Jesus and His disciples were somewhere in Galilee. I don’t know if they had left Caesarea Philippi for Capernaum yet, which is the next setting Matthew resumes his story telling in. I’m certain Jesus and His disciples were alone during this portion of scripture though. Jesus didn’t tell the crowds this much detail about His upcoming death. These talks were reserved for His disciples alone.
The disciples had been walking with Jesus for some time now, so they knew the political and religious atmosphere that surrounded Jesus and His teachings. The Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees all hated Jesus and wanted Him dead.
Jesus, for the second time, tells His disciples that He is going to be killed and raised from the dead. For the second time they hear the first statement and breeze past the second. All they hear is that Jesus is going to be killed. When Jesus says He is going to “be delivered into the hands of men”, do they realize someone is going to betray Him? Do they even entertain the thought of it being someone from their own group that would be the culprit?
“What do I do when You have forbidden me to do anything?!?” Peter’s heart cries. “Oh how I hope and pray this is another of His metaphors. I have no idea what it could mean, but I will take not understanding any day over what He is proposing. I don’t care what He says; when the time comes, I will defend Him with my life!”
I wonder what Judas was thinking during these talks. I don’t believe he was planning for Jesus to die when He finally did hand Him over. Maybe he was thinking that handing Jesus over and having Him live through it would shut Jesus up about His death predictions. “I was just trying to teach Him a lesson! I didn’t mean for Him to actually die!”
What about John? Was his heart breaking for the Master? “The one I love with all my heart. The one who loves me better than my own father. How can this be? What am I supposed to do? PLEASE tell me what to do!”
I’m sure there was not a single listener who didn’t have some sort of battle raging in their mind and heart over Jesus’ words. Did any of them actually vocalize what they were feeling? After Peter confronted Jesus the last time, I doubt anyone challenged His predictions again.
If they would only have listened to the second part of Jesus’ statement; then they might have found some measure of peace. Jesus said plainly that His death was not the end. Jesus made SURE to include that portion of the promise whenever He shared with them what was to come. The disciples were blinded by fear when it came to losing Jesus. Besides all that, who ever heard of rising from the dead? That part HAD to be a metaphor, right?
Father God, I’m SO glad the last part was as real as the first part. I don’t know how I would have held it together day in and day out after you dropped a bombshell like that. Thank You again God for my being on this side of the promise. How many times have I gone ahead and acted when Your telling me what is coming was simply to prepare me for it, not for me to change it? Jesus wasn’t telling the disciples about His death and resurrection so they could change the events, but so they would have hope while they waited for the second part to happen. Help me know when You are telling me to be still and wait for part two. Help me listen for part two too, instead of getting all worked up over part one. You weren’t being still in the process Yourself, even though the disciples had to be. You had it ALL under control. Remind me that I can trust You with it all! Even, and especially, when I don’t have it all figured out.