Luke 18:31-43 (ESV)
And taking the twelve, he said to them, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.  For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon.  And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise."  But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.  And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant.  They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."  And he cried out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"  And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"  And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him,  "What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, let me recover my sight."  And Jesus said to him, "Recover your sight; your faith has made you well."  And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
“And taking the twelve, he said to them, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise." But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. “
“But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.” I’m not sure how this is possible. I’m not sure how it is possible that something so plainly spoken as, we are going to Jerusalem, where all that is written by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the gentiles, and will be mocked… they will kill him… and on the third day he will rise.” I’m not sure what in all that there is that could be misunderstood. It’s plain. But then of course, it is amazing what one’s preconceived notions of reality will do to get in the way of God’s word. I mean I see it quit often that people refuse to see what is going on in Baptism. Scripture is clear as day, 1 Peter says in no uncertain terms that Baptism saves. Romans says that in Baptism we are buried into Christ’s death, so that just as he was raised we too will walk in the newness of Life. Ephesians five tells us that we are sanctified in baptism. But I get into discussions with people all the time, who can’t seem to understand the clear and simple words of Christ. Or the Lord’s Supper for instance, I mean, Scripture is clear, the bread we eat is the Body of Christ, the cup we drink is the blood of Christ, his blood of the New Testament, poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins. And the people that refuse to believe these clear words of scripture are most often the ones claiming that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. I’ll agree with them on that, but then what difference does it make if you refuse to believe what that inerrant word of God says? Why is it that every jot and tittle of Revelation, is given a literalistic meaning, with no room for symbolism, and yet the last will and testament of our God made flesh is treated as inconsequential?
“But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.” Some might say that Christ was actively hiding it from them. I don’t think he was. I think at this point he was extremely frustrated that the apostles were unable to see what was going on. They were caught up in a messianic furor that was making them miss the signs. They had a different notion of reality from Jesus. And it hampered their ability to see. No matter how plainly he said it, they couldn’t see it. He wasn’t hiding it from them, it was just plain hidden, hidden in broad daylight, where it was meant to be seen. They had different ideas from the messiah as to what it meant to be the messiah. This is always bad. But it happens every day.
We want to force our concept of what it means to be God onto God. We want to force our thoughts as to what salvation means on to our savior. We want to force God to conform to our way of thinking. It doesn’t happen that way, and thank God for that. He knows so much better than we do. He knows what we need. And it isn’t always just our perceptions of reality, framed as they are by extra biblical sources. Most people never bother to sit down and question where they got their notions from. Inconceivable to them is the idea that a philosopher they have never heard of and who lived just a couple hundred years ago could have devastating effects on their ability to reason. And often if you examine the logic they used, you find it not all that logical. I could probably go on for days on that theme. But I won’t. I’ll just tell you my conclusions.
See I think the disciples may have had a better excuse than we today, to miss the bus when Jesus was speaking so plainly, and clearly. They knew Jesus was the messiah, but Jesus hadn’t yet shown them what that meant, and until they saw it, it wouldn’t matter how plainly he spoke. Only after Jesus rose from the dead, and showed them his scars, only after Jesus rose from the dead, and picnicked with them on the beaches of Galilee, only after he did these things, did they understand that when he said they were going to Jerusalem where the son of man would be handed over, betrayed, spit upon flogged, killed and would then rise again on the third day, that he literally meant that they would go to Jerusalem…. And he would rise again on the third day. But we? We have his resurrection. When the disciples witnessed the resurrection they understood. This man sets reality. This man is the bar. What ever this man says, though it seem unbelievable, we ought to believe it, because this man rose from the dead. Yes, if this man says we and our children can be saved by having water poured over us in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, then who are we to argue like Namaan that the water isn’t special enough? If this man tells us that this bread is his body, in his last will and testament no less, who are we to argue? The wine his blood? And if it sounds disgusting we will stay with Luther who mentions if Jesus told him to eat cow manure for his salvation he would. (he didn’t exactly use those words…) If this man tells us that his death on the cross saved us from our sins? Who are we to argue? And if it seems politically incorrect that he should tell us other things that don’t match with our society’s notions of propriety, Perhaps that women shouldn’t be pastors, or that we shouldn’t bend our knee to government mandates demanding we pay for abortions, Well then we know that he has a love for this world that far surpasses our silly notions of love, and in simple faith we believe he knows best, because he is the man who died for our sins, and rose from the dead for our salvation. He rose from the dead! So we won’t argue with him.