Matthew 16:21-28

Some Things Are Good To Know

September 3 2017

Have you ever heard something or been told something or read something and thought “That’s a good thing to know. I’ll have to remember that.” I don’t know about you, but every day I find myself bombarded with information that people tell me or that I read or hear and I think “Wow – that’s good to know – I’ll have to remember that”.  For me, though, the problem is that too many times I forget the things that I have told myself to remember!  I keep a notepad in my pocket most of the time to write things down on, but most of the time I just end up with a full notepad with a bunch of stuff scribbled down on it and can’t read half of it and can’t figure out what to do with the rest.  I have a smart phone and know how to use it pretty well, but my typing skills are not that good and it takes too long to type things on it, and even if I did I am not sure how to file things on the phone.  Same with my tablet.   My paper planner is better for making and keeping notes of things that are “good to know” but not perfect. Sometimes I find it hard to remember things that I thought were “good to know” and that I want to remember, and a lot of times, believe it or not, I find it very hard to remember things that others tell me and think I might need to remember or might be good for me to know but that I am not sure are that important. I would imagine that I am not alone in this.

A few days ago I got a birthday card in the mail.  I noticed tat it was from a friend of mine, and prepared myself for the message that might be on the card.  On the front of the card it read “At your age, it’s important to remember one thing” I opened the card to see what was the “one thing” that was important to remember,  but instead of dispensing the wisdom of the “one thing to remember” the inside of the card read ”if you can remember 2, you’re doing good!”

Yes,  we are all constantly bombarded by things that are “good to know”, whether they are things that we think are good fo us to know or things that others may think are good for us to know, but sometimes all these things are hard to remember!

The Bible  is  full  is things that are very good for us to know, things that we need to look at and say ”that’s good to know – I’ll have to remember that”, and maybe write down so we can. The teachings in the Bible are very good for us to take note of and remember, and even apply to our lives.   Jesus’ words to his disciples in Matthew 16 are packed with “good to know, need  to remember” insights. Prior to the moment depicted in Matthew 16 the disciples had seen Jesus’ healings, heard His profound parables, and Peter had even proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ a few verses before our passage. You would think that Jesus would be well pleased with the insights His disciples were getting about Him, and yet in our passage Jesus gives a list of what may seem to be stark or strange insights about following Him that are certainly good to know and need to be remembered, but also need to be lived.  These words of Jesus are not just good to know, they are so important that we can’t ignore them and still be the followers Jesus wants us to be. These words of Jesus, the information Jesus conveys here, are not just “good to know”, they essential for our life in Christ. .

Let’s take a look at these words of Jesus, these things that are good, even essential, for us to know and take note of and remember.

First of all, it’s good to know that Jesus is not surprised by His impending death. That’s good to know. In verse 21 Jesus is going to Jerusalem, and He tells His disciples why He is going there.  He knows what is going to happen, but He willingly goes to give of Himself and die. Yea.  That’s good to know. In fact it’s great, even essential, to know if you are going to be the person Jesus calls you to be. Jesus, even God Himself,   died on the cross for you. He did not have to do it. He could have said “no way I’m going to do that”.  He could have told His disciples “Listen,  Herod and Pilate and the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem  want to kill me, so let’s turn the other away and get as far from Jerusalem as we can.  They might try to kill me there.” But He didn’t say that. He said “we are going to Jerusalem”.  He went to Jerusalem with full knowledge of what was going to happen there. He was not surprised when He was arrested and beaten and crucified. He knew He would suffer and die, and yet He did it.  For you. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, Jesus went to  Jerusalem and died, for you. Wow.  That’s good to know. That’s great to know. That’s essential for you to know if you are going to be the person Jesus calls you to be. Jesus died on the cross, for you.

