“They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” (Mark 9:30 – 31)
Perhaps it would be helpful to our understanding to know that others before Jesus had made wild claims that did not come true. There is a reason that some of the Jews from Jesus time did not believe he was truly the Messiah. Others had claimed that (or claimed to be able to deliver the Jews from their oppression) but still they were oppressed. Bring that to modern times (ie the 20th century) and it takes a whole lot of convincing now that Jesus was who he said he was.
“But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.” (Verse 32)
Did not understand at the time. And were afraid. I can understand that. On the one side were the Jewish leaders who claimed to be protectors of the faithful; but sometimes it seemed that they were rooting more for Roman authority than Jewish priorities. On the other side was Jesus, who seemed nothing like the Messiah that was told of in prophecies.
“Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest.” (Verses 33 – 34)
Another reason to not question Jesus closely, perhaps. I have to wonder, beloved reader, if the disciples wondered if when Jesus was gone, another would step into his place and carry on the ministry. Or, at his return (which would evidently be quite a spectacle – returning from the day and all) who would be named as his court.
“He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” (Verses 35 – 37)
Jesus was telling the disciples their conversation about who was the greatest among them and who would receive honors – was mote. That the Messiah would be subject to violence at the hands of others was unthinkable. That death was not permanent when all of nature showed them that it was. And the accolades they might have sought would mean nothing turned their world upside down.
When we have to figure out our place in life, that can be hard. When we have to face grime realities, that can be hard also. But hard times are not times to be silent. Several days ago I was going through a hard time, and I cried out to the Lord for understanding. In the time that followed I was flooded with understanding and insight. It did not change the circumstances, but it calmed and changed me. May you, beloved reader, ask the Divine . . . about anything and everything. And may the Divine be as gentle & welcoming with you as the Divine is gentle & welcoming with all the children of the Lord God. Shalom & Selah!