[Jesus] then began to teach [the disciples] that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
Mark 8:31 (NIV)
I spoke to a friend on the phone yesterday. We, of course, discussed the current world situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and how different our lives have been the past few weeks with everyone stay home and keeping to themselves.
“And it’s Holy Week!” my friend exclaimed. “It doesn’t feel very Holy. It feels more like a week with holes.”
I thought about Holy Week as I read this morning’s chapter. I’m half-way through Mark’s version of Jesus’ story. If I’d been thinking ahead I should have scheduled to start a week earlier so that I’d be finishing the story on Easter weekend. Oh well. One more thing to add to the list of things that feels a little “off” right now.
I find it interesting that while Jesus has been speaking in parables and metaphors for several chapters, He is quite direct and plain-spoken about how His story is going to end. It isn’t even a veiled foreshadow. He just puts it right out there.
Peter rebukes Jesus at this point. Ironically, Jesus has been complaining for two chapters about the disciples not understanding His parables. Now He speaks more directly to them than perhaps He’s ever done. They still didn’t understand.
Here’s the thing. The people who walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, witnessed the miracles, and spent three years in His constant presence didn’t get it when He said it to them plainly.
Who am I to think that I totally get it? How much don’t I get? What am I missing? How frustrated is Jesus with me? Is He shaking His head from heaven? “Tom! Dude! Forty years you’ve been following me, and you still don’t understand?”
I’m kind of glad that things are different this year. I’m asking myself this morning how much the traditions, the trappings, the religious services, the Easter dresses and bonnets and brunches and egg hunts distract me from getting it as I should.
The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law. He must be killed and after three days rise again.
I think maybe it’s good for me to be alone during Holy Week for a change. This plain-spoken statement of Jesus is probably something I should sit with in the quiet for a while. It’s something on which I need to ponder and let penetrate.
Lord, have mercy on this blind and deaf follower.
I want to better understand.