32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34 And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”
Mark 10:32-34 (English Standard Version). Also in Matthew 20:17-19 and Luke 18:31-34
We’re coming down to the wire of Lenten Season 2016. This Sunday is Palm Sunday, which kicks off Holy Week and the countdown to the Passion of Christ.
Today’s text sees Jesus predicting his pending death as they headed to Jerusalem-and to his fate. If you look at most Bibles, the heading that precedes this passage reads that this was the third time Jesus predicted his death. Now why did he do this a third time? Even though the disciples didn’t reply, most of us today would have been like, “Dude, enough already,” especially with such a tragic subject.
Now why would Jesus once again foretell his death; why would he repeat such a tragic issue? If we read the beginning of this passage, we note that many of those in Jesus’s posse were afraid; probably afraid of what was awaiting them in Jerusalem. They knew that Jerusalem was the seat of power for the high priests, scribe and elders; plus Rome’s man, Pilate. They knew that entering that city could be a death sentence for them all. With Jesus’s reputation preceding him, God only knows what awaited him-and the others-in Jerusalem.
Yet Jesus reminded them of his impending death-why? I believe that Jesus was preparing the disciples (and other followers) of what was to come and why he was on Earth. He could sense fear in his people and knew that was an emotion ill afforded. Jesus knew what awaited them in Jerusalem and wanted his people to be aware and alert. Something also tells me that the disciples and others got sidetracked during those days; and probably ignored Jesus’s first two predictions. So Jesus had to remind them…again.
However, at the end of the prediction-the part they probably missed-Jesus predicted his resurrection. Jesus’s news may have been bad at the start, however carried a gleam of hope.
There are times when God has to tell us something again…and again…because we too get sidetracked in our day to day. And if God leads us somewhere, we may get frightened at what could come about-or at the unknown. We too get the “Dude (or Chick), enough already” attitude with God. It could be a new phase in our lives. It could be a call to mend fences with one we don’t want to mend fences with. It could be anything. However, despite the initial fears and our wearying of hearing God’s voice (again), there is a glimmer of hope. We too will come through for the better. Just as Jesus knew about his resurrection; God will give us that glimmer of our own “rising up” through the situation ahead.
Let’s realize as we wind down Lent, that God will give us news we don’t want to hear. However, if we listen, we’ll realize that we’ll come through for the better.
Father/Mother God, you will give us news we don’t want to hear for our lives. However, remind us that in the end, we’ll come through it all for the better. Help us not just at this Lenten time, but for all the days of our lives. In Your Name, Amen.
(Image: Path in Watchung Reservation, NJ. Image by Me)