Then he took the Twelve aside and told them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. Everything that is written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles, and he will be mocked, insulted, spit on; and after they flog him, they will kill him, and he will rise on the third day.” They understood none of these things. The meaning of the saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said (CSB).
Have you ever tried to explain something difficult to a three-year-old? “Today daddy wants to tell you how to write a macro in Microsoft Word. Now do you understand what a macro is?” You immediately hear a small giggle and a happy voice saying, “Macaroni!” You know you have a long road ahead of you.
Now consider the situation that Jesus the Son of God was in. He had just said to those who had heard his interview with the rich young ruler that salvation is impossible for humans, but very possible for God. Jesus wants to explain this to his twelve closest followers, so he takes them aside from the crowd to talk with them. Will they understand? Let’s think of Jesus’ method of explanation.
First, Jesus took the Twelve aside. He gave the secrets of the kingdom of God to them (Luke 8:10). The Lord makes the truth known to his people. He trained the Twelve to be his witnesses (cf. Acts 1:8). They needed to know what would happen, so when it happened, the Holy Spirit would be able to bring this to their memory. You’ve surely had the experience of someone explaining something to you. At first you couldn’t follow what was going on during the explanation, but when you begin to do what was explained, you suddenly realize, “I’ve got it!”
Jesus told his friends what would happen to him. Jesus knows what his friends need to know, as well as what we don’t need to know, in order to live by faith. But we should realize that he reveals things to us as his friends, so that we might know that the living God is our friend. What he doesn’t tell us is for our benefit. There is such a problem as information overload. We need to learn certain matters well, because they are crucial to the Christian way of life. Other things can wait, if we need to learn them at all. For example, it is far more important for us to know how to please God now and how to tell others the good news than to know any of the intricacies of future events (cf. Matthew 6:34). They needed to know exactly what would happen to him. He prepared them to face very difficult events.
The Lord Jesus pointed the Twelve to the Scriptures (everything that is written through the prophets).
- He had confidence in written revelation. He used it in his teaching. Jesus constantly modeled to people that we can build our lives on the written word of God. “Look at your life and the world from God the Father’s viewpoint.” I must speak bluntly. We live in an age when much “information” is simply human opinion without any regard for accuracy. People say and write things to manipulate, not to communicate what was formerly called “truth”. (Listen to how people talk; for example, “all things are relative.” We need the Scriptures to interpret life correctly (John 17:17).
- He had a “Christ-structured” view of the Scriptures. He saw them as communicating a message about God’s plan in him. We do not understand the Bible properly unless we know and act on the fact that it tells about how God accomplishes his purposes of salvation and judgment for his glory in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you share Christ’s view of the Scriptures? When you encounter challenging situations in your life, do you choose to frame the solution in terms of the Scriptures or human opinion?
Grace and peace, David