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First Prediction of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

21 From that time on[a] Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer[b] many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law,[c] and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him:[d] “God forbid,[e] Lord! This must not happen to you!” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.”[f] 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower,[g] he must deny[h] himself, take up his cross,[i] and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life[j] will lose it,[k] but whoever loses his life because of me[l] will find it. 26 For what does it benefit a person[m] if he gains the whole world but forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life? 27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.[n] 28 I tell you the truth,[o] there are some standing here who will not[p] experience[q] death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”[r]

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  1. Matthew 16:21 tn Grk “From then.”
  2. Matthew 16:21 sn The necessity that the Son of Man suffer is the particular point that needed emphasis since for many 1st century Jews the Messiah was a glorious and powerful figure, not a suffering one.
  3. Matthew 16:21 tn Or “and scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.
  4. Matthew 16:22 tn Grk “began to rebuke him, saying.” The participle λέγων (legōn) is redundant in English and has not been translated.
  5. Matthew 16:22 tn Grk “Merciful to you.” A highly elliptical expression: “May God be merciful to you in sparing you from having to undergo [some experience]” (L&N 88.78). A contemporary English equivalent is “God forbid!”
  6. Matthew 16:23 tn Grk “people.”
  7. Matthew 16:24 tn Grk “to come after me.”
  8. Matthew 16:24 tn This translation better expresses the force of the Greek third person imperative than the traditional “let him deny,” which could be understood as merely permissive.
  9. Matthew 16:24 sn To bear the cross means to accept the rejection of the world for turning to Jesus and following him. Discipleship involves a death that is like a crucifixion; see Gal 6:14.
  10. Matthew 16:25 tn Grk “soul” (throughout vv. 25-26). See the discussion of this Greek term in the note on “life” in Matt 10:39.
  11. Matthew 16:25 sn The Greek word translated life can refer to both earthly, physical life and inner, transcendent life (one’s “soul”). In the context, if a person is not willing to suffer the world’s rejection and persecution in order to follow Jesus but instead seeks to retain his physical life, then that person will lose both physical life and inner, transcendent life (at the judgment). On the other hand, the one who willingly gives up earthly, physical life to follow Jesus (“loses his life because of me”) will ultimately find one’s “soul” (note that the parallel in John’s Gospel speaks of “guarding one’s ‘soul’ for eternal life” (John 12:25).
  12. Matthew 16:25 tn Or “for my sake.” The traditional rendering “for my sake” can be understood in the sense of “for my benefit,” but the Greek term ἕνεκα (heneka) indicates the cause or reason for something (BDAG 334 s.v. 1).
  13. Matthew 16:26 tn Grk “a man,” but ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) is used in a generic sense here to refer to both men and women.
  14. Matthew 16:27 sn An allusion to Pss 28:4; 62:12; cf. Prov 24:12.
  15. Matthew 16:28 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
  16. Matthew 16:28 tn The Greek negative here (οὐ μή, ou mē) is the strongest possible.
  17. Matthew 16:28 tn Grk “will not taste.” Here the Greek verb does not mean “sample a small amount” (as a typical English reader might infer from the word “taste”), but “experience something cognitively or emotionally; come to know something” (cf. BDAG 195 s.v. γεύομαι 2).
  18. Matthew 16:28 sn Several suggestions have been made as to the referent for the phrase the Son of Man coming in his kingdom: (1) the transfiguration itself, which immediately follows in the narrative; (2) Jesus’ resurrection and ascension; (3) the coming of the Spirit; (4) Christ’s role in the Church; (5) the destruction of Jerusalem; (6) Jesus’ second coming and the establishment of the kingdom. The reference to six days later in 17:1 seems to indicate that Matthew had the transfiguration in mind insofar as it was a substantial prefiguring of the consummation of the kingdom (although this interpretation is not without its problems). As such, the transfiguration would be a tremendous confirmation to the disciples that even though Jesus had just finished speaking of his death (in vv. 21-23), he was nonetheless the promised Messiah and things were proceeding according to God’s plan.