And all were astounded at the greatness of God.
While everyone was amazed at all that Jesus was doing, he said to his disciples, ‘Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.’ But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.Luke 9:43b-45
Today’s reading brings us face-to-face with a reality that caused great confusion and consternation among the disciples. We have heard of the journey into faithful discipleship, and now Jesus is speaking of betrayal and death. Now we see the depth of commitment being asked of faithful disciples.
For us, two thousand years after the resurrection, it is comparatively easy to see that all turns out well. For those first disciples Jesus’ words were incomprehensible. Not only did they not understand, but they were afraid to ask for an explanation. How often have we found ourselves in that place? We have been told something that confuses us, perhaps even frightens us, but we cannot bring ourselves to seek either explanation or reassurance?
This week’s readings began with Matthew’s call and swift and faithful response. Then we heard of Jesus claiming close kinship with those who believe and trust in him. From there we saw how the mission of Christ should be spread far and wide, and we were challenged to consider the uncertainty and scepticism we might encounter on our Christian journey. Yesterday Peter declared the divinity of Jesus and today Jesus emphasizes that he is also sharing fully in the human condition.
Over six days we have been invited to reflect on the whole Christian journey. Jesus has shared its totality with us and, surely, Jesus has made it clear that we should never be afraid to take our concerns, our doubts and our fears to God.
We know that Jesus’ earthly life will come to a brutal end, but we also know the joy and the power of the resurrection. Can we really be left in any doubt that Jesus is calling us into the closest of relationships with him? Can we still not grasp that he understands our moments of uncertainty? Can we, for one second, doubt that he is the Messiah of God? Let us pray for the strength and the courage to journey through this life as faithful, self-effacing disciples in the sure knowledge that we will, one day, come into the divine presence of our Saviour, Jesus the Messiah.