While everyone was marveling at all Jesus did, he said to his disciples, “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
When my best friend got melanoma, she had radiation. She told me she stopped taking the treatments and was getting weaker. I was afraid to ask questions and knew in my heart what was happening. When my husband and I visited her, the hospice nurse was there. I was afraid to ask how long – I was hoping for a month. I texted her for three days afterward without an answer. She passed the next week. We grasp our friends, and it’s hard to let go.
The apostles didn’t want to let go of Jesus either. Jesus had just told them of his impending death using the verbs suffer, rejected, killed, and raised. They heard him but didn’t process it and were afraid to ask. Everyone’s going to die some time, right? But Jesus was still young and the salvation of Israel from Roman occupation was their immediate concern. If Jesus had talked about that it would’ve perked their ears. But, “raised from the dead” and “delivered into the hands of men” were foreign terms, and God would keep their meaning hidden because now wasn’t the time to discuss it. But they missed Jesus’ desire to talk about his impending death with close friends.
Father God, Help me listen carefully to the shepherds and sheep you’ve given me, so I don’t miss their needs. Let me read their pain so, unlike Jesus, they don’t have to let a stranger carry their cross. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.