Phil Cox

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Hidden Truth

30th October 2008

Luke 9v18-22
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life."
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Peter answered, "The Christ of God."
Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."

Jesus had never told the disciples that He was the Christ (otherwise this conversation would make no sense). But as soon as they knew who He was, and were so certain about it that they were prepared to say so out loud, Jesus told them a deep and terrible secret – it was necessary for Him to be tortured and killed. Of course, with 2000 years of hindsight, we know that’s true. We couldn't have been forgiven if Jesus – the sinless one – had not died to pay for our sins. But the disciples didn’t have that hindsight. And they didn’t understand what He was telling them.

Soon after this conversation, we read:

Luke 9v43-45
…While everyone was marvelling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, "Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men."
But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

Some things are so far outside our way of thinking that we can’t understand them. We can’t grasp them. The disciples knew Jesus was the Christ – the Messiah – and, especially with that knowledge, they couldn’t believe that His amazing life on Earth would end in His death – they thought He was going to be an Earthly King of the Jews (and in a sense, He is). They couldn’t grasp that His kingdom was a heavenly kingdom, and they couldn’t grasp that he would win this kingdom for Himself by sacrificing His life on the cross.

And yet the disciples had some sense that what He was saying was serious; they were afraid to ask Him about it.

And, some time later, we read:

Luke 18v31-34
Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be turned over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again."
The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

They still didn’t get it. Jesus by now was on the road to Jericho (see verse 35). He would soon be in Jerusalem, and his prophecy would come true. They would see the Messiah nailed to the cross, they would hear Him pray for forgiveness for those who put Him there, they would hear Him cry out in despair as His Father withheld His presence from Jesus for the first and only time in all eternity, and they would see Him die.

Every word uttered by Jesus Christ is utterly true. And the whole Bible is breathed by God (2 Timothy 3v16). Sometimes things are hidden from us, sometimes we can’t grasp what the Bible is saying to us. And sometimes we’re afraid to ask.

The important question right now is: What is God saying to you? Whether through the Bible, or by the Holy Spirit, or through friends or circumstances, God is speaking to you. Can you hear Him? Do you want to hear Him? Are you afraid to ask God what He wants?

Just like in the passages we’ve seen, Jesus is always right, and His disciples – we – only see in part, only understand in part, only dare to ask in part. But if we will listen with open hearts, resolved to do what He wants and to learn what He wants to teach us, then we will be far more fruitful for Him in our lives, and we will avoid a life of confusion and disappointment.