Monday, August 08, 2011

Matthew 20:17-20


17 As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, 18 ``Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.''

This is, at least, the 3rd, maybe the 4th time Jesus has revealed to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, be killed and be raised up again. (Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33, Luke 9:22) Although the statement may have puzzled the disciples who were standing close to Jesus' revelation, it was, after all, not inconceivable that the Messiah would ultimately die at some point in time. Therefore, Peter's shock when hearing Jesus' new declaration in Matthew 16 is not based so much on the third day resurrection but upon the opposition to and persecution of the One who he'd just proclaimed to be God's chosen and anointed King-"You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God." (Matt 16:16).

Each time Jesus mentions what's coming the disciples seem to be a little cloudy in their thinking as to what is meant. Maybe they are too frightened to ask Jesus what it all might mean.

Now, here before their final journey into Jerusalem, Jesus repeats what is about to happen. I can't emphasize enough the importance of their expectations of the Messiah. There were 2 roles for the Messiah to play. One was that He would come and reign forever (as the son of David). The other was that He would come to die as a sacrifice for the sins of the world (as the son of Joseph). When you are under the foot of the Romans, you are definitely not looking for the Messiah to come and die. You want the Messiah that is going to deliver His people from this oppression. We can look back on this scene historically without emotion, knowing the facts, that this had to happen this way. But to the disciples, this was emotionally charged with their hopes and dreams of the Messiah's power of deliverance.

It's a little like that when we are awaiting the Lord's deliverance in our own lives today. We are so emotionally involved with our pain that we can't see what is really going on. God is up to something. God is always up to something that will work out better for you-to deliver you from where you are now into where He wants you to be next.

"For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). Easily said, but very difficult to trust in the middle of the conditions we may find ourselves. This is precisely the work that we are to do-to learn to trust that Jesus' loyal love toward us is eternally true. Nothing can separate you from the love of Jesus.