“From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead” (Matthew 16:21 NLT).
Jesus had many hard sayings, but the teaching concerning the necessity of His suffering, death and resurrection was the hardest for the disciples to receive. Bold Peter even attempted to rebuke Jesus for saying such things. But Jesus put him in his place with, “Get behind Me, Satan!” Poor Peter went from Peter the confessor, to Peter the transgressor in a matter of moments. One minute, he was listening to God’s voice, recognizing Jesus as the “Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And the next minute, he was under Satan’s influence, trying to dissuade Jesus from His ultimate purpose.
Jesus tried to prepare the disciples for the cross and the empty tomb, but only the sight of His resurrected body and the sound of His voice was able to convince them of its truth. They finally understood that it was “necessary” for Jesus to go to the cross, the tomb and be raised again on the third day, in order to redeem us and reconcile us to God.
The Greek word translated “necessary” might also be translated “must.” In other words, Christ’s sacrifice was a “must” for our salvation. Now what was necessary for Christ has become a necessity for those of us who would receive His salvation.
As Jesus told Nicodemus, “So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:7).
PRAYER: Dear Father, we thankfully and joyfully receive Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. Doing so, You have made us born again of Your Spirit. Now we feel the necessity to tell others of this great salvation. Strengthen us to bear witness. In Jesus’ name, amen.