Testing the Higher Beliefs
Matthew 16:21
From that time forth began Jesus to show to his disciples, how that he must go to Jerusalem…

After our Lord had secured the recognition of his Divine claims, he proceeded to test the belief of those apostles, to see whether it was clear of those materialistic notions of his Messiahship which so constantly had hindered them. The test was found in the assurance that his Messiahship would seem to be a failure, and his bodily life end in shame and a cross. If they had grasped the spiritual nature of Christ's mission, they would not have felt so much his earth failure. If they still held their material hopes, the very mention of failure and a cross would be to them an offence indeed. Compare the record, in John 6, of Christ's testing his disciples by declaring high mystical truths. "Many went back, and walked no more with him." He even appealed unto the twelve, saying, "Will ye also go away?"

I. HIGHER BELIEFS MAY BE IMPULSIVE SENTIMENTS. A sort of vision a man may gain. Something that is a hope rather than an opinion; a sentiment rather than a judgment. Perhaps every man has some sublime but unworkable ideas. There are things we dream, wish they were true, and wonder whether they are. Perhaps the apostolic grip of the Divine Sonship was one of these things that are held convulsively for a moment. Perhaps St. Peter really spoke beyond himself, and no quiet, clear conviction lay behind his impulsive speech. And very probably he was, for the moment, quite beyond the reach of the rest. Our working beliefs and. our visions of truth often differ.

II. HIGHER BELIEFS MUST BE MADE WORKABLE PRINCIPLES. No truth is really worth anything to us that will not come as a vital force into our actual life, duty, and relation. Christ will not keep his apostles up in the high realms of mystical truths. "If you believe me to be the Son of God, we had better recognize some filets and truths, and see how the belief will affect them. This Son of God is going to suffer, to rid a prey to his foes, and to be killed. Will you still believe that he is the Son of the living God when you see him on a cross?" This is the point of our Lord's reference, just here, to his sufferings. All our advanced beliefs must be tested. No matter how beautiful they may seem to us, they are of no real value, they are vain dreams, unless they wilt stand the test of being actually fitted to fact, circumstance, and duty. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

WEB: From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.

St. Peter's Rebuke of Christ
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