Immediately upon Peter’s confession of JesusJesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More as MessiahThe Messiah was the one who, it was believed, would come to free the people of Israel from bondage and exile. In Jewish thought the Messiah is the anticipated one who will come, as prophesied by Isaiah. In Christian thought Jesus of Nazareth is identified... More, Jesus now turns his direction toward the cross and foretells his passionPassion is the theological term used to describe Jesus' suffering prior to and including his crucifixion. The Passion Narrative (the portions of the Gospels that tell of the Last Supper, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus) are often read in church during Holy Week. More, death, and resurrection. He then turns to teach his disciples that in taking up their cross those who follow Jesus will discover that losing one’s life for his sake is the way to true life.
Peter’s confession, a pivotal climax in the Gospel, now turns the narrative of Jesus toward his passion and death. This passage presents the first of three passion predictions (16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19) taken over from Mark, but which are greatly adapted in the outline and content of the next chapters that lead up to Matthew’s passion narrative proper. Of first importance is the way that this passage and the first announcement of Jesus’ passion and death are tied so closely to Peter’s confession. Second, here following Mark, the foretelling immediately leads to teaching about discipleship. Thus confession of Jesus as Messiah; the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Messiah; and what it means to follow as a discipleA disciple is a person who accepts and follows the pronouncements of a teacher. Jesus chose twelve disciples (also called "apostles" in some of the Gospels) to follow him and bear witness to his message Anyone who (like them) follows Jesus is engaged in Christian... More of this Messiah are all bound together in this pivotal section. As noted also in the comments on 4:12-25, some readers have seen in the transitional phrase “From that time on…” (16:21, matching 4:17) a clue to the Matthew’s structure and movement, dividing the Gospel into three major sections: the presentation of Jesus Messiah (1:1-4:16); the public ministry of Jesus Messiah (4:17-16:20); and the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Messiah (16:21-28:20).
That Jesus now “shows” rather than “teaches” his disciples what is to happen perhaps marks this event as one of revelation and the gift of special knowledge now being imparted to this disciple community. In the call to take up the cross and follow, discipleship is constituted and linked not just by lofty confession but by being joined to the story of this Messiah, to the life, mission, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Peter’s attempt to deny the suffering role of the Messiah is met by Jesus’ harsh rejection. In ascribing the attempt to Satan, he recalls and equates it with his testing by Satan in the wilderness (4:1-11). In pressing it, PeterThe disciple who denied Jesus during his trial but later became a leader in proclaiming Jesus More has become a “stumbling block” (that is, an “offense”; see the same term in 11:6; 18:6-8; 26:31-33). Disciples are instead called to an obedient giving of self for the neighbor in which hearing and doing are in conformity (see the Sermon on the Mount; 7:12, 21) and the whole of the law is fulfilled. Such conformity comes only by the transforming power of God’s blessingBlessing is the asking for or the giving of God's favor. Isaac was tricked into blessing Jacob instead of his firstborn Esau. At the Last Supper Jesus offered a blessing over bread and wine. To be blessed is to be favored by God. More and presence in this Messiah. Through his resurrected life in this community, confession and life are bound together in the responsible exercise of love and mercyMercy is a term used to describe leniency or compassion. God's mercy is frequently referred to or invoked in both the Old and New Testaments. More for the world. This obedient love is encouraged in Jesus’ final strong declaration that some standing there will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. Here is a clue to Matthew’s understanding of the kingdom and a strong reminder to every generation of hearers that we wait in the meantime for a coming which will happen at an unknown hour.