Prepare to listen. Prepare to listen to God’s Word and pray: The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes. (Psalm 119:64)
Read Mark 9:30-32
30They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 31for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.’ 32But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
Sometimes we think we’re being really clear, read-my-lips clear, but our listeners still don’t get it. It happens to me often and I’ll confess, I get frustrated. It takes a lot of patience attempt further explanation. I’m not alone. Jesus experienced the same thing. Twice in this brief paragraph he plainly told his disciples he’d be killed. But they didn’t get it. His disciples, those who had spent nearly three years almost constantly in his presence, who saw his acts and heard his teaching, ‘did not understand.’ Not for the first time, either. Jesus had previously complained, ‘Do you not yet understand?’ (Mark 8:21). He had also rebuked Peter (8:33) for rebuking Jesus when he taught this very same truth.
Once again, the disciples failed to understand, and once again they were too afraid to ask Jesus to explain. Their problem was their preconceived ideas of what Messiah would do—defeat the occupying Romans and make Israel ‘great again.’ What Jesus said, however, was the very antithesis of this. Messiah would suffer and die at the hand of the Roman enemy. Suffering and death, with its implied defeat, were not terms they had ever connected with Messiah’s mission. Jesus’ message was too alarming, too disturbing and beyond their comprehension. Jesus could have relieved their anxiety about the future, their sense of confusion and hopelessness if only they weren’t so afraid and kept silent. They could have asked.
What about Jesus’ mission disturbs you enough to make you avoid asking your questions?
Respond to Jesus in prayer
Jesus, it takes courage, sometimes more than I have, to face the truth in some your teaching, especially the bits that often conflict with my ideas and hopes. Give me courage today to ask my hard questions and a willingness to change my mind. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world who patiently teaches the same lesson again and again.