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God’s Word for You

Luke 18:31-34 the meaning was hidden

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection Again

31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and said to them, “Watch! We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written in the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, treat him shamefully, spit on him, 33 flog him, and kill him. On the third day, he will rise again.”
34 They did not understand any of this. The meaning was hidden from them, and they did not understand what was said.

In Mark 10:32, we’re told that this little talk happened while “they were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way.” This means that they had now crossed over the fords (shallow places) of the Jordan near Jericho, and they were making their way up the short road that would take them through Jericho, through Bethany, and into Jerusalem, into Jesus’ final week of ministry.

Jesus told his followers that this was it; everything that was prophesied about the Christ was now about to happen. They would be there as his witnesses, to relate everything that happened to the billions of Christians who would follow in the centuries to come, with their preaching and with their letters. The Lord was heading to lay down his life as a ransom for all mankind, letting the shameful treatment and the crucifixion take place in order to atone for the sins of all. The moment was approaching fast when the seed of Eve would finally crush the serpent’s head and bring an end to his power in the world. It was time for God’s own heel to be “bruised,” that is, for Christ to lay down his life for the sins of the world, and for the power of the devil to be destroyed forever (Genesis 3:15).

Jesus let them know that he was going to be killed. Twice (Matthew 20:19; 26:2) he even specified that he would be crucified, which was Jesus’ own prophetic foresight about his death. Crucifixion is not specified in the prophecies of the Old Testament, although Paul applies Deuteronomy 21:23 to the crucifixion and more especially to the curse Jesus bore: “For it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13).

Jesus adds the promise of the resurrection, even saying, “On the third day, he will rise again,” but the Twelve didn’t understand his meaning. Like so many other things, this simply gave more glory to Jesus. If the disciples tried to understand him now, they couldn’t do it. Whatever hidden meaning they may have tried to find in his message was obscured by their doubt; they simply did not know that he was telling them the bold truth without any figures of speech. Later on, they would see this; they would understand just how clearly he had been speaking to them.

Jesus took up the burden of our sins, knowing the full extent of sin in all mankind. How truly Solomon spoke when he said, “With much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief” (Ecclesiastes 1:18). Christ’s knowledge of our rebellion and failure brought him agony, the pain of hell, and death. But he bore these things willingly, to spare us from the same agonies. He laid down his life to rescue us, and he has given us everlasting peace.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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