Sometimes I want to know what’s going to happen next. I worry about it. I identify options. I want God to simplify things and just tell me his plans and how they fit with mine.
The twelve disciples may have thought the same things one day as they traveled with Jesus. They thought, perhaps, that after three years Jesus was pretty close to them. And one day, Jesus took them aside and told them exactly what was going to happen next.
“We’re going up to Jerusalem,” he said. “And everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.”
We have no record of what was going through their minds at that moment.
- “At last, a plan.”
- “After avoiding Jerusalem for so long, I’m glad we’re finally getting to visit.”
- “I wonder if I can visit my cousins with the high priest.”
- “I wish I’d paid better attention in school when we were reading Joel.”
- “Don’t the prophets talk about things going great? Everyone at peace, swords into plowshares, and milk and honey.”
Whatever they were thinking, Jesus went on. “He will be handed over to the gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
There was clarity and precision in Jesus’s words. Though this wasn’t the first time Jesus had told them of the future, maybe this time it would click. They could begin to prepare for the future. But according to Luke, the words of Jesus didn’t help much: “The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.”
Maybe we have clear words of Jesus that we don’t understand.