Wednesday, February 26

Mark 9:30-32

For the second time, Jesus tells the disciples he will be betrayed and die, and they still don’t get it. How could they be so obtuse? Not only do they not get it, they’re afraid to ask Jesus about it.

I can’t help wondering why they’re afraid to ask. I don’t know, of course, but I have my suspicions. For one thing, it’s hard to think about anyone suffering, much less Jesus. Even today’s artwork seems to have moved away from depicting the cross. Our preference in hymns has turned away from the imagery of his shed blood. We would rather think of him teaching or healing or holding lambs.

For another thing, it’s hard to think about Jesus dying. Our squeamish minds prefer to jump right from the cross to the empty tomb. We can hardly imagine him as a corpse, but Jesus put the image right in front of the disciples’ noses.

They stumble over this so hard that they seem to completely miss something else that he said. Maybe you missed it too: after his death, he will rise again. 

This is even more perplexing than the claim that he will be betrayed and killed. It should have been impossible not to ask about his prediction of resurrection, but not for these disciples. Not only do they not ask, they don’t even seem to notice it.

If they had, and if they had not been afraid to ask, they might have discovered sooner what they would discover later. The story of death, it turns out, ends with life.

Consider

What is the most important question you have never asked God?

Pray

God, help us to see your suffering and your death, so that through them we might see life. Amen.

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