explain – verb (used with object)
1. to make plain or clear, render understandable or intelligible:
2. to make known in detail:
3. to assign a meaning to; interpret;
4. to make clear the cause or reason of; account for:
“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples…”
Once the disciples clearly understood who Jesus was, He began to explain to them why He had come. Matthew 16 is a turning point in the life of Christ, as His followers are first given the opportunity to hear the plans for Easter weekend. Jesus, named through an angel’s direction, was ‘to save His people from their sins.’ He was born to save. He lived to save. He died to save.
Jesus made plain or clear. He rendered the cross understandable. He made known in detail his death, burial and resurrection. He interpreted this event and made it clear to these followers. This was no last minute whim, this was the determined plan of God. He MUST go. He MUST be killed. There was no other plan.
“…that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Matthew 16:21,22)
Religious rulers await the arrival of the King. Elders, chief priests and teachers of the law will cast judgment on the One who came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. Men would kill Him, but they could not keep Him in the grave. Here was the heart of the gospel. Here was the unfolding of the plan of God. Love so amazing, so divine…results in a rejection by Peter, but that’s a post for another day.
Inspired by ‘Arts Week’ at Heritage College & Theological Seminary, here’s my simple attempt at a fresh ‘interpretation’ of this text.
Jesus, Jerusalem, Suffering, Saviour;
Timed, Told, Tortured, Triumphed;
Righteous, Reckless, Sinless, Sinful;
Purposeful, Planned, Propitiation.
Grace, Mercy, Grace, Mercy.