Yesterday we looked at Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ. I can almost see Jesus doing a mental fist pump over this; “YES! They finally get it!” But now He has to reign them all in after receiving that amazing faith moment.
As we saw yesterday, people on the outside of Jesus’ group didn’t get to see the whole truth. They got a taste of it but were not privy to the deeper meanings. They had surface knowledge and works to back up their budding faith.
God had good reason for keeping things hidden from the masses. He had a plan in motion that required the people to play a certain part. God didn’t force any one into any specific role but He used their individual personalities and tendencies to His benefit.
When Peter boldly spoke the full truth, Jesus let His disciples absorb it for a moment. Then He had to make sure God’s plan was protected. He didn’t want the masses knowing the truth yet. One reason was that the religious leaders would have rushed faster to end His ministry. Another reason might have been that the people might have insisted on Him taking an earthly throne if they were certain of His heritage. Or possibly the people might have turned away sooner. Only He knows the full impact that knowledge might have had on the populace. He was not willing to risk it. So He told His disciples to keep this a secret. He didn’t just caution them but He “strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one” (verse 21).
After getting their ascent, He then moved into telling His disciples the rest of the truth for the first time. The disciples went from mountain top high to valley low in the span of a few minutes. They move from the revelation of Jesus as the Christ to the shocking news that He will be persecuted, rejected and ultimately killed. How can this be? Surely not!
Because of where we are today (the completed side of the promise) we are quick to notice that Jesus included a little more in His story. He included that he would be raised again on the third day. I believe this part was completely eclipsed by His previous words. Besides that, what did He mean by “raised?” If He was dead who would be able to raise Him?
Jesus’ disciples couldn’t wrap their heads around what Jesus was telling them, let alone allow this kind of talk into their hearts! Certainly not! Jesu knew this was going to be difficult for them to grasp. He also knew that they would be so wrapped up in thought over this that the revelation would move back in their minds a bit. Jesus would revisit this warning at least two more times before His final week. Each time His disciples would fail to comprehend the truth of what He was saying. Even though they refused to hear He didn’t refuse to tell them. For that we will be eternally grateful, and a little perplexed at their hardheadedness.
Lord Jesus, thank You for the warnings. For us it proves You knew the plan perfectly from the beginning but still chose to endure it all for us. For Your disciples, did it give them any comfort those long three days? I know it gave them something to point to afterwards. You set the stage so completely. You have done this with our future too, but like Your disciples, we don’t really understand it all. Sometimes we think we do, but we too are just guessing. We can trust You to be just as faithful in carrying out what is still to come as You were in carrying out the part with Your disciples. I trust You to make it clear when the time comes. Until then, I choose to keep believing and keep walking with You wherever You lead.