Jeremy Stopford photo
Jeremy Stopford


  (Matt. 16:21-27)


Originally preached September 25, 2011

Rev. Jeremy Stopford, Retired Pastor

Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and FOLLOW ME.

25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.


Today’s “Special”:  “Dad at the supermarket”:

My father was completely lost in the kitchen and never ate unless someone prepared a meal for him. When Mother was ill, however, he volunteered to go to the supermarket for her. She sent him off with a carefully numbered list of seven items.

Dad returned shortly, very proud of himself, and proceeded to unpack the grocery bags. He had one bag of sugar, two dozen eggs, three hams, four boxes of detergent, five boxes of crackers, six eggplants, and seven green peppers.

We’ve talked often about our hunger for God – what about His hunger for us:  HE wants to be in the driver’s seat of our lives.  How do I know that Jesus is in the driver’s seat of my life? 


I. I FOLLOW HIS PETRA  (vs. 16-19)

   Peter answers Jesus’ question on His identity (v. 16)

   Jesus responds with 2 “eye pictures” that don’t show up in the English:  

  • (1)  You are “Petros” (pebble), and 
  • (2)  On this “Petra” (Boulder like the Rock of Gibraltar) I will build My Church.                    Jesus uses Peter’s declaration to show Himself as both the Boulder/Foundation of the Church, and the Boulder Guide of our lives.

II.       I FOLLOW HIS PASSION (v. 21)

   A word we have lost which was revived by Mel Gibson is “passion” – that is what the cross is all about!

   Jesus shared often (at least 10 times) about His passion – note responses!

   in fact, the communion is done “in remembrance” because we are quick to forget.

   What can change a community faster: people in church or to the cross?

   His passion is the basis for the gospel  (1 Cor. 15:3,4):

“ For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…”

III.       I FOLLOW HIS PATH  (vs. 22-23)

   Jesus’ path is to Jerusalem, the way of death

   Paul reminds us of this:

  • “…according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  (Philippians 1:20-21)   
  • “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”  (Romans 6:13)

IV.       I FOLLOW HIS PURPOSE  (vs. 24-26)

Illustration: An old car was being driven through town when the elderly passenger noticed that her elderly driver drove through a red light.  She looked over at her driver but, noticing that she wasn’t too concerned, let it pass.

They then went through a second red light, and, once again, the elderly passenger noticed her elderly driver not so concerned about this indiscretion.

And then?  The vehicle went through a THIRD red light, at which time the elderly passenger exclaimed, “Mabel, you need to be more careful.  That’s the third red light you’ve driven through.”

To which Mabel replied, “oh, I’m driving?  I thought you were driving!”

   “Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?”  (The Message)

“Suffering” is part of His purposes for His children – “embrace it” as it causes the world to see Jesus through us – REAL Christianity!


How will I know that my life was lived with the Lord Jesus in the Driver’s Seat of my life?  

Are our lives lived with Jesus’ splendor in view, with our lives an open book before His Throne? (“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”   v. 27)

OR are our lives lived for today, and not, as the old song said, “with eternity’s values in view”?

Close in prayer