by Myron Harms

Download a printable PDF of the Word One Bible Study for Pentecost 13A Gospel).

Text: Matthew 16:21-26 for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Lectionary Series A


Participants will:

  1. Understand that God’s plans are different from our plans.
  2. Learn how to turn to God to find His solutions to difficult situations.
  3. Realize that in time we will see how God is taking care of our problems in His own unique ways.

Materials Needed

3×5 index cards
Pen, pencil, markers
Several sheets of newsprint
One piece of newsprint with a cross drawn in the center

Group Guidelines

Break into groups of 4-5 to work through this study. Select the person who had to travel the farthest to be the small group leader. The leader’s job is to guide his/her group through the discussion questions, encouraging everyone in the group to participate.

Building Community

  1. In the small group, on a piece of newsprint, begin with the following phrase:
    Why did God…
    Try to list as many things as you can that you find hard to explain.
  2. Select a spokesperson for the group and share the list with the large group.

Looking at God’s Word

  1. Read Matthew 16:21-26.
  2. What did Jesus tell the disciples was going to happen to Him?
  3. How did Peter react to this news?
  4. How did Peter want to help Jesus, the Messiah, defeat the enemies of Israel? (Matthew 26:51)
  5. What did Jesus say to Peter that showed that Peter did not fully understand what God’s plan was? (Matthew 16:23)
  6. Who was the enemy that Christ needed to defeat? (John 12:31)
  7. By what means did Jesus defeat sin, death and the devil? (Philippians 2:8)
  8. What was it going to take for Peter to truly understand why all this had to happen? (John 20:19-20 and Acts 2:32)
  9. Did Peter finally understand what Jesus’ purpose was all about? (Acts 2:22-24 and 32).
  10. Because of what Jesus did, what do we need to do now in order to have victory over sin, death and the devil? (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
  11. What does it take for us to truly understand how Jesus desires to help us in our struggles and difficulties? (Exodus 14:14).

Reinforcing What Has Been Learned

  1. What is a problem you are struggling with or having a hard time understanding?
  2. How can you begin turning this problem over to God?
  3. Have each member in the group list a problem or a struggle on a 3×5 card to use during the closing.


We begin to find answers or directions to solving our problems as we leave them at the cross of Christ. One by one haven each member place the item they listed on the sheet of newsprint with the cross on it. This can be done in silence.

After everyone has left their note at the cross have each small group close in prayer together. Select someone in the group to be the prayer leader. In the prayer ask God to help everyone realize how He is working in their life. Also include individual prayers for the problems or difficulties each person in the group is struggling with.