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Matthew 16:24-28

Context
16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, 1  he must deny 2  himself, take up his cross, 3  and follow me. 16:25 For whoever wants to save his life 4  will lose it, 5  but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 16:26 For what does it benefit a person 6  if he gains the whole world but forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life? 16:27 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. 7  16:28 I tell you the truth, 8  there are some standing here who will not 9  experience 10  death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” 11 

1 tn Grk “to come after me.”

2 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.

3 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.

4 tn Or “soul” (throughout vv. 25-26).

5 sn The point of the saying whoever wants to save his life will lose it is that if one comes to Jesus then rejection by many will certainly follow. If self-protection is a key motivation, then one will not respond to Jesus and will not be saved. One who is willing to risk rejection will respond and find true life.

6 tn Grk “a man,” but ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used in a generic sense here to refer to both men and women.

7 sn An allusion to Pss 28:4; 62:12; cf. Prov 24:12.

8 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

9 tn The Greek negative here (οὐ μή, ou mh) is the strongest possible.

10 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).

11 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.



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