Soon Holy Week will be upon us, the most significant time in the Christian Year. As we approach the unfolding of Christ’s redemptive events of that week, today’s Gospel lesson informs us of Jesus’ words to his disciples concerning that week. “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”
But the disciples only scratch their heads in response. They did not understand what Jesus was saying to them. The meaning was hidden from them for a simple reason: the disciples tended to only hear what they wanted to hear. All this talk of death and suffering did not fit their understanding of what Messiah was really all about and should be doing – so, they filtered it out like a bad glass of water.
From our perspective on this side of the cross, it is much too easy for us to get down on the disciples for their dense and obtuse minds. But when we want to rush through Holy Week as if it did not even exist in order to get to the triumphant day of Easter, we are more in company with the disciples than we might want to admit. It makes me wonder if I approach God’s Word and the ways of Jesus with a jaundiced view, with a certain set of glasses that skew what is really there right in front of my face. I don’t think Jesus could have had any more clarity about what was going to happen, yet the disciples missed it.
In light of these few penetrating verses of Luke’s Gospel, here are some sage questions to ask of ourselves:
· When Jesus speaks, do I hear what he is really saying to me?
· Do I approach Jesus with a set of assumptions and pre-suppositions that prove to be obstacles in understanding his words?
· Am I so convinced about who Jesus is and what he should be doing that when he speaks and acts in ways different than my expectations, I am dumbfounded?
· Have I placed spiritual blinders over my eyes to only see what I want to see?
· How often do I walk away scratching my head after listening to the words of Jesus?
· Will I sit and dwell with Jesus and his words to me instead of just moving on with my life?
Gracious Lord Jesus, you moved with purpose toward your passion. Give me insight into your words and works so that I might fully embrace what you have done, are doing, and want to do in your church and in the world. Amen.