Matthew 20:1-16 God's Generous Grace

Matthew 18:15-20: The Power of Reconciliation and Prayer

Delivery Time: 21 minutes

Headline for Matthew 18:15-20 (NIV Bible) “Matthew 18:15-20: The Power of Reconciliation and Prayer”

A Message to Bible Study Leaders

Dear Bible Study Leaders,

Thank you for your dedication to fostering spiritual growth and discipleship within your groups. We recognize the importance of studying God’s Word together and the transformation it brings to individuals and communities. As you continue to lead and guide your members, we invite you to Get the Weekly Free Small Group In-Home Bible Study. This resource will equip you with valuable materials to facilitate meaningful discussions and encourage spiritual growth among your group members.

May God bless you abundantly as you faithfully serve!

Thank you,
Christopher Sciullo

A Message to Women Bible Study Leaders Dear Women Bible Study Leaders,

We are thrilled to announce that a Special Offer is coming soon specifically designed to support you in setting up your own In-Home Small Group Bible Study. We understand the unique needs and perspectives of women as they engage in spiritual growth and discipleship journeys. This upcoming offer will provide you with resources, materials, and guidance to create a nurturing and empowering environment for your group. Stay tuned for more details!

With gratitude,
Christopher Sciullo

Matthew 16:21-28: Embracing the Cross: The Call to True Discipleship


Welcome, dear friends, to our Bible study focused on Christian discipleship and spiritual growth. We are delighted to have each one of you join us as we dive deep into the Word of God and seek to understand what it means to be true followers of Christ. It is our prayer that these sessions will ignite a passion within your hearts to live out your faith and embrace the transformative power of the cross. May this study be a source of encouragement, challenge, and growth for all of us.


In this Bible study, we will explore the profound teachings of Jesus regarding discipleship. Our aim is to grasp the significance of taking up our cross and following Him wholeheartedly. We will delve into the challenging aspects of discipleship and discover how it intertwines with our spiritual growth. Through this study, we will be inspired to surrender our lives to Christ, allowing Him to mold us into His image and use us for His divine purposes.

Scripture: Matthew 16:21-28 (NIV)

Matthew 16:21-28

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.”


Topic 1: The Way of the Cross

Jesus foretells His suffering and resurrection (verse 21)
Peter’s well-intentioned but misguided response (verse 22)
Jesus rebukes Peter and outlines the path of discipleship (verse 23)

Topic 2: The Demands of Discipleship

The call to self-denial and taking up the cross (verse 24)
The paradox of losing and finding life (verse 25)
The eternal value of one’s soul (verse 26)

Topic 3: The Future Glory

The promise of Christ’s return and judgment (verse 27)
Rewards based on faithfulness and deeds (verse 27)
The anticipation of the Son of Man’s kingdom (verse 28)

Opening Prayer

May our hearts be open to the teachings of Jesus and may this study deepen our understanding of what it means to be true disciples. Let us embark on this journey together, supporting and encouraging one another as we grow in our faith.

The Way of the Cross

In this section, Jesus begins to reveal to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, suffer, and be killed, but will rise again on the third day (verse 21). Peter, out of his love for Jesus, takes Him aside and rebukes Him, saying that it will never happen to Him (verse 22). Jesus responds by rebuking Peter, recognizing that his words are influenced by human concerns rather than divine ones (verse 23).

Explanation: This passage highlights the tension between the human perspective and God’s plan. Jesus emphasizes the necessity of His suffering and death as part of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. Peter’s response reflects a common human tendency to avoid suffering.

Reflection: As disciples of Christ, we are called to embrace the way of the cross, even when it involves suffering or sacrifice. It can be challenging to align our desires and perspectives with God’s will, especially when it contradicts our natural inclinations. However, true discipleship requires us to surrender our own preferences and trust in God’s greater purpose.

Commentary on Christian Discipleship and Spiritual Growth: This section reminds us that discipleship involves embracing the path of self-denial and recognizing that God’s ways are higher than our own. It challenges us to let go of our own desires and submit to God’s plan for our lives. In doing so, we grow in our trust and dependence on God, deepening our spiritual maturity.

