Today's devotion from Matthew 16. Peter's confession usually commands most readers' attention in this chapter, and perhaps that is rightly the case. This truly is a profound moment in the life and ministry of Jesus. Many had speculated about His identity, but here Peter declares as unquestionable and undeniable that He is the Christ they had long looked for and awaited. Yet, Peter not only knew that Jesus was the Christ, he also knew that He was the Son of God.
After this moment, Matthew's record of Jesus' ministry alters. In this profound moment, everything has changed. Matthew specifically says, "From then on Jesus began to point out to his disciples that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day." (Matthew 16:21, CSB) Do you see the full outline of Jesus' next steps? He must go to Jerusalem. He must suffer, specifically, at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and the scribes. He must be killed. He must be raised.
Jesus knew that all this must come to pass. When Peter argues with Him, Jesus' response is not that of anger, but it is definitely a rebuke. The rebuke comes because he is, "not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns." (Matthew 16:23, CSB) You see, Peter is just looking at the suffering outlined for him from the perspective of one who cares about a person, not from the perspective of the Creator willing to do what was necessary to defeat enemies and restore all of creation.
Jesus wasn't outlining these events because He desired them, but because He desired the outcome of them. He longed for restoration and redemption. He had long planned to return the Kingdom to His Father. While these things were not preferable, they were necessary. Just as is the suffering of His followers. It is necessary for those following Him to take up our cross daily in order to accomplish our two primary objectives as believers. First, to glorify God. Second, to help others find the same hope we have.
Matthew 16 shows us the necessities of the gospel.