Daily Word

Lose to save paradox | Matthew 16:24-27

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity]. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory and majesty of His Father with His angels, and then He will repay each one in accordance with what he has done.

Matthew 16:24-27 (AMP)

Dealing with disciples

In yesterday’s passage, Peter stepped way out of line and spoke before thinking. Where the thought originated, we can only guess, but it came from him and Jesus rebuked him directly. And He rebukes anyone who denies Jesus’ crucifixion – likely the other disciples at that time who may have had similar thoughts, but didn’t speak them. 

It could also be people today who deny Jesus’ substitutionary death for their sins – for they don’t consider themselves sinful. We could even expand it to disciples today who try to limit what Jesus can do. How? By the way we pray and trust (or don’t). We tend to think for God and decide what He can and cannot do. We put Him in a box. But Isaiah 55:8-9 challenges our thinking about this in a major way! ASK!

Lose to save paradox

Again I chose the AMP version for its added notes. Remember that the notes are not in the original, inspired, Greek; they are the editor’s thoughts. But I think they reflect the meaning, as little as I know it. So I have only a few thoughts of my own:

  • Notice that Jesus’ method of death had not been determined – yet He knew. “Jesus did not explicitly identify the method of His death until later (Matthew 20:19), but the disciples understood, at least initially, what Jesus meant about the price they would have to pay.” (planobiblechapel.org)
  • This lose/save paradox is a decisive act that continues daily. “The point of Jesus’ statement is that living for oneself now will result in a leaner life later, whereas denying oneself now for Jesus’ sake will result in a fuller life later.”  (planobiblechapel.org)
  • Why do we do it? Surely because Jesus instructs us to and leads by example. From thankfulness for what He’s done. Out of worship for the Almighty God for whom we were created to worship, our true source of satisfaction, fulfillment, joy, peace and love. And the reward He promises – for eternity. 
  • Regarding V27 rewards, quoting again from Dr. Constable, “It is perfectly proper to serve Jesus Christ while thinking about a future reward if our motives are correct (Matthew 6:19-21), namely, the glorification of Christ rather than self.” (planobiblechapel.org) We should think of that final Day when Christ will return and repay each person according to what he has done. 


  • Can you imagine it? Christ, who lost His life for us so we could gain life, eternal life, is coming again. And on top of that, He will judge works and repay accordingly. Will you be receiving rewards and eternal life or punishment and eternal separation from God in hell?  To learn more about salvation click here.
  • Are we giving up our lives daily? Do we evaluate our actions and decisions in light of His will? Where is our focus – on the here and now or eternity? Life is short, then there’s eternity.
Paradox triangle image. Image from medium.com *

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