Thursday, October 4, 2012

Afraid to Ask

Luke 9:37-45 (ESV)
On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. [38] And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. [39] And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth; and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. [40] And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not." [41] Jesus answered, "O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here." [42] While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. [43] And all were astonished at the majesty of God.
But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, [44] "Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men." [45] But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

“But while they were all marveling…” It is in stark contrast, here Jesus just healed a boy from a devastating illness, and he is reminding his disciples that he is about to be delivered into the hands of men. He wants it to sink into their ears, he wants them to comprehend. But they don’t. They don’t understand, they can’t seem to understand. And they were even afraid to ask.
The fear says they probably understood more than they wanted to. Afraid to ask. We have all been there, something we were just afraid to ask about, we didn’t want to know the answer. Perhaps we just put the best construction on things. Yet we know the best construction is nothing more than wishful thinking. Oh, we all end up there. Then we get blindsided, and feel stupid for it, because all the indications were there and we were just too afraid to ask until our fear became stark reality. Perhaps it was the antics of a spouse. Perhaps you wondered why your child had blood shot eyes in the morning. Perhaps it was your daughter withdrawing and feeling a bit sick in the morning. May be it was something else, and when it all hits the fan and splatters around the room you are left dumbfounded, not so much at what happened, but why you just didn’t see it coming. You realize you knew more than you wanted, and so you ignored.
Jesus understands his disciples, he is trying to prepare them for the tough times ahead. They won’t listen. He would be delivered into the hands of men. They would take him and kill him. This man who could do whatever he wanted would die at their hand, because this is what he wanted. He wanted this because only this could really prepare us for all of those things we are afraid to ask about. Only his death could finally prepares us for all of life’s tragedy, all of life’s pain. He would die at the hands of men to bring about forgiveness, to cover us with the blood of grace. He would die at their hands so that we could realize a world that would kill such a great man, a sinless man, is a world that will offer all of us our own tribulation, our own crosses, our own death. But in the end it all works out. In the end this world is only the beginning. In the end, Jesus rises from the dead to give us life. And in his death he prepares us not only for the tragedies of this world but for death itself, that we would meet it as the enemy it is, but a conquered enemy that no longer has power over us who are in him who was handed over to the hands of men to die and rise again for us.

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