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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 12: Matthew 16:21-17:9, by Kevin M. Williams

And so, what could have been a chance to “reach” countless movie-goers who might never set foot in a church—to do what Yeshua has asked us—was missed. Like Peter, we did not see the bigger picture and decided that our God was not big enough to “take on” Hollywood by Himself. Passion became paramount and an ideal chance to do good was abdicated.

Does this mean that the Body-at-large was deceived? That answer rests with each individual.

Yet if we let passion direct our actions and reactions, taking our eyes off of God’s greater purposes, then we may well deserve the same response Peter got, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

On a deeper level, however, we find this person—Yeshua—demonstrating a remarkable willingness to obey the Father, recognizing and submitting to the greater purpose. Knowing the suffering and execution that awaited Him, He did not shirk.

If Yeshua were a mere man, He would be more likely to pursue a personal agenda intended to bring recognition to Himself. Instead, we see someone acting well-beyond human intention and living the example of discipleship.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to this deeds (Matthew 16:24-27).

Yeshua lives the example of discipleship and then he outlines it for the twelve. As in the case of Peter, Yeshua explains that personal passions and desires must at times be put to death in order to serve the greater purposes of the Almighty.

A friend has perhaps come up with the best catch-phrase, “You can’t hurt a dead man.” In other words, when our wills/passions/agendas/desires are submitted to the Father’s will, we are in the safest of all places. Even in the middle of the spiritual battlefield, if we already consider ourselves “dead” to ourselves and alive to the Father, then we really cannot be hurt by any earthly or demonic foe.

Yeshua did not promise the disciples a prosperous life they way many would define it. He did not promise them an earthly “land of milk and honey.” Rather, He tells them that their yoke is the cross and their salvation found only by losing their own lives.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Winter 2004

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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