Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
Grade 1 friends seem to have this convenient lapse of memory when it comes to their involvement in a situation. Over my long, long career of teaching (ok...this is only my 5th year ;) I have come to realize that things are revealed much quicker when you ask "what happened right before [the situation]??"
Let me explain:
A group of children come running out of the boys bathroom screaming that the toilet is overflowing....a good question to ask is "what happened right before the toilet overflowed?? and you may learn that a group of older students tried to flush milk carton.
A child says another child stuck their tongue out at them...a good question to ask is "what happened right before they stuck their tongue out at you??" and you may learn that immediately before the tongue sticking out that the other child called them a name.
On Friday, a child came in with a bloody lip. Asking the famous "what happened right before??" revealed that the bloody lipped child (who is large for his age) ran full speed towards another (smaller) child while screaming and being encouraged by others to "get him"! It seems pretty obvious to me that this could result in the scared child defending himself which may result in fist to lip contact and blood....and a phone call home to both students' parents. However, this was less obvious to the child with the fat lip.
Some things would seem obvious. Every action causes a reaction. I think for the disciples the obvious was not obvious to them. They were too close to the situation. Much like the students in Grade 1, they were oblivious to what was coming because they could not see what was going to happen. It is, and was, only after the situation had passed that they could see it in a new way and understand what was going on.
Jesus told his disciples 3 times that his death would not be pretty and that it was coming soon. I tell my Grade 1 students every day to make good choices, use kind words, and keep their hands to themselves. Sometimes it takes awhile for a message to sink in. :)
I think it's also possible that the disciples didn't want to think about giving up the life that they knew. Many left everything to be a disciple and it must have been an amazing experience to walk and learn side by side with Jesus. Watching miracles, hearing amazing sermons, being at the center of the action with Jesus. I don't imagine they were ready to give that up. It's true that they didn't have many worldly possessions but I do believe their lives were pretty comfortable and maybe they were choosing to ignore Jesus' warning that His time with them was coming to an end.
My oldest just got her driver's license. She got her beginners about a year ago and has been watching us and practicing her driving over the last 11 months. She often talked about the time when she would get her full license and be able to drive by herself. My husband and I, who drive with her each time she goes out, still think she has so much to learn. She kept telling us that one day she would be able to drive on her own and I don't think it really sunk in for me until I got the news that she had passed her road test on her first try. All of a sudden it hit me so hard that she was allowed to drive on her own. Without us. All. By. Herself. I had heard the warning, I had the knowledge that this could happen, and I chose to ignore it until it actually happened.
The day she got her license, she drove herself and her sister to the mall. What a crazy experience to know your child is driving alone. The next day she drove herself to youth group--even picking up a friend--and home again. This weekend she did her first solo ride when she drove to and from school for drama practice and even made a stop at the drive through teller at the back to deposit a cheque.
It didn't matter that I had not been ready for this. It didn't matter that I had brushed off the warnings that something like this was coming. It happened anyway. Jesus told the disciples what to expect. He told them 3 times! They just did not understand and yet it happened anyway. Jesus died. Exactly as He said He would. I'm certain the disciples were left feeling some of the things I felt when Kiandra got her license:
Unsure of the Future
Longing for the feeling of things to be as they always were
Yet, it happened anyway and the disciples had to move forward from that place. Even with the warning, had they been able to understand what Jesus was trying to tell them, it would not have fully prepared them for their new life of going out and preaching about everything they had seen and heard during their time with Jesus and the sacrifices that they would have to make to do that.
We so often choose to overlook the obvious in favour of living our lives in a "same old, same old" mentality. When situations arise, we don't often see our own role in it and may even shy away from acknowledging our responsibility when asked "what happened right before [the situation]??" Lord, we also fear change. We like to be comfortable. We like to know what is going to happen next. Help us to see that change is inevitable and it happens whether we like it or not but that we do not have to be afraid of the future because You are already there.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 18:35-43
Sometimes we're so focused on what we want to happen, and what we've now assumed will happen, that the blinders go on, and we simply can't see anything that doesn't fit in with our expectations. It just doesn't register, it's in one ear and out the other. I think the disciples really thought they would go to Jerusalem, and Jesus would be crowned King, Rome would be overthrown, and He would be the conquering Messiah. And they just couldn't see anything else.
We need to take our blinders off. We need to stop seeing what we want to see, we need to stop hearing what we want to hear, and start listening to what Jesus is really saying.
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