The kingdom they didn't understand

The disciples had no idea what was going to happen.  Throughout the gospels, over and over again, Jesus had told them, and then reminded them of what was going to happen. They had no understanding, and really no grid to understand this. Jesus had come and called them out of a life they knew and into a life that was completely different. They had left it all to follow him. For 3 years. Close companionship, experiences that were crazy. Lepers healed, blind men could see, two groups of 5000 and 7000 men (not including the women and children) were fed out of a few fish and a few loaves of bread. It was like something they had never seen before. They were told He was the Messiah. That He was bringing the kingdom of heaven. Over and over through the gospels is the use of the phrase the kingdom of heaven. In the kingdom you leave your 99 sheep and find the one that is lost. In the kingdom you sweep the whole house to find the coin you've lost. In the kingdom you care about the younger son who squanders away his inheritance and you hold the biggest party when he returns. In the kingdom you can ask for things and it will be given. In the kingdom you can trust you will be taken care of because after all, his eye is on every sparrow and he knows the number of hairs on your head. 

So Christ comes and brings the kingdom of heaven with Him. 

And then he says He'll be betrayed and then he will die. But don't worry, after 3 days He will rise again. 

What? the death of a criminal? 

Not Jesus. He didn't deserve it. He didn't hurt anyone while He was on earth. He healed everyone who came to Him. Everyone who came to Him. And He preached the gospel wherever He went. He cared for the children. He saw the marginalized. He saw the man waiting at the pool for someone to carry him in. After the feeding of the 5,000 and James and John's mother is asking if they could sit next to him in heaven, it was like they saw a glimpse of what was to come, and really they didn't want to miss out. 

Whoever wants to be the great in the kingdom.... must be like a child.... 

Jesus understood that it was hard for the discples to understand. He knew that they loved him but they were limited. He knew that they would struggle to trust Him. He knew they would be devasted. He spoke words of comfort preceding all of the events because He knew they would need them. 

One of you will betray Me. He says. 
Not I.... says each one. 

And in that same hour He serves them the cup and the bread- the cup preceding the Cup. The offering of forgiveness in the type that would be seen in His life, a ransom poured out for many. 

They dip the bread in the wine, and they sing a hymn. 
They have no idea of what is coming. 

I wonder what they were thinking. probably too scared to really ask what He meant. Someone surely had an inkling. 
Jesus prophesies that they will be scattered because of His death. But He doesn't condemn them. He assures them by saying after "I rise on the 3rd day, I will go ahead of you to Galilee."

3 days. 

That's not long to wait. But they didn't really know because they had never in their lives experienced anything like this before. 

3 days can feel like forever. 

Peter says, "though they all fall away because of you I will never fall away..." and the other disciples say the same. (Matthew 26:35) So they go to Gethsemane - and they are urged to pray. Jesus goes away alone to pray. But the disciples cannot keep their eyes open. They know something is going to happen, because Jesus has already told them that his betrayer is at hand. But it is too hard to stay awake.

And Jesus again addresses their humanity.The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. 

And Jesus asks that this cup be taken from him. But he submits to the Father's will. 

The betrayer comes. 


And the evening before what we call Good Friday begins. 

A suffering like we'll never know. The crushing burden of the sin of all of humanity placed on Jesus. And at His death, the curtain of the temple is torn in two from top to bottom, the earth shakes, rocks are split, and dead are raised to life.

And those who were keeping watch over Jesus on the cross were filled in awe and said, "Truly this is the Son of God." 

They hadn't seen nothing yet. 

The Christ who would bear all of the weight of humanity's sin would not be crushed. He would defeat sin and death and rise again. The Living Hope would prove to all the He really was the Messiah, the One they had been waiting for. Sunday was coming. Christ would rise again like He said He would and would go ahead of them to Galilee. 

Truly He is the Son of God.  



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