They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” Mark 10, verses 32-34.
Consider what has just happened. As Jesus and the His Disciples are walking to Jerusalem they are being followed by crowds of strangers. In all this, Jesus politely but definitively rebukes a wealthy man and, in doing so, teaches a valuable object lesson. He then stresses that everything we know about ‘living a good life’ means nothing in God’s eyes, that only those dead to the world will be considered alive to Christ, and that it is impossible for us to be rich enough to get to Heaven.
Now He’s predicting His death.
Several times before (just in Mark He has mentioned it explicitly twice and implied it at least three other times and that was just in Chapters 8 and 9), Jesus has talked about His coming death. Here, in Chapter 10, He spells out more details even as He and His friends are walking towards the scene of the coming crime. What’s more, He is specifically telling them that the very religious authorities to whom they have submitted (in faith) through their entire lives will seize Him, murder Him, and bring about the greatest miracle in all of history.
Put yourself in the place of someone walking there beside Jesus. Do you think your mind would have been scrambled by now? I think it’s practically a guarantee. In the space of a few days’ walk from Galilee to Bethany, Jesus has upended everything you thought you knew. He has thrown spiritual, economic, mental, political, ethical and practical knowledge into chaos and all without any kind of threat or violence. His words cause people to question everything they have ever known and every way in which they’ve ever interacted with others.
He’s still doing it today. He’s still doing it because His love is illogical. It’s crazy; it makes no sense. It was foolishness to the men and women walking with Him in 1st Century Judea. And it is foolishness today for those who, to paraphrase CS Lewis, populate all of human history with their pursuit to deny God by making other things gods in His place. It’s simply crazy to believe in something you can’t see while denying what you can see; that’s how the logical world looks at faith in Jesus. It’s even crazier to cling to that unseen thing and justify it as good because a good man who said He was God died.
Except that it all actually happened. Except that Jesus gave us His crazy life. That he clings to us illogically through His crazy love today specifically because He died that death in our place. It’s been proven nearly statistically impossible for one person to have fulfilled every Bible prophecy and live a sinless life to atone for all our sins and promises we didn’t keep. Yet Jesus did it anyway. It’s crazy but it’s true.
Lord Jesus, thank You for living and dying for me.
Read Mark 10, verses 35-45.