So, the fact that Jesus went to Jerusalem, suffered and died for you is the first good to know, in fact essential to know fact we can glean from Matthew 16:21-28.  But there is another fact in this passage that you need to know and appropriate into how you live your life if you are going to be the follower of Jesus that Jesus wants you to be. In verse 24 Jesus tells the disciples, both in that day and today, that if they are going  to live for Him they were going to have to follow Him. Friends, there are a lot of things you can live for. You can live for fame, you can live for money, you can live for material things like a fine car or fine clothes or a fine house. but unless you live for Jesus you will never be satisfied with any of the other things you can live for, and you will never find the life Jesus wants you to live. To find what you really want in life, you need to live for Jesus,   and that means following Him.  Yes – the desperate need to live for Jesus and follow Him is another of those good to know, great to know, even essential to know things that you need to know and appropriate into how you live your life. All the other things you can live for don’t matter if you’re not living for Jesus. That’s good, great, and even essential to know.  

Jesus died for your sins.  Jesus calls you to live for Him. These are good things to know, important to know, even essential  things you can learn from this passage in Matthew 16.

But, what does it mean to live for Jesus?

First of all, it means living your life as Jesus wants you to live it instead of how you would like to live it. After Jesus said He was going to Jerusalem and suffer and die Peter tells Him that will never be.  What he meant was that it will never be how he wants to live his life, and certainly Jesus wants him to live his life like he wants to, not like Jesus wants him to. It’s as if Peter were coming up to Jesus and saying “Jesus, all this talk of suffering will never win you followers. I just said that you were the Messiah, and here’s my plan.  You stick to the teaching and healing, and let me handle the details.  I’ll make all the travel plans and make the speaking engagements and we can stay here in Galilee where you are popular and have a great, successful ministry.  Who needs those folks in Jerusalem anyway?  You don’t need to suffer and die, just leave all the arrangements to me.” Peter had not yet learned to follow Jesus’ plan instead of trying to make Jesus fit into his plans. We all do that from time to time, sometimes more times than not.  You can’t be a follower of Jesus and try to bargain with Jesus about what it He’s calling you to do or how He’s calling you to live.  You can’t say “OK Jesus, I’ll give you some of the things of my life but keep some things for myself.”  You have to give Jesus everything. Following Jesus means giving of your time, your money, your talents and abilities, your interests, everything, to serve Him.  So, following Jesus means living for Jesus, and that means living your life as Jesus wants you to live it and not as you to want to.

Another thing living for Jesus means is that you give of yourself for Jesus and others.  In fact in verse 25 Jesus says that you find true life and true meaning in life by giving of yourself for Him and others.  This idea of finding meaning in life by giving of yourself may seem counter – intuitive to you.  It may seem that   giving of yourself only leads to having less—less time, less money, whatever – but  the truth that Jesus knows and that you can discover is that when you give of yourself you find true life and true happiness.  I believe that the more you try it, the more you step out of your box and share your life, your time, your talents, your money, whatever you have to share and dare to share, the more you’ll like it and discover the blessed life that Jesus calls you to live.

So what are the good things, the necessary things, to know about living your life that Jesus teaches here in Matthew 16? Jesus died for your sins, and Jesus calls you to live for Him by living your life as Jesus wants you to live it instead of in the way you might want to live it. But as much as it is good and necessary to know these things, it is also very important to live your life accordingly.  You can’t just know that it’s good and important and essential to live in these ways, you have to live in these ways and let these teaching make a differennce  in how you live your life. This takes committing your life to living in His ways . This means  making learning more about Him through studying His word in groups like we offer for Bible Study and on your own, it means committing yourself to worshipping Him in worship services and every day, it means fellowshipping with His people and sharing with each other, and it means serving each other and the community with His love.  It means actively serving Him and others in every way you and actively sharing His love and yours with those around you.  

Friends – Jesus loves you. Jesus died for you, and He calls you to follow Him, live your life as He wants you to live it, give of yourself for Him and others, and find practical ways to learn about Him, worship Him, and serve Him and others every day. These are good things, important things, even essential things to know if you are going to live your life as a follower of Jesus. Amen.