Jesus Announces His Death

(Matthew 17:22-23)

Jesus and the disciples left the place they were in and were gathering in Galilee. They were preparing to go up into Jerusalem. At this time in keeping with his practice of telling the disciples what was to come, Jesus announces his death and how it would take place. He tells the disciples that when they go to Jerusalem he is to be delivered into the hands of men and they would kill him.

Needless to say the disciples were greatly distressed about this. Earlier we saw that when Jesus spoke of his departure Peter being influenced by Satan began to say, “No, not you Lord.” (Matthew 16:21-23) But at that time Jesus knew the source of this saying and told Satan to get behind him.

In this second discussion the disciples were greatly distressed. Again they may have been concerned about Jesus, or they may have been concerned for themselves. They may have been wondering what would happen after Jesus was gone. What would happen to them and the ministry they had been given? Who would lead them forward? Thoughts like this may have been going through their heads, as they did not understand what was happening. The understanding of this was hidden from them as we see in other versions of this event. (Mark 9:30-32, Luke 9:43-45) If they thought these things, then as Peter behaved previously, they were not thinking or walking in the Spirit over these matters. They were walking and thinking in terms of the flesh.

One of the key messages we get from this section, and particularly in the other versions of this event, is that we should ask when we don’t understand. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given you, seek, and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) During this event the disciples were afraid to ask and so they did not receive an answer. It says in the Mark & Luke versions that the meaning was concealed from them and they were too afraid to ask. Had they asked, perhaps they would have received the insight to quell their fears.

How much better is it to know what is going on? When we don’t know what is happening, the result can be fear, anxiety and frustration. But these things are removed when we know and understand what is going on. We have been instructed by the Lord to ask for insight when we don’t understand what is happening so we don’t have to suffer fear and anxiety. Consider these scriptures:

1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.”

James 1:5-6, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

James 4:2 “You do not have, because you do not ask.”

So it is evident that the Lord wants us to know what is happening. He wants to help us in our time of need. He does not want us to suffer needlessly and to be overtaken by emotion. All we need to do is ask.

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