Jesus Predicts His Death…
On the way to Galilee, Jesus reveals to His disciples His purpose:
(Jesus) was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him. -Mark 9:31-32, NAB
Still assuming that Jesus, as the Messiah, came to free them from worldly oppression, the disciples did not understand what He was teaching. Their hope was for freedom from Rome; little did they know, the freedom Jesus would offer would be much greater than that.
To us, this verse seems pretty clear. We already know that Jesus was handed over to be crucified, died, and rose on the third day, but when a prophecy is made, it is much easier to decipher it after it has already happened. Not fully understanding Jesus’ mission, the disciples simply did not understand Him.
Jesus was telling the disciples what would happen in the near future, but because it did not fit with their expectations, they didn’t understand it. They were afraid to even question it. We, too, run into the same problem. We have certain goals and expectations out of life. When God points us down a path with a different outcome, we never understand why.
As we head down the path God has prescribed for us, we continually wait for the results we had hoped for; however, they may or may not come. Later in the Gospels, as Jesus is crucified and after His death, we know the disciples were still upset. Only after seeing the resurrected Jesus did they begin to put the pieces together.
Like the disciples, we may not see God’s full plan or understand it until after it has come to pass. Until that time, we need to trust in Him and allow Him to work in our lives. We need to let go of our own expectations and surrender fully to His will. Life may not go in the direction we had hoped or prayed for, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
One last thing – the disciples were afraid to question Jesus; we should not be. There are times that we will not understand God’s plan. That’s okay. It is perfectly acceptable to ask God for guidance and wisdom to understand His plan for our lives.
Life may not always work out the way we planned, yet it will always work out the way God planned it – and that’s all that matters.