(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)
30th October 2008
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:
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:
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.