While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once (Matthew 25:11).
Jesus is headed to Jerusalem to face the cross. He has repeatedly warned his disciples that his humiliating rejection and crucifixion were coming (Mark 8:31; Mark 9:30-31; Mark 10:32-34). These disciples simply could not grasp what their Lord was telling them. On one occasion, Peter rebukes Jesus for even suggesting such a thing (Mark 8:32-33). On another occasion, the disciples didn't understand what Jesus meant and were afraid to ask him (Mark 9:32). On the third occasion, what Jesus was saying was hidden from them (Luke 18:34) and they began to argue about who was most important (Mark 10:35-45). They didn't get it!
I wonder what I don't get?
Sure, I know there are reasons why they cannot understand. The words were not confusing or difficult, but the concept was too far outside what they had experienced with Jesus. He had raised the dead and fed the multitudes with scraps of food. He had cast out demons — multitudes of them at once. He had made leprous skin whole, shriveled and lame legs strong and healthy, blind eyes see, dead ears hear, and broken bodies whole. He had stilled the storms and walked on their angry waves. Who could stand against Jesus their Messiah?
Their obvious answer was simple: "No one could stand against Jesus!"
This is what makes the cross so powerful and also so confusing. Jesus goes voluntarily as an act of obedience to the Father's will (Mark 14:35-36) and as an act of love to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (Mark 10:45). But they couldn't get it. It was outside their emotional capability to grasp.
I wonder what I don't get?
When we walk with Jesus, our life becomes an unfolding map of discovery as our experiences — good ones, bad ones, and ones that just simply happen — give us a new viewpoint and frame of reference from which to discover more of Jesus. Discipleship is a journey of rediscovering Jesus!
So let's not be too hard on the apostles for not getting the repeated statements of Jesus about going to the cross and then being raised from the dead. Let's remember that what we experience in our lives as we walk with Jesus gives us fresh windows of insight that allow us to know the Lord better, appreciate his love more fully, and know better how to help others who are on the journey with us!
I wonder what I don't get? I don't know yet, but I can't wait to find out!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
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