Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.
When you come right down to it, there really isn’t all that much to say about this passage. Jesus told them very explicitly why He was going to Jerusalem. Yes, of course, it was for Passover, but in reality, it was for a great deal more than that; He was going to fulfill His Messianic destiny.
Which was to be killed by evil men.
Luke tells us that the meaning of this was “hidden” from the disciples; maybe Luke’s meaning is hidden from us!
Do you suppose that the Holy Spirit or the Father had somehow intervened so that the disciples would be incapable of comprehending what Jesus has just told them so graphically and unambiguously?
Or maybe they were just stupid or something…
Personally, I doubt highly that God was keeping the truth from them, for if He was, why would Jesus have bothered to tell them what was going to happen; this is the third time He has told them. I also know full well that they were not stupid; they were actually rather clever as we see elsewhere.
So what’s going on here?
It seems to me that there are two complications: First, Jesus isn’t making it any easier for them to understand, even though He is speaking in graphic terms, for while He does so, He is also speaking the third person: “The Son of Man” and “he”, rather than “I” and “me”. The second complication is that the disciples believe, like everyone else, that Jesus’ Messianic destiny is to march into Jerusalem, overthrow the Romans and restore Israel to its former earthly glory as king. In fact, these assumptions have quite clouded their perception of so many obvious things throughout this story, just as many of our assumptions cloud our perceptions about many things today.
For this reason, it is no mistake that the next event chronicled by Luke involves a blind man…