Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!
We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!
Matthew 16:24-28 English Standard Version (ESV)
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
1) What did “take up his cross” mean to Jesus’ original audience?
2) What does it mean to “forfeit” one’s soul?
3) What event is verse 27 talking about? What event is verse 28 talking about?
The Findings for Intention
1) You may have heard the phrase “my cross to bear,” meaning some burden that a person feels they have to carry in their life—but this is a modern expression. Jesus lived in first-century Israel, which was ruled by the Romans. The form of execution that the Romans used for the worst criminals was crucifixion on a cross. The criminals would be forced to carry their own cross up to the hill where they would be executed. When Jesus said “take up your cross and follow me,” his listeners would have thought of nothing but the instrument of execution. It was a call for total surrender, even being willing to die to follow Christ.
2) Christ is telling us that we must deny ourselves (forfeit the pursuit of our desires) and take up our cross (be so committed as to be willing to die) in order to follow him. But those who don’t deny themselves (those who try to save their lives) will ultimately lose their life—forfeit their souls. The word translated “forfeit” means to injure or lose, and since the context is about salvation and judgment, we know that this forfeit is for eternity. Rejecting Christ carries such a high cost! Denying ourselves gives such a precious reward.
3) Although these two verses are back to back, they are not talking about the same event. Verse 27 talks about the final judgment that will happen in the end times. But verse 28 refers to something that happened during the lifetime of those who were listening. Seeing “the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” refers to seeing the resurrected Christ.
The Everyday Application
1) First-century Christians knew that following Christ could very likely lead to their death. As comfortable American Christians, we sometimes hide behind the safety of our country’s protections, to the point that in reality, we value our safety more than we value Christ. Or our routine. Or our stuff. Or our pride.
Examine your heart. Is there something risky God has been calling you to do (or to allow your children to do) that you have said no to out of fear? Although wisdom is necessary in every situation, physical safety is not as important as following God.
2) This passage can serve as a warning to those who have not chosen to put their trust in Christ. Worldly gains are nothing if your soul is not secure for eternity! Have you trusted that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins, so that you can have a right relationship with God? If so, is your life markedly different? Are you sharing what you’ve been given with others?
3) Christ offered a warning of judgment, but in the next sentence, he predicted the coming of his kingdom. Praise you, Father, for not leaving us stuck in our sinfulness, but for making a way for us to live with you for eternity! Our challenge is to take both words of Christ seriously and let our life choices be directed by the truth of them. Sin is serious. Yours, mine, and the people we see in everyday life. It separates us from God for eternity. But Hope Can Be Ours In Jesus! Own them both, carry them both. This is the very essence of Truth and Grace!
I Can Do That!
1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!
We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources. Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.
Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!
Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))
Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.
In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!
Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
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