“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 33-34.
Why did Jesus tell the Disciples these things? You know, couldn’t He just have let it happen without making a big deal about it? It was traumatic enough for those who witnessed it, especially if the real crucifixion was anything like “The Passion of the Christ.” And for those who lived through it, afterwards everything changed and the Apostles spent most of the rest of their lives being hunted as criminals. Why did Jesus tell these men about how He would die?
If you haven’t considered it before, there are several very good reasons.
First, He needed to tell them He was fulfilling prophecy. In doing so, they would know without a doubt that He was who He said He was and that all He had said and done was true. There are HUNDREDS of individual prophecies about the Christ in the Bible (meaning in all of Jewish antiquity). Mathematically, it is nearly impossible for them all to be fulfilled in one person, yet that is what Jesus was saying would happen in Him. He knew these (relatively) uneducated men wouldn’t understand or remember every prophecy but they would know enough (just from their upbringing) to see how Jesus was identifying Himself as the one and only Messiah. He told them what would happen so that they would know, without a doubt, that He was that Messiah. They would know this was a miracle and that He was the one true God.
Then, He needed them to be prepared for when it actually did happen (which was only a few days away). If you care for someone and you know something bad is going to happen, then you try to prepare them as much as possible for it, right? That’s what Jesus was doing. I mentioned the movie “The Passion of the Christ.” The Jews of Jesus’ day were familiar with crucifixion and how it was used only for the most rebellious and vile of criminals. If the act was as gruesome as Mel Gibson portrayed it then the Disciples would have been familiar with it and would have been shocked, even disheartened, at seeing their Teacher subjected to it. Jesus told them these things to prepare them for the shock of His death…and then for the even bigger shock of His resurrection.
But I think, most of all, Jesus told His closest friends these things just because He loved them. Yes, it’s an act of love to prepare someone, and to identify Yourself as Messiah. Yet I think Jesus was doing more than just telling these men a simple truth. I think He told them just because He loved them. Peter, John and the rest all mattered to Him, enough to die for in fact. After all, why does He tell us, especially after all these years?
It’s love. Jesus told them – and us – these things simply because He loves us.
Lord Jesus, I thank and praise You for Your unending love. I love You too.
Read Mark 10, verses 35-45.