How many times have we missed ‘the point’ of a passage of Scripture? On occasion as a ‘listener’ to some zealous preaching student at Toronto Baptist Seminary, where I now serve, I’ve said to a fellow staff/faculty member, “Interesting sermon but he missed the point of the passage!” or “What he said was true, it’s just that the text he read doesn’t support his assertions!”
In Matthew 20, Jesus and His chosen followers are going up to Jerusalem. The time has come for Jesus to die and Jesus explicitly states God’s plan. Joining together with hundreds of faithful pilgrims who were required to make three trips to the “holy city,” Jesus takes the 12 to the side of the road for a clear statement of the upcoming events of what we today call “the Easter weekend.”
“We are going up to Jerusalem,” – The disciples knew this but really didn’t know the reason.
“and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law.” – The disciples had watched this conflict between the Jewish religious leaders and Jesus build during this year of opposition.
“They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified.” – The disciples had anticipated Jesus “conquering” not being “conquered” by death. They were hoping for the redemption of Israel, a full release from the oppression of the Romans (the Gentiles) under whose authority they were ‘surviving.’
“On the third day he will be raised to life!” – The disciples (like Martha – John 11) probably believed in a future resurrection, as the Old Testament taught this truth. How and why would Jesus be brought back to life so quickly? What was about to happen?
This is the third time Jesus has clearly anticipated the plan of the Father. In Matthew 16 and also in chapter 17 He had declared His death, burial and resurrection. The first two responses of the disciples were DEMONIC (“Get behind Me, Satan) and DESPONDENT (they were filled with grief.) What will be their response this time? Do they understand? Will they remain true to the end or will their knees buckle in fear as the pressure increases? Our next blog will take a look at their DISTRACTED response.