Luke: Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time

Read: Luke 18:31-34

In the moment, the disciples are unable to comprehend what Jesus is telling them. It’s so easy to look back and criticize them, but Jesus’ actions were unprecedented, no one did the things He did, well, that is the point, right?

Here in the midst of some amazing teaching, Jesus takes the disciples aside and explains what will happen in the very near future. The scene I envision is one where everything seems to be going well, people are hearing lessons that inspire them to a higher calling.

We often like to portray the disciples as ignorant fishermen, those who have little education. While it may be true that their names are not suffixed with Ph.D., MBA, etc., that does not mean they are unwise. Wisdom is not equal to degrees. This is a reminder to myself as much as anyone!

It’s easy for us to pick up our Bibles and point back in time when Isaiah outlined this present future: Isaiah 52:13-53:12, but that’s cheating! We have the privilege of seeing the past, of pinpointing the verses that are surrounded by lots of details. This is the kind of stuff that makes forensic television shows so popular, where mysteries are completely resolved in 42 minutes (without commercials). Looking back, everything is clear. Not so much in the moment.

Luke is pretty pointed here in his version of Jesus’ third prediction:

The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. Luke 18:34

It’s significant to see how Luke points out that Jesus took His disciples aside and told them what was going to happen during their traveling ministry. We have to wait until the end of Luke’s gospel, after the resurrection, to finally get hear these great words:

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45

Aha! Finally, they get it! Not so fast, we’re not in chapter 24 just yet.

Allow me to lean into this passage a bit. Many times in our lives we don’t understand what is happening around us. Why certain events happen make no sense — good or bad. The list of confusing interactions in my life is long. We have four daughters. Enough said, right? Seriously, it would be easy to go into despair by overthinking each moment of every day, but that isn’t my point.

Just like the disciples, we have to have faith that God has a plan. Our responsibility is to continue to listen closely and live with the confidence that His will for our lives is better than we could ever imagine. Easier said than done. That’s why we don’t do this alone. Look at the example Jesus gave us and find a group of people you can walk with through the trials and tribulations of your present circumstances. Be one of those people known to be reliable. Pour into others and allow them to speak to you.

Learn from my Exponential friend, Ron Dotzler’s motto: Better Together. We’re not perfect, just better.

Thoughts about serving others

This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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