Jesus understood the reason why He had come to the earth. He was under no illusions as to what his purpose and role were. But he also knew that when the time came his disciples would not understand. As such he began to prepare them for what was to come when he journeyed to Jerusalem, and in that teaching he gave us some insight also to unlock the mysteries of what was to come.
Jesus Purpose and Role
Jesus came so that he would take away the sins of the world. To do that he had to become the perfect sacrifice for sin and to die on our behalf. He knew he had come to die for mankind and that that was his role. But the disciples were not aware of this at the time.
The Jews were expecting the Messiah to come. It had been prophesied in the prophetic writings of the Old Testament and they knew he was coming. They knew he would also set up His government for he was to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But when Jesus came as the son of a carpenter, the religious people of his time rejected him and missed his coming.
What is worse, they rejected him so violently that they delivered him to the Romans to be put to death, not knowing that they too were fulfilling their role as it was written of them. They did what was expected and thus Jesus died for us so that we could receive the New Covenant and the opportunity to be set free from sin.
Jesus Warns the Disciples
Knowing that this was going to happen, Jesus began in this section of scripture to prepare his disciples. He told them that, “For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon; they will scourge him and kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” (Verses 32-33)
Jesus wanted to give them advance warning of what was about to happen. He did this a number of times, and in fact this is part of what the Lord has done throughout the ages. The Bible is full of prophecy that gives those to whom he opens the words insights into what is yet to come.
But at the time this occurred the message was hidden from the disciples for they did not grasp or understand what he was saying. Later when the events had unfolded they remembered that he had told them these things and recognised it was the word of God, but at that time they were in the dark and the message was hidden from them.
Ask to Receive
In the Gospel of Mark version of this we see some additional insight into the minds of the disciples for it says, “But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask him.” (Mark 9:32) They were too afraid to ask him what he was talking about and so they remained in the dark.
Here is a lesson for us. If you do not understand anything of the Lord (or anything else for that matter), do not be too afraid to ask. How will you find out if you do not ask? And besides the Lord has promised to open up his words if you will only ask him for the insight. He said, “And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9) The best way to unlock the mystery of the word of God is to ask Him for he wrote it.
There is a promise in these words that will provide us with knowledge and insight. What is important for us is not to follow the example of the disciples who were too afraid to ask. Instead, let us seek the knowledge so that we do not get taken by surprise and so that we may learn.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng www.sxc.hu/ taken by Kriss Szkurlatowski)