Matthew 20:1-16 God's Generous Grace

Matthew 16:21-28: Jesus Drops “Cross-Country Road Trip” Bombshell

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Welcome, dear friends, to this blessed gathering where we delve into the living words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s a joy to have you all here, as we embark on a journey of exploration and growth through the profound truths contained in Matthew 16:21-28.


As we gather today, let us open our hearts to the wisdom that Christ imparts through this passage. Our study will center around the powerful teachings of Jesus regarding the essence of discipleship and the call to follow Him wholeheartedly. In these verses, we find a potent call to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Jesus. It’s a call that challenges our comfort zones and redirects our focus toward eternal priorities.

Scripture: Matthew 16:21-28

Matthew 16:21-28 (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 Call to Deny and Follow:

  • Denying ourselves: Surrendering our desires and selfish ambitions to Christ.
  • Taking up our crosses: Embracing the challenges and sacrifices that come with following Jesus.
  • Following Christ: Walking in His footsteps, imitating His love, and obedience.

The Paradox of Gain and Loss:

  • Losing to gain: Discovering true life by letting go of our worldly pursuits.
  • The value of the soul: Understanding the eternal worth of our souls.
  • The promise of rewards: Anticipating the divine reward for faithful discipleship.

The Glorious Future in Christ:

  • Christ’s triumphant return: The Son of Man’s coming in glory and the fulfillment of His kingdom.
  • Living with eternity in mind: Shaping our choices and actions in light of the ultimate reward.
  • The urgency of discipleship: Recognizing the shortness of time and the call to respond today.

May our time together be filled with revelation and inspiration as we explore the richness of these verses and seek to align our lives with the path of true discipleship. Let us approach this study with open hearts, eager to grasp the profound truths that Jesus reveals to us.

The Call to Deny and Follow:


In this section of the passage, Jesus lays out the fundamental principles of discipleship. He calls us to deny ourselves, relinquishing our own desires and ambitions, and to take up our crosses, embracing the challenges and difficulties that may come with following Him. By doing so, we align ourselves with His example of selflessness and sacrifice. Jesus underscores that true discipleship involves an unwavering commitment to follow Him, even in the face of adversity.


As we reflect on this section, let us ponder the significance of denying ourselves. It’s a call to place Christ at the center of our lives, allowing His will to guide our choices. Taking up our crosses requires courage and endurance, but it’s through these challenges that we draw nearer to Him. Let’s ask ourselves: Are there areas in our lives where we need to deny ourselves and take up our crosses more fully? How can we cultivate a heart that willingly surrenders to Christ’s leading?

The Paradox of Gain and Loss:


Jesus presents a profound paradox – the idea that losing our life for His sake leads to finding true life. This challenges the world’s perspective on success and fulfillment. Our souls hold eternal value, surpassing the temporary allure of worldly gains. Christ assures us of divine rewards for faithful discipleship. This section emphasizes the eternal perspective that should guide our decisions, as we navigate a world focused on temporary pleasures.


As we contemplate this paradox, let’s consider the areas in which we may be striving to gain the world’s approval or success. Are we willing to exchange worldly achievements for the abundant life that Christ offers? Our souls hold immeasurable value in God’s eyes. How can we shift our priorities and invest in pursuits that have lasting significance? Let’s meditate on the eternal rewards that await those who faithfully follow Jesus.

The Glorious Future in Christ:


Looking forward, Jesus speaks of His triumphant return, when He will come in glory with His angels. This future event serves as a reminder of our ultimate hope and destination as His disciples. Living with eternity in mind transforms how we live today. The urgency of discipleship becomes evident as we anticipate His return and the establishment of His kingdom.


As we contemplate Christ’s future return, let’s assess the state of our hearts. Are we living in a way that reflects our anticipation of His glorious coming? How can we align our priorities with His kingdom’s values? Let’s embrace each day with a sense of purpose, remembering that our actions today echo into eternity. In light of His imminent return, how can we encourage one another to live passionately for Christ?

Commentary on Christian Discipleship and Spiritual Growth:

Discipleship is not merely a title but a transformative journey. It’s about daily surrender, embracing the call to deny self and live for Christ. This journey of spiritual growth involves constant pruning and refining, as we shed our old ways to take on Christ’s character. Our faith deepens when we realize that our identity is rooted in Him. True discipleship births spiritual maturity, marked by love, humility, and a passion to serve. Let’s embark on this journey together, supporting one another’s growth and holding fast to the hope set before us.

In Closing:


Matthew 16:21-28 invites us to step into the radical call of discipleship. It compels us to reflect on our commitment to Christ, the paradox of gain and loss, and the glorious future we await. As we navigate life’s challenges, let’s remember that our journey isn’t one of comfort but of transformation. Our priorities shift, and our pursuits align with Christ’s eternal purposes. May we be a people who take up the cross daily, eagerly anticipating His return with hearts ablaze for Him.

Multiple Choice Q&A:

  1. What does denying ourselves in discipleship involve? a) Pursuing worldly ambitions b) Surrendering our desires to Christ c) Accumulating material wealth d) Seeking approval from others Personal Reflection: How can denying ourselves lead to spiritual growth?
  2. According to Jesus, what is the result of losing our life for His sake? a) Temporary gain b) True life c) Earthly wealth d) Recognition from society Personal Reflection: How can we prioritize eternal rewards over temporary gains?
  3. How does the anticipation of Christ’s return impact our discipleship journey? a) It creates anxiety and fear b) It diminishes our sense of purpose c) It infuses urgency and purpose into our actions d) It leads to complacency and inaction Personal Reflection: How can we live each day with the imminent return of Christ in mind?

Closing Prayer:

Gracious Heavenly Father, we thank You for the wisdom and truth revealed through Matthew 16. As we partake in this journey of discipleship, help us find the courage to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Your Son, Jesus Christ. May our hearts be captivated by the promise of true life that comes from losing ourselves in Him. Grant us a deep understanding of the eternal value of our souls, and may we live with an unwavering focus on Your kingdom’s values. Empower us to eagerly await Christ’s return, living each day as faithful and fervent disciples. Give us the boldness to invite others to join us on this transformative path. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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