The disciples have travelled closely behind Jesus since he challenged them to “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:22; see also 8:22; 9:9). It was time, now, to find out why. Jesus asked the twelve men who have watched him heal the sick, feed the hungry, raise the dead, challenge those in power, and speak with the authority of heaven, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13). That question demands an answer from every person who has ever lived, and those who believe will respond as Peter did, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
Peter gave the correct answer, but he failed to grasp the full meaning of why Jesus came to our world and called his disciples to follow. “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Matthew 16:21) Jesus is God, but Jesus said he was going to die, and Peter rebuked him, “This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). God does not die, thought Peter, but if the man you just called God says he is going to die, you do not tell God, “No,” and Peter did.
Peter did not yet understand that death is how you are saved. A lifeguard knows the most difficult people to save are those trying to save themselves. “Whoever would save his life will lose it,” Jesus warns. On the cross, Jesus would show Peter how to live, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). When we give up ourselves and place our lives in the hands of the Savior, we will be carried to the safety of the shore.
“But whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” ~Matthew 16:25
Peter rightly recognizing Jesus is God, must now lose himself and place his life in the hands of his Savior. Do that completely, and you are ready for anything that follows.
Eternal God, no beginning, no end, you are all in all. I chase things that I want, things that get used up or rust or fall apart, things that cannot and do not last, and will not save me.
Change my heart, Jesus, to seek what matters, to love what lasts, to love You, to love Your Word, and to love all the people You have created, which is all people. My most difficult, but greatest ambition is to release my hold on everything else, and hold tightly to the one who matters most, Jesus.