“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
A King Could Die?
(Please read Matthew 16:21-28)
Devout Israelites were looking for the Messiah centuries before he came, and generations were taught that the Messianic kingdom would be a physical, political one. That was the only kind of kingship they could visualize, and it was hard for even Christ’s closest associates to accept that Jesus, the king, would first die. So we see Peter, in our text, disputing the Lord by saying, “Never, Lord. This [meaning death] shall never happen to you!” (NIV).
It’s easy to understand Peter’s dismay at Jesus’ prediction of his own death. Peter had just declared that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, the long-hoped-for Messiah. And to the believers of that day, this meant that Jesus would soon go ahead and set up a literal, earthly kingdom. It was beyond their thinking that a dead man could become their ruler, and it took quite awhile for the disciples to understand about the new, spiritual kingdom of Christ.
We may cringe as we see the audacity in Peter’s attempt to correct the man whom he has just hailed as the Son of God, but we can rejoice that Peter later got it right and delivered superb sermons on the King and his kingdom.
Paul declared that God had put “everything,” except God himself, in subjection to Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:20-28), and said of Christians, “But our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). For this fact and the hope it instills in our hearts, we should be eternally grateful and give thanks continually.