This scene in Matthew deals with the question of Jesus' identity, his death and resurrection, and how the cross is not just central to Jesus' identity, but also for those who follow him. This is a very rich portion of scripture, and these questions only scratch the surface the deep meaning expressed in this scene. If you are able, take some time to consider the many other issues explored by Matthew in this text.
- Read Matthew 16:13-20. What do you make the ideas about Jesus' identity held by people in the 1st Century? Who do people today say that Jesus is? Who do you say that he is?
- Read Matthew 16:21-23. Why do you think Jesus rebukes Peter so harshly, especially after he has praised him just a verse earlier (Think about how Satan tested Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11)?
- Read Matthew 16:24-28. How seriously do we take Jesus’ teaching about gaining life only by first losing it, or committing ourselves to a life of sacrifice rather than self-fulfillment? What do you think is the ‘cross’ God is calling on you to take up at this time in your life?