Anyone who has testified in a court of law has committed to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Truth matters, not only in a justice system but in all areas of life.
Jesus Christ, who is the Truth (John 14:6), spoke the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He longed for His disciples to know the truth, to receive it and build their lives upon it.
In Matthew 16, Peter responded to the truth of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection with a Satanic-inspired defiance. “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” Jesus rebuked him with words that I’m sure burned their way into the conscience of this leader for years to come.
As we come to Matthew 17, we see the inner circle of leaders, Peter, James & John, gaining spiritual insight through their participation as witnesses in the transfiguration of Jesus. Moses and Elijah speak with Jesus about His impending death and God the Father credentials Jesus with a powerful spoken endorsement.
Jesus and the privileged three return to the rest of the group and discover the powerlessness of human effort in dealing with demonic possession. Jesus exercises His authority and exorcises the demon-possessed child. What authority! What power! He is Lord.
As they return as a group to Galilee, Jesus provides a second prediction of His death, burial and resurrection. These leaders need this reminder. He has not come just to perform miracles, but to die. His life will end in death, as do all others, but this purposeful death will accomplish God’s perfect plan of rescuing lost sinners.
“When they came together in Gailee, he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.”
Notice the certainty with which he speaks. This will happen. There will be a betrayal, in fact one of the twelve will yield to the tempting influence of money (30 pieces of silver). The men who receive him from Judas will kill him, as punishment for the false charges they have provided as evidence to the Roman authorities. But though they may kill him, he will be raised to life! Good Friday is not the end of the event. Resurrection Day will follow.
How do the disciples respond this time? They’ve learned from the stinging rebuke given by Jesus to Peter, that resistance is futile. Don’t oppose God’s plan, it’s a vain use of energy. Just accept it?
Matthew records their collective responses – “And the disciples were filled with grief.” Sorrow comes in waves, doesn’t it? We’re all wired a little differently but grief crushes us with its cruel heaviness. We feel powerless to stop it, and those around us, like Job’s ‘comforters’ offer little ‘wise’ advice.
O to hear with clarity the message of the gospel – the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! May this week find us us many times reflecting on Jesus Christ – His death, His burial, His victorious resurrection.
‘Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small. Love SO AMAZING, SO DIVINE, demands my soul, my life, my all!’ Amen, Isaac Watts, Amen!