You can’t blame them for not getting it. It was so far off their radar . . . not even a blip on the horizon of possibility. Take Messiah . . . put Him in Jerusalem . . . during the time of the Passover, the remembrance of great deliverance . . . and while your imagination may ignite, you’re not thinking what Jesus said awaited Him.
And taking the twelve, He said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For He will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging Him, they will kill Him, and on the third day He will rise.” (Luke 18:31-33 ESV)
They were going to Jerusalem. They were ascending to Mount Zion . . . the seat of the throne of the promised King. And, for the twelve, the evidence had become greater and greater that the One they followed just might be that King. In fact, as they neared Jerusalem, “they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately” (19:11). So, you can’t really blame them that though they listened to Jesus words concerning Himself, they didn’t really hear them. It was so not what they were expecting.
What conquering ruler would talk of being rejected by his people? What almighty sovereign would predict of being handed over to his enemies that he might be mocked, spit upon, and flogged? How could a promised eternal kingdom be reconciled with a king who would die. Such was the mystery of the Christ. Spoken of by the prophets . . . totally over the heads of the disciples.
The mystery that Messiah’s greatest victory would come out of, what would seem to be, His greatest defeat. That, while an earthly kingdom would be established at His second advent, the purpose of His first coming was to solve man’s sin problem. That, though a day is coming when He will descend from heaven to defeat and put down His enemies, on that day, the day He ascended from Jericho and approached the holy city, His thoughts were to the battle He would wage in order to conquer sin and death.
But His disciples “understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said” (18:34).
You can’t blame them for not getting it. But whoa to me if I, getting it, I ever get to a point where I am not moved by it. May the Spirit keep me from ever NOT BEING MOVED by the thought of God’s precious Son being delivered over to the hands of men for such shameful treatment . . . because of my sin. That it would never become commonplace that the Word who was in the beginning, and through Whom all things were made and are held together, divested Himself of all His heavenly glory and “made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Php. 2:7-8).
O’ that, unlike the disciples that I day, I might grasp it . . . and never lose my grip on it . . . the depths of love, and the abundance of grace, poured out because of His journey to Jerusalem.
. . . that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge . . .
(Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV)
To Him be all glory . . . amen?