After [Jesus and the disciples] gathered again in Galilee, Jesus told them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead." And the disciples were filled with grief.
— Matthew 17:22-23 NLT
Spiritual truth is in short supply in our era of politically correct speech, carefully crafted answers, and plain old stretching and hedging the truth. Jesus, however, is very plain about his future. There is nothing hidden or fancy.
Jesus' simple and direct words make his forecast even more shocking. So at Jesus' first self-revelation about the cross, Peter rebuked him and would not allow Jesus to prophesy his future because it "will never happen" (Matthew 16:22) that the Messiah would go to the cross. But this was God's plan. This is God's truth.
Thankfully for Jesus, the disciples are beginning to hear a little more carefully, and they pick up on the sense of impending confrontation and battle with evil at the cross. This time they hear Jesus' message and instead of responding with a stern rebuke of their Master, they are "filled with grief."
It is never easy to mature people beyond their prejudices and biases. But Jesus reminds us that while the growth may be slow, the victory can be very sweet. While the disciples are not all the way to understanding the cross, they have at least begun their journey!
Righteous and tender Shepherd, give me more patience with those who are trying to grow in their discipleship to Jesus but who so often fail. At the same time, Father, I pray that my own discipleship grows and gives you fewer times that require you to be patient with my sins and mistakes. I pray that the future brings you more joy at the growth you see in me. Use me as an encourager, a comforter, and a motivator to those seeking to live for you and to know your abiding presence. I praise you and give thanks for Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.