ prediction of his suffering should not be taken literally. It will not be until his death and resurrection that the disciples (including Peter) truly understand the accuracy of Jesus’ prediction regarding his death.

Did Jesus call Peter “Satan”?

Peter’s actions were indeed evil and could have been influenced by Satan. This doesn’t mean Peter is a bad person. Even Jesus was tempted by Satan. But unlike Jesus, Peter temporarily succumbed to Satan’s influence. In a sense, he played the role of the Devil through his actions.

It must have been hurtful to Jesus when Peter tried to put personal ambition ahead of God’s plan. In later verses, we will see Peter again give in to evil as he slips from being “The Rock” to becoming a “stumbling block”.

Bible Text

NIV

21 From 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, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

The NET Bible

16:21 From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 16:22 So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him: “God forbid, Lord! This must not happen to you!” 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.” 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 16:25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 16:26 For what does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life? 16:27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 16:28 I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

New King James Version

21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

The Message

21–22 Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive. Peter took him in hand, protesting, “Impossible, Master! That can never be!”

23 But Jesus didn’t swerve. “Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works.”

24–26 Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

27–28 “Don’t be in such a hurry to go into business for yourself. Before you know it the Son of Man will arrive with all the splendor of his Father, accompanied by an army of angels. You’ll get everything you have coming to you, a personal gift. This isn’t pie in the sky by and by. Some of you standing here are going to see it take place, see the Son of Man in kingdom glory.”

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

King James Version

21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, 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. 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For 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. 28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archaeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database, Creed Art (Cecil L. Reed jr artist homepage), Evgeny Vypov (artist homepage)