Luke 18:31-34 (CEV)
31 Jesus took the twelve apostles aside and said:
We are now on our way to Jerusalem. Everything that the prophets wrote about the Son of Man will happen there. 32 He will be handed over to foreigners, who will make fun of him, mistreat him, and spit on him. 33 They will beat him and kill him, but three days later he will rise to life.
34 The apostles did not understand what Jesus was talking about. They could not understand, because the meaning of what he said was hidden from them.
They Could Not Understand
Do you ever worry that there are things about God that you don’t understand?
Things that seem to go over your head?
Some passage about the ‘third heaven’ that someone tried to explain out of Revelations or a ten-page long family tree from Chronicles or some seemingly impossible story about someone being swallowed by a fish and then being thrown up again onto dry ground?
Maybe it’s some theological concept like ‘predestination’ or ‘transubstantiation’ or ‘penal substitutionary atonement’.
Or maybe it’s simply wrapping your head around an idea like ‘sin’ or ‘grace’ or ‘why bad things happen to good people’ or ‘why Jesus had to die’.
Jesus is talking to the apostles – the twelve disciples he hand-selected and chose to walk beside him and live with him every day for three years.
He’s telling them that when they’re on their way to Jerusalem and when they get there things are going to get difficult. He’s telling them that he’s going to end up in the hands of the Roman authorities (the foreigners) and that they will taunt him, beat him up and kill him – before he comes back to life three days later.
We get to know what he means because we’ve got the benefit of having heard the end of the story.
For us, it’s all happened already – which makes it a whole lot easier to understand.
But his disciples didn’t get it.
These are the guys who were destined to take the good news about Jesus – including this death and resurrection he’s talking about here – off to the entirety of the known world. And they didn’t understand.
And that gives me hope.
Because sometimes all of this spiritual stuff is difficult to make sense of.
Sometimes this God-stuff doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Sometimes the things in the Bible aren’t clear and obvious and unambiguous, the way people would like to tell us they are.
But if the disciples didn’t get it – yet still went on to be the founding members of this way of living that Jesus lived and died and rose again to make possible – then maybe there’s still hope for me on the days when it don’t quite understand either.
- Do you ever feel like there is God-stuff that you don’t understand?
- What do you do when you don’t understand God-stuff?
- Do you connect with community?
- Do you spend time in prayer?
- Do you run away?
- Do you feel hopeless?
- What hope does it give you that the disciples didn’t understand?