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By Way of the Passion

April 1, 2018 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series: Special Services

Topic: Resurrection Verse: Matthew 16:21

"By Way of the Passion"

Matthew 16:21

Theme: Jesus Christ willingly died for our sins and was raised from the dead to give life to all who believe. 


I. Examine Jesus' Sentiment - "From that time, Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem..."

A. His Devotion to God's eternal purpose - "From that time..."

  • This phrase "...from that time..." was last used on Matthew 4:17 to make the beginning of Jesus' public ministry and now Matthew uses it to mark the beginning of Jesus' private ministry to "the twelve."
  • The immediate context demonstrates that Jesus had taken the disciples to the furthest northern point in Israel, to Dan, into the region that was renowned for its idolatry - and in Jesus' day, for the god "Pan" at Caesarea Philippi. 
  • It was at this location that Jesus requested a confession for His disciples concerning His identity - a confession that Jesus was "the Son of the living God." - cp. v. 16
  • This event provided a turning point in the progress of God's timetable for Jesus - it is approximately one year before the crucifixion.
  • The time had come to begin to reveal some more difficult realities concerning the divine plan and work of redemption, which He repeatedly did throughout the following months - cp. Matthew 17:22-23; 20:17-19
  • Although Jesus had hinted at what was in His future, this is the first time He becomes explicit as to what was planned for Him - cp. Matthew 12:40; John 2:19
  • This timetable was established from before the foundation of the world - Galatians 4:4; Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23; 3:18. 
  • Jesus was well aware that this was the very reason that He had come - to fulfill the purpose of the Father and suffer and die for our sins - cp. John 12:27-33
  • Jesus' commitment to this plan was expressed clearly and resolutely - John 17:1-5

B.  His Determination to Fulfill His Duty - "He must..."

  • The text emphatically states that Jesus "must go" [δεῖ] do these things - they were obligations that He had to accomplish. 
  • There are several reasons that Jesus was so obligated to suffer in Jerusalem:
    • It was necessitated by the Presence of Sin - Hebrews 2:17
    • It was necessitated by the Price of Salvation - Hebrews 9:22,26
    • It was necessitated by the Prophecies of Scripture - Luke 24:26 -27, 44; Acts 2:23-24
  • Some have asked: "Couldn't there have been another way that God could have used to save sinners? Why did He determine that this was the only way?
  • In response to this question, we go back to the wisdom and perfection of God - that He always exercises wisdom, that is choosing the best means for the best ends, as He displays His perfections and He has determined that this is the only way salvation is possible. 
  • Thus "it was necessary" that Jesus suffer and die even as the Scriptures declare. 
  • There would have been available other methods of salvation, then it would not have been accurate to say that it was "necessary" indicates that there are no other ways - cp. Acts 4:12

Application Questions:

  1. How should the fact that Jesus was so completely devoted to the Eternal Purpose of God inform your life?
  2. How do yo know that there is no other way that a sinner can be saved than through Christ
  3. In what way does the awareness of the singularity of salvation through Christ cause you to live evangelistically?

II. Examine Jesus' Sacrifice - "... go to jerusalem and suffer many things... and be killed, and be raised up on the third day."

A. His active obligations

  • He had to "...go to Jerusalem..."
  1. "Jerusalem" was the divinely determined location where the Messiah would die - cp. Luke 13:33
  2. It was the location where Abraham brought Isaac to sacrifice him on the alter, being restrained by God who provided the substitute for Isaac - cp. Genesis 22:2
  3. It was also the location where Solomon built the temple - where the sacrifices of atonement were offered and the mercy seat was sprinkled within the Holy of Holies. 
  4. Thus if atonement were to be made, it would have to be in Jerusalem. 
  • He had to "...suffer many things..."
  1. The fact that He would "suffer many things" indicates the willingness that He had to endure the scorn and wrath of godless ones. 
  2. Those who punished Jesus for His righteousness were types of all humanity - expressing the very hostility that any of us would have were it not for the grace of God. 
  3. Jesus suffered under both the hostility of men and the wrath of God - cp. Acts 1:3; 17:3; Hebrews 2:10; 5:8; 1 Peter 1:11; 2:21
  4. Jesus suffered the agonies of beating; scourging; torture; a grueling trek carrying his cross; the impaling of his hands, feet, side and brow; along with the suffocation that tormented those who were crucified. 
  5. He willingly surrendered Himself - offering Himself - out of love for us. 

B. His Passive Obligations

  • He had to "be killed..."
  1. Having yielded Himself up to suffer for us, He endured the greatest of all consequences - the payment for sin = death. 
  2. For millennia (since that first lamb that had been killed in the Garden of Eden to atone for the sins of Adam & Eve) there were sacrifices of substitutes - sheep that died in the place of sinners to atone for sin. 
  3. The penalty for sin is death - and every sinner dies, hence death reigns as the ultimate enemy of mankind - Ezekiel 18:20 
  4. Nevertheless, God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked and desires to deliver sinners because He is, by nature, Savior - cp. Isaiah 45:21
  5. Thus, from the beginning, He provided a way by which sinners could be saved - through the death of a substitute. 
  6. Yet, the lives of animals cannot remove sin - only cover it in light of what had been promised - cp. Hebrews 10:1,4
  7. Jesus came as the ultimate Promise of God - that He would send One who would suffer in the place of sinners and die for them as the final "Lamb" of God who takes away the sins of the world" - cp. John 1:29
  8. Thus it was necessary that Jesus be killed - taking upon Himself the sin that you and I commit and dying for us - 1 Peter 3:18 
  9. This was in fulfillment of the prophecy given when sin entered the world that God would save us through the seed of the woman who would defeat sin through His own wounds - Genesis 3:15
  • He had to "be raised up..."
  1. It would have been a tragedy if the story of Jesus ended with Him being buried - there would be no ability to deliver or save us - cp. 1 Corinthians 15:17
  2. It was necessary that Jesus raise from the dead in order to provide life to those who would be saved - Acts 2:24
  3. God determined that through the resurrection of Jesus, He would give us proof that the sacrifice of Christ successfully paid the price for our sins - cp. Acts 17:31; Romans 1:4
  4. Jesus, as the risen Son of God, lives to save those who come to Him by faith - cp. Hebrews 7:25
  5. Our responsibility is to live in light of His resurrection, displaying the power of the life He has given us through our righteousness - Romans 6:4; Acts 3:36
  6. Today, we live in light of the power of His resurrection, being raised up together with Him by faith and awaiting Him to return and bring us to glory - Ephesians 2:4-7; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:10

Application Questions:

  • How does Jesus' willingness to go to Jerusalem despite knowing that He was going to suffer and die impact you?
  • Take time to reflect on the fact that your sin put Jesus on the cross, in light of that, how should your attitude toward sin change?
  • How has the resurrection changed your life?

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