“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. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.” (Luke 18:31-34)
I preached on this a week or two ago. This was God’s plan. But no matter how plainly Jesus spoke to them about it, they could not understand it. It was hidden from them.
It’s like I told John the other day. Sometimes you can be absolutely honest with people and it won’t register. They won’t believe that you are telling them the truth. The timing is wrong, the setting is wrong for them. They think you are joking or something.
In truth it is too shocking for them, too disturbing. They don’t want to believe it, so they won’t. And of course this is the truth about faith in general, people will not believe what they do not want to. Apologetics is great, but it is useless if someone does not want to believe. So half of getting people to believe the gospel is getting them to a point where they want to believe it. You shouldn’t have to do this, after all it is the truth. Jesus died for our sins and rose for our justification. It really is our only hope. But until someone wants to believe the truth, it doesn’t matter if it is the truth. Just look at Gregory Mendel whose experiments and conclusions went ignored his whole entire life, because they conflicted with Darwin’s theory which everyone wanted to believe.
Jesus had to die and rise again, to get the disciples to believe, and even then it took an awful lot of convincing. Jesus had to appear to them over and over again for forty days. And each time he does the disciples are perplexed, afraid, and inclined to disbelieve their eyes. Jesus has to offer them many proofs.
Proofs are not all we have to offer. Finally we have to offer more. We have to offer them something the world doesn’t offer, something the world can’t offer, and something that is worth forsaking the world for. This is what we are asking them to do, whether we realize it or not. The world lets them think they are god. Acknowledging God robs them of that, but death does too. Finally death, makes us acknowledge our mortality. And only then does the gospel mean really anything. But it has to be the gospel. It cannot be a pseudo gospel hung up on ifs and so forth. It is the forgiveness of sins that is a release from the bondage to death and the gift of eternal life. This is the gospel, the peace of God that surpasses understanding, and makes a person willing to believe the truth.