Monday, January 30, 2012

Those Who Followed Were Afraid

Mark 10:32-34 (ESV)
And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, [33] saying, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. [34] And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise."

And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. It doesn’t say who “they” were, but they were amazed. Presumably they are the people watching Jesus calmly walk to his death. They are the outsiders looking in, Amazed, and yet perhaps even more afraid then those who are following. They know what is in Jerusalem. Bewildered they must ponder if Jesus knows. How could he not? Everyone knew, and yet Jesus keeps walking down the road.
The disciples are following, perhaps more than just the twelve. They are afraid but they follow. I suppose this is true of disciples of Jesus even today. There is a certain amount of fear that is to be expected if you are to follow Jesus. He was always saying that the student is not above the teacher. Jesus was mocked, Jesus was cast out, his family turned on him, his people killed him. And we who follow? How often are we mocked? How many have lost family, and friends? How many are actually killed?
Jesus takes the twelve aside, and as to confirm their fears tells them exactly what is in store. He will be handed over, he will be condemned, given over to gentiles, mocked, spit upon, flogged and killed. But e ends with reassurance. Aver three days he will rise.
What kind of assurance is that? The disciples didn’t seem to take much stock in it. Jesus was their friend, and as good friends do, they were going to follow him to the end. Perhaps as in an old cowboy movie, Young Guns, or Tombstone. Men long for friendships like that, and adventure. It’s what keeps our military units fighting. They were going to follow him to the end. That was their plan until Jesus told Peter to put his sword away. Jesus didn’t plan on going out in a blaze of glory, and take out the glory the disciples fled. Fighting till the end is one thing, handing yourself over? Do that on your own time Jesus. The disciples certainly didn’t take much stock in this bit about rising in three days. In fact, the disciples seemed to have forgotten about it, the Pharisees put more stock in it when they posted a guard. The disciples seemed to have dismissed it as crazy talk. What would you have done? What do you do?
The assurance is for us too. He rose three days later. He promises our resurrection. He knows times are going to be tough for us for being Christian. He doesn’t promise success, wealth, or any of the things pagans demand from their gods. He promises us tribulation in this world. And who can say he is wrong? But he also promises us resurrection, eternal life, and when we follow him, in this worl it will mean tribulation, but he has overcome the world, and so then, so will we.

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