Multiple Choice Q&A:

What was Jesus’ purpose in going to Jerusalem?
A) To suffer and be killed
B) To gain earthly power and authority
C) To avoid any form of suffering
D) To establish a political kingdom

Personal Reflection: As a disciple, do I fully embrace the purpose of Christ’s suffering and death, recognizing its significance for my salvation and spiritual growth?

The Demands of Discipleship

In this section, Jesus outlines the demands of discipleship. He states that whoever wants to be His disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him (verse 24). He emphasizes the paradox that those who seek to save their own lives will lose them, while those who lose their lives for His sake will find true life (verse 25). Jesus highlights the eternal value of one’s soul, emphasizing that no worldly gain can compare (verse 26).

Explanation: Jesus challenges His disciples to prioritize their allegiance to Him above all else, including their own desires and comfort. He teaches that true life and fulfillment are found in wholeheartedly following Him, even if it means embracing self-sacrifice.

Reflection: As followers of Christ, we are called to surrender our own ambitions and desires, taking up our cross daily. This means being willing to lay aside our own preferences, comforts, and ambitions for the sake of Christ and His kingdom. In doing so, we discover the abundant and eternal life that comes from aligning our lives with His purposes.

Commentary on Christian Discipleship and Spiritual Growth: This section highlights the radical commitment required in discipleship. It challenges us to examine our priorities, asking if we are truly willing to give up everything to follow Christ. It reminds us that spiritual growth involves ongoing self-denial and a willingness to let go of our own desires in order to embrace God’s will for our lives.

Multiple Choice Q&A:

What does it mean to take up one’s cross?

A) To avoid suffering and hardship
B) To seek personal gain and comfort
C) To embrace self-sacrifice and follow Christ
D) To prioritize one’s own desires above all

Personal Reflection: In what areas of my life am I hesitant to embrace self-sacrifice and take up my cross for the sake of Christ? How can I grow in surrendering my desires to follow Him more fully?

The Future Glory

In this section, Jesus speaks of His future return and the glorious coming of the Son of Man in His Father’s glory, accompanied by His angels (verse 27). He assures that each person will be rewarded according to their deeds (verse 27). Jesus concludes by telling His disciples that some of them will witness the Son of Man coming in His kingdom before tasting death (verse 28).

Explanation: Jesus provides a glimpse of the future, affirming the reality of His return and the ultimate judgment. He assures that those who faithfully serve Him will be rewarded according to their deeds.

Reflection: This passage reminds us of the eternal perspective we should have as disciples of Christ. It encourages us to live with an awareness that our actions and choices have eternal significance. We are called to persevere in faith, knowing that our ultimate reward is found in the presence of Christ.

Commentary on Christian Discipleship and Spiritual Growth: This section directs our attention to the hope and assurance we have as disciples. It reminds us thatour present actions and choices have eternal consequences. It encourages us to live with a sense of urgency, faithfully using our time, talents, and resources to advance God’s kingdom. It also serves as a reminder that our ultimate reward is not found in earthly possessions or achievements, but in the eternal glory of being with Christ.

Multiple Choice Q&A:

What does Jesus promise in relation to His return?

A) He will reward each person according to their deeds
B) He will punish those who have not followed Him
C) He will establish an earthly kingdom
D) He will forget about His followers

Personal Reflection: How does the promise of Christ’s return and the assurance of rewards motivate me to live faithfully and invest my life in His Kingdom?

Closing Commentary

In this passage, Jesus reveals the true nature of discipleship. He challenges us to embrace the way of the cross, denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Him. Following Jesus involves self-sacrifice, surrendering our own desires, and aligning our lives with His purposes. It requires us to prioritize eternal values over temporary gain and to live with an awareness of His imminent return. As we faithfully walk this path of discipleship, we experience spiritual growth, deepen our trust in God, and find true life and fulfillment in Him.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the powerful teachings of Jesus on discipleship. Give us the courage and strength to embrace the way of the cross, to deny ourselves and follow Him wholeheartedly. Help us to surrender our own desires and ambitions, aligning our lives with Your will. Grant us wisdom to discern eternal values and to invest our lives in Your Kingdom. May we grow in our faith and spiritual maturity as we walk this path of discipleship. Empower us to be bold witnesses of Your love and truth, inviting others to experience the transformative power of following Jesus. In His name, we pray. Amen.

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