Theme: Self—Denial and Reward
In this week’s lesson we read about what an investment in Christianity entails.
Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. ’What good will it be for a man it he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or What can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, a then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

I said when I began these studies of Matthew 16 that, although this is one of the richest and most important chapters in the gospel, it is also one that seems to be a source of countless problems. Almost every sentence seems to have produced diverse interpretations among commentators. How is Peter the rock? What are the gates of Hades? What is the meaning of the keys? We do not escape problems even with the chapter’s last verse, for no one seems entirely sure What Jesus meant when He said, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son Man coming in his kingdom” (v. 28). Here are four suggestions.
1. The disciples will see the kingdom come with power either at the resurrection of Christ or at Pentecost. William Hendricksen writes,
The reference is in all probability to: a. his glorious resurrection, b. his return in the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and in close connection with that event, c. his reign from his position at the Father’s right hand?1
So also H.N. Ridderbos:
The beginnings of Christ’s coming in his kingdom would indeed be seen by some of those who were listening to him. They would see these beginnings in his resurrection, in his ascension, and in the kingly manifestations of the exalted Lord that followed.2
2. Jesus was referring to the fall of Jerusalem. This is the view of John Broadus “The most reasonable explanation, especially when we compare [this verse with] chapter 24, is to understand a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, forty years afterwards.”3
3. The transfiguration. Howard Vos says,
The prediction that some present would not die before they saw him coming in his kingdom is most naturally interpreted to refer to the three members of the inner circle. Shortly they were to witness the glorified Christ at the transfiguration, which was a foretaste of the coming of Christ in his kingdom.4
4. That Jesus expected the end of the world within a few years but was wrong to think so. This has been a popular liberal view, but it is obviously unacceptable to those holding to the inerrancy of Christ and the Scriptures.
There is not much that seems to hinge on one’s interpretation of this verse and mos views are probably acceptable. But as far as I am concerned, I think Jesus was referring to the transfiguration: 1) because the account of the transfiguration follows so closely, here as well as in Mark and Luke; and 2) because verse 27 is so closely linked to verse 26, where the emphasis is on the Son of Man coming in His “glory,” as opposed to His humiliation. It is the glory that was revealed to the disciples on the mountain.
We live in a day when a substantial part of the evangelical world wants a domesticated Jesus who “blesses, satisfies, fills, thrills, and strengthens his followers” but does not insist on a cross.5 What we need is the genuine Jesus who demands that his followers die to self and actually follow him.
There was a time when Peter and the others did not understand this, though they did eventually. We do understand it. We know what Jesus demands of us, or we would not be Christians. We know we need to take up the cross and follow Jesus. But have we taken it up and are we bearing it daily? We know the value of the soul. But do we live as if we believed it? We have heard of Christ’s return, but do we look forward to it joyfully? Those who are blessed by God will answer, “Yes, yes, yes,” to those questions
 1William Hendricksen, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985), pp. 659,660.
2H.N. Ridderbos, Matthew, trans. Ray Togtman (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1987), p. 315.
3John A. Broadus, Commentary on Matthew (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1990), p. 368.
4Howard F. Vos, Matthew (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979), p.123.
5 D.A. Carson, God with Us: Themes from Matthew (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1985), p. 101.


List four possible interpretations of v. 28. 
Which view does Dr. Boice prefer and why?

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