"Then they left that place and made their way through Galilee, but he did not want anyone to know it. For he was teaching his disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after he is killed, he will rise three days later." But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask him."
Tomorrow, the church will be kicking off the Lent Season. This season prepares us to go into a time of reflection and growth and we focus on the death and resurrection of Christ. For us, year after year, we embrace Lent knowing the Resurrection story. But in the passage above, those disciples were walking with Jesus before it ever happened. I always wondered what the conversation would have been if they weren't too afraid to ask him.
As we start this Lent journey, our local church is doing a journey through rescue stories. I carefully read each passage, marked what people were being rescued from. From the first pages of Scripture to the end of the Gospels, God's prevenient grace ever went before us to prepare our rescue and redemption. One of the questions my nine-year-old asked me yesterday was, "Mommy, if God knew all that was going to happen. Why would he still create humans?" After journeying through many rescue stories, my answer was this...
The God who created us already created our redemption. He sees the beginning but he also sees the end. And perhaps in the beginning He sees the sin but in the end... He sees us in our final, glorified state. And He wasn't afraid. For he doesn't look at it from our view, He looks at it from His all knowing view.
Jesus was explaining some heavy things to them in Mark 9. He was saying that someone, one of them actually, would betray him. He was saying he was going to die. And he was saying he was going to be risen. From our view, that's some pretty heavy, difficult stuff and let's remember in those last moments, it was really difficult for Jesus, too. But Scripture has a way of pointing out stuff to us.
"...and they were afraid to ask him."
Mary, Jesus' mother, when she didn't understand she asked. She got her answer. She didn't understand how she could give birth to a baby when she was a virgin... so she asked. She didn't doubt but she did wonder how. I'm not sure what the disciples didn't understand about this situation. I am not sure if they doubted it would happen, if they didn't understand who would betray Jesus, who would kill him, why they would kill him... there are many different questions that could come from that short statement. But all I do know is they were too afraid to ask.
I have learned to not be afraid to ask Jesus when I don't understand, when I am afraid, when I am doubting. Because I've learned that He will illuminate what I cannot understand, He will ease the fears, and He can help my unbelief. I just have to bring it to Him.
During this Lent Season, I urge you to bring those questions and ask Him. He is still journeying through this life with us. He is Risen (I'm not afraid to claim that early in the Lent Season!)!!! He is Risen and we have to be willing to enter into this process with Him.