Today’s Reading: John 11:45-57; Mark 10:32-45; Matthew 20:17-19; Psalm 56
Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. – Mark 2:19-20
Early on in his ministry, Jesus began talking about his death. The disciples were slow to understand but Jesus was preparing them, little by little, for what was ahead. As time went on, he would give them a little more information about the suffering that was coming.
Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. – Mark 8:31
Consider again what Jesus said to Peter, James and John after the Transfiguration on the mountain.
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them.
As they went back down the mountain, he told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept it to themselves, but they often asked each other what he meant by “rising from the dead.” – Mark 9:7-10
God could have opened up the minds of the disciples and helped them to understand how Scripture was being fulfilled. Jesus could have had a lengthy conversation with His followers, clearly revealing His role and what was about to take place.
But sometimes God reveals things a little at a time – all as a part of His larger plan.
“The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.” They didn’t understand what he was saying, however, and they were afraid to ask him what he meant. – Mark 9:31b-32
They were now on the way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear. – Mark 10:32a
They did not understand what was about to happen, yet they could feel the enormity of what was coming. They had a choice, yet they continued to follow Jesus. Their love for Jesus Christ and their faith in him was enough to continue moving forward, regardless of their fear or anticipation of the unknown.
The unknown. The disciples still did not understand what was about to happen. As we look over the gospel accounts, we see moments when Jesus spoke so clearly to them about what was about to happen. They heard, yet they did not fully understand. Something was about to happen that would forever change them. They could feel the anticipation and fear what was to come, but still experience confusion about God’s larger plan that was unfolding. Can you relate to how they were feeling? Sometimes we continue forward regardless of the confusion, fear and anticipation.
“Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.” – Mark 10:33-34
“…Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?…” – Mark 10:38b
“…For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45
Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of light.” – John 12:35-36a
There have been many times in my life when I was able to look back and see the evidence of how God was preparing me for my current situation. I did not understand at the time, but later God increased my understanding. Looking back, I can see how various experiences in my life were shaping me into the person I needed to be for God’s plan. I can look back and see how God was revealing, little by little, things I needed to learn for a future purpose.
Because I can look back on yesterday, as the disciples did,
and understand NOW what God was teaching me THEN,
I can trust Him with my TODAY
knowing that God has a plan for my TOMORROW.
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you…
This I know: God is on my side!
I praise God for what he has promised…
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?
I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.
For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light. – Psalm 56:3, 9